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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Alter Rebbe Shin Continued



I am currently reviewing and cataloguing a collection of over 100 older Torah manuscripts and fragments.  Within the collection, there is the above scroll which is approximately 200 years old. The klaf seems to have been cured by tanning as evidenced by its rich golden brown coloring.  Because of the script and jet black ink, I identify this scroll as coming from Russia.

This Russian type script is the precursor of the Ba'al HaTanya's script. Here one can notice the clear upward curved strokes similarly employed in writing the Alter Rebbe's Shins. With the quill held at about ten degrees off vertical, the stroke rises to meet the bottom of the right top tooth of the Shin.  It is this upward rising stroke that creates the angled pointed base of the Shin that's so distinctive of this unique writing style.  Subsequently, the middle and leftmost teeth are then connected to the uppermost corner of the base, giving this letter it's final and alluring shape.

The same but slightly more elongated curved upward stroke is used to connect the base of the TETs and AYINs to the top right heads as well.  As such, the TET in this script also stands on a pointed base very similar to the SHIN.





4 comments:

  1. This csav is not Lubavitch [Alter Rebbes] csav, but it is Russian Arizal.
    What you wrote about the curve upward of the shin and ayin is correct, but the base of the tes is usualy flat not curved upward in Alter Rebbes csav, and most other csavim. Although I have seen few csavim that the base of the tes is roundish, but don't remember seeing a csav that makes the tes slanted upward like the shin and ayin.
    Thanks for picture and blog.

    ReplyDelete

  2. Thanks Alberto, but I should also point out that in this Russian arizal, while the shins are conceptually similar to the Alter Rebbe's kasv, it does differ slightly in the fact that the A"R shin is narrower, comes down from the right rosh on a sharper angle resulting in a pointer bottom, and finally the kav that comes from the middle rosh meets more at the left ie at the point, the same place as the left kav, whereas this is not exactly the case in some of the shins here (for example the word "rosh".

    The closest shin to a genuine Alter Rebbe shin is the shin from the second "hasair" .

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Alberto, but I should also point out that in this Russian arizal, while conceptually it is similar to the Alter Rebbe's kasv it does differ slightly in the fact that the A"R shin is narrower, comes down from the right rosh on a sharper angle resulting in a pointer bottom, and finally the kav that comes from the middle rosh meets more at the left ie at the point, the same place as the right kav, whereas this is not exactly the case in some of the shins here (for example the word "rosh".

    The closest shin to a genuine Alter Rebbe shin is the shin from the second "hasair" .

    ReplyDelete
  4. Indeed, there are differences. What is fascinating here is that, we can see how the Alter Rebbe's Ketav emerged from the broader Russian style of writing. For all practical purposes this Russian Arizal Ketav has all but disappeared. The only live remaining variant is the Alter Rebbe's script.

    ReplyDelete

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