I never really understood this

In the Mishnah Brurah by ois daled, it is written that the protrusion on the back of the top left of the daled is only lechatchillah le ksivah and a square corner is enough halachically to render it kosher.

By a reish however, many poskim hold that even if it is a square corner on the top right (instead of being round), it is not possul but rather a shailos tinok (see mishnas hasofer). A tinok will inevitably read it as a reish, even with a perfectly square corner) because he is used to the daled protruding on the top right.

So is this the only case in Sta"m where one tzurah can potentially be Kosher for two different letters? And how is such a phenomenon possible?


  1. Im assuming you mean the top right corner (not left).

    A zavis Chada is required there, though the akev is not (meikar hadin). If its merely a 90 degree angle its a SH"T.

    I too have wondered about this as a reish too witb a 90 degree angle is a SH"T according to the M"M...

    However, is this really problematic? A short vov for example can pass EITHER as a Yud or as a vav - depending on the tinoks reading.

    Same here.

    1. Yes, sorry, I meant top right obviously.

      The daled reish is different to your yud vov example. The daled reish is a set exact tzurah which can be both Kosher as a daled or reish. The yud vov is relative to how it presents and can only be classified as one or the other as determined by the tinok. It can never be Kosher as both.

    2. Neither can our case be both. The tinok determines what it is. It is always a SH"T.

    3. In the daled / reish example, it can be both. You can have a 90 degree angle on the daled with no eikev and it's a kosher daled, no shailos tinok required. Then you can have, in the same parsha, EXACTLY the same tzurah where it's supposed to be a reish and it will be Kosher as a reish (tinok will inevitably read such a tzurah as a reish because he is used to a daled having an ekev, and some ( minority) opinions say you don't even need a tinok). For all intents and purposes, those two letters may even be side by side. That's very different to the yud vov case, a child will read two IDENTICAL tzuros as the same, unless he is a tipush

    4. R' Eli,

      A Dale"d with a 90 degree angle is NOT acceptable without a Shaalas tinok and then fixing it to a Zavis Chada.

      This is derived from the expression of the Beis Yosef... and all later poskim who write " ulechatchila ein day bazeh lvad sheyhei lah zavis chada milachoreiha". Meaning: the minimal requirement is a zavis chada.

      See biur hasofer. He brings supporting proof from numerous Rishonim as well.

    5. R' Fitzy,

      Many learn that the halachic geder of a zavis chadah is 90 degrees and sharper. I remember in the sefer Sfekos Hasofer (which I lent out and do not have handy because it was never returned) he argues that a 90 degree corner is considered a zavis chada, and he brings lots of sources for this (and also learns out from rishonim , including (from memory) the the Rosh).

      I did not know about the biur hasofer, where Rav Stern is seemingly more machmir by a daled with only a 90 degree corner and thanks for bringing it to my attention. However as stated above, the general understanding amongst poskim I have spoken to is that it has to be clearly larger than 90 degrees for it not to have din of zovis chada, and that a sharp 90 degree corner would be considered zavis chada.

      (I guess this understanding is stronger than I thought because if you look at the new print of the mishnah Brurah with diagrams, it shows the zavus chadah as being a square corner 90 degrees.)

    6. R' Eli,

      See Sfeikas Hasofer on Os Reish. He clearly states that according to his opinion that a 90 degree angel suffices as a Daled... It can NOT be a Reish.

      Its a mimah nafshach.

    7. R' Fitzy,

      I only brought the sfekos hasofer because he has a comprehensive description on the geder of zovis chadoh, and (from memory) brings the shittos and svoros etc that a 90 degree angle is considered a zovis chadoh. There are plenty of other opinions and seforim that hold the same. And as I said previously, it is seemingly the common consensus, (besides for Rav Stern) a sharp right andgle 90 degrees is considered a zovis chadoh. See what Beis Hastam writes below - I agree with that 100 percent and likewise a beis with a sharp 90 degree angle on the bottom corner is a kosher beis and not a chof or even shailos tinok.

      The mimah nafshach you bring above is of course valid within the opinion of the sfeikas hosofer itself, which is consistent and rightfully so, as is Rav Stern consistent within his own definitions.

      But my original query still remains to a large degree, and as you yourself say " I too have wondered about this as a reish too witb a 90 degree angle is a SH"T according to the M"M....

      and The fact remains that:

      1. Most view a sharp right (90 degree) angle as a zovis chadfa.

      2. A zovis chada on the top right corner is a kosher daled and does not require a shailos tinok.

      3. a tinok inevitably reads a zovis chada on the top right corner as a reish and not a daled. So if its supposed to be a reish it will likely be rendered kosher as a such by a child and if its supposed to be a daled it is kosher as such as well.

    8. R Eli,

      If you hold that a 90 degree angle is a Daled it CAN NOT BE A REISH!!!

      If you hold a Deled requires a steeper angle... then a 90 degree will always be a SH"T and could be either a Reish or a Dale"d depending on the tinoks reading.

      On what basis are you assuming that one can hold of both kulos (i.e. a daled can be kosher with 90 degrees and if a reish is 90 degress a tinok csn kosher it)???


    9. That is exactly my question! As I said in my previous comments, it seems that the common way of paskening is to BOTH consider 90 degrees a kosher daled and a shailos tinok in a reish. This really never made sense to me (and apparently not to you either as you write: I too have wondered about this as a reish too witb a 90 degree angle is a SH"T according to the M"M...

      And while Rav Stern makes sense to me now, because he learns that a right angle (90 degrees) is not a zovis chada (and consequently not a kosher daled) - this is NOT the case across the board...

    10. So: theres is your answee! Rav Shtern holds one way. Sfeikas hasofer the other.

      Im not sure that "the common way of paskening" is a halachik makor:)

    11. The "common way of paskening" is based simply on the Mishnah Brurah etc which clearly state that a daled with just a square corner and not an eikev is kosher, and opinions such as the mikdash me'at, which hold that the seemingly exact same tzurah in a reish is a shailos tinok (and will always be read as such).

      And yes, logically the way to reconcile the above is to fine tune the gedorim of zovis chadah etc as Rav Stern does and likewise the Sfekos Hasofer ( whoever he may be).

      I think we've nailed it :)

      BTW, I just saw in Kind's likut that he brings down tshuvas or ne'elam that the above mentioned reish is kosher even WITHOUT a tinok. Go figure...

    12. The sfekes hasofer is a sfardi yungerman i dont know how he can go against the m"m but on the other hand r yakov meyer stern is a big poisek but what he says a sharp square corner is not a zovis chado is a big chidesh. The whole thing is a glitch and most probably like zvi says is why today we make the eikev so it's less confusing

    13. Rav Shterns position is cery difficult to get around when you look in the sources he brings.

  2. The requirement of a zavis chada is deduced from the wording "ulechatchila lo day bezavis chada"...

    They alude to this in the question booklet by mishmeres Sta"m

  3. In the olden days, probably more than 1500 years ago, the Daled had a sharp right angle and no protrusion. A Reish had to have a rounded corner. This created a lot of problems. So, someone decided, I don't know who, that a Daled will have a protrusion to make a clear distinction between a Daled and a Reish. Nowadays, a sharp corner on a Daled is obviously still kosher, and a Reish must have a rounded corner. The problem nowadays is that not everyone knows the history of the Daled, and some may still think that a sharp corner on a Reish is kosher, even though it is not and was never kosher.

    Here is an 850 years old sefer torah, kept in Italy, where we can still see the letters Daled with a sharp corner.

    1. In fact, the opposite is true. The dalet always had some sort of protrusion from the top right corner (either rightwards or upwards) and the reish could have a square-ish corner. This is true both in medieval manuscripts (e.g. the כתר) and even in the Dead Sea Scrolls and mosaics and other writings from the times of the Tannaim. This also explains pshat in the Gemara in Eruvin that a fly sitting on תגיה דדלית would make it a reish. See also the Sefer פתשגן הכתב.

  4. The way I learned this was: If it comes to a sharp angle, it's a daled. If it's clearly rounded, it's a reish. If there's ambiguity, such as the case where there's an angle, but the corner isn't sharply defined/is slightly round, then it's a sheilas tinok.

  5. זוית כהה more than 90 degree angle
    זוית חדה less than 90 degree angle
    The sharpness of point doesnt make a difference.
    Take a sheet of paper that has 90 degree angle on its corner ,this shape is a kosher Dalet bdieved. Now make your finger wet and rub sharp corner,although it's not sharp it's still 90 degree angle and is adalet not a reish

    1. Agreed. But if it has any roundness it is a different story


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