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Email for R' Shmuel Rosenfeld of "Min Hastam" in Meah Shearim?
Both the Shulchan Aruch Harav and the Mishnah Brurah use similar terminology when describing the importance of the shin being "pointy" on the bottom and all three branches of the letter shin meeting at a point or "chad" at the bottom of the letter. There is a strong foundation in Halacha for this and for the bottom of the shin to be flat like a moshav (base) is considered questionable (Pri Megadim) and definitely not Kosher Lechatchillah. It is worse if the moshav is very wide, but it is still questionable if it is lechatchillah if there is a thick noticeable base rather than a chad. Even for Sephardim, who lechatchillah make an angular base, it is still important that the base is indeed on a (significant) angle. If the base is flat, even if all three branches of the shin come out of the base connected , as in the top picture, it is problematic. It is worse in the bottom picture below where the right head/ branch comes out of the right part of the base and the m
Following Ari's post, I have cut and pasted an article I wrote for a local publication some time ago on this very issue. I think it sums up this issue and the various shittos. I also suggest Rav Yonason Hershlags kuntres on this topic called "stumah shebestam". The different ways of forming the"Hefsek Parshas Stuma" in tefillin parshiyos. Introduction There is a common misconception that the only difference between the different minhagim (customs) of tefillin parshiyos is the ksav (font) they are written in. For example if a person is Sephardic, the ksav will be "Vellish", a script that is unique to Sephardic Jews; If one is of traditional Ashkenazic and non-Chassidic background, then he would usually get the "Beis Yosef" script; If one is "Chassidic", he would get the "Arizal" script, etc. While this is correct, there are also different opinions and minhagim on how to make the spacing between the parshiyos of th