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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ashkenazi sofrim not doing their own tiyug

I'm seeing more Ashkenazi sofrim who are not doing their own tiyug. While I expect this of sofrim writing low quality mezuzahs as they are knocking them out at the rate of upwards of 200 monthly and don't want to be "slowed down" by tiyug and their tiyug is likely of similar quality to their ksav so a metayeg would potentially do a better job, but even good sofrim are taking the lazy way out even though it's been our mesorah for the sofer to make tiyug, usually b'sha'as kesiva.

I just saw an expensive 15cm mezuzah with tiyug that was obviously done by a metayeg. It had a metayeg's typical "signature"
  •  little straight lines without ziyunim whenever in the vicinity of a letter above rather than take a few extra moments to make properly, particularly in a mehudar ksav, (laziness and amaratzus)
  • tagei Yud, which few Ashkenazi sofrim do
  • While he he was fairly successful in putting most of the Bedek Chaya tagin close to the left edge, there were a few in the middle as done in a Sephardi ksav
Someone told me that the new shita of some safrus teachers is to train the sofrim to lechatchila not make their own tagin. So we're now teaching sofrim at the outset to be lazy and/or it's being presented as "let's focus on what's important", the actual letters, and let the poor metayeg do our dirty work. As has been discussed here, there's good reason for one to do his own tagin and not enter into the risks posed by using a metayeg but even if one finds a knowledgeable and ehrlich metayeg, similar to using a synthetic quill, while it may be halachically permitted (not the present discussion), our mesorah is to use a kulmus and part of "being a sofer" is knowing how to cut and use a kulmus and to make tagin. If the sofer, after making every effort, is having trouble making a kulmus or proper tagin then the alternatives should be looked at but to lechatchila ignore mesorah?


  1. I recently saw an Ashkenazi Mezuza that looked like the Tiyug was done separately, but I doubted myself precisely because I had only seen that with Sefaradim. Based on your post I see that my first impression was correct.

    While I agree entirely with your sentiments, I'm less sure about those inferior ones that "knock out" 50 mezuzos a week. Very often, as you know, it is Davka the Tagim that cause so many problems. Even though "Ein osim takanah l'posh'im", it might be less problematic if a professional experienced metayeg takes over that part, focsuing only on that. (Of course, if the metayagim will have the exact same uncaring "let's get it done fast" attitude, then "Lo ho'ilu k'lum metakanasam'.)

  2. It's become part of the commercial process.

    Unfortunately metaygim mess things up sometimes and since they don't always know halacha as a sofer would, it can create additional problems


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