kashrus of large or small letters

There're sources that say we disregard a tinok who misreads a *traditional* os rabasi or ze-ira that is written proportionately/if judged on its own. (See Shu"t Maharam Lublin 24 - it's short and can be found on hebrewbooks.org.) I'm looking for sources from the achronim to modern seforim or reliable oral psakim from leading poskim that specifically discuss whether we do or don't ignore a tinok when a sofer mistakenly/incorrectly makes such a letter. I'm aware of a machlokes among a few of the contemporary poskim. It seems that Shu"t Shevet Halevi 10 siman 277 os Bais holds that the Zayin is kosher and the tinok is ignored. (Also on hebrewbooks.org.)

For example, in sefer Malachi the word זכרו has a Zayin rabasi. Were a sofer to make the exact same Zayin in a sefer Torah in the word זכור, where there's no tradition to make an os rabasi, and a child reads it as a Nun Pshuta, some say it's kosher and some say that it's pasul.

This machlokes would also have another application. If we'd take this Zayin and place it at the end of a word in place of a Nun Pshuta (See the attached image.) the poskim I've spoken with who consider this kosher when to be a Zayin hold it's pasul as a Nun Pshuta. However, those who hold it's not a kosher Zayin, other than when a traditional os rabasi, consider it a kosher Nun Pshuta, meaning that if they made such a Nun pshuta in sefer Malachi it would turn out that the exact form is a kosher Zayin in Zichru yet a kosher Nun Pshuta elsewhere in the sefer.


  1. Some comments:

    Whenever I show Such a shailo to a tinok, they invariably read as zayin, even when it is close to being a nun pshutah. This is not so much due to length but more because the top goes over on both sides. They are used to zayin going over on both sides and nun only on the left.

    Also, you mentioned if a nun pshuta has a thick gug and therefore looks like a big zayin, it is kosher (such as nosen above). What is the source for this please?

    1. I meant to say "opinions which say it is kosher".

      Can you pls provide source.

  2. When you have a Nun pshuta/Zayin shailah that requires a tinok you first need to ensure that the tinok can identify a Nun pshuta in ksav Ashuris. Otherwise the child is a tipesh with regards to the Nun Pshuta.

    A source to be machshir Nosen, as we discussed privately yesterday, is Harav Mualem, as you then confirmed with him. Also, according to Harav Dvir Za'afrani, a talmid muvhak of Harav Mordechai Eliyahu told me that Harav Eliyahu also held this way. One Ashkenazi posek I've spoken with disagrees and hold we judge the letter by itself, in which case they consider this a Zayin. it seems that the Shevet Halevi held this way as well but I'm working on clarifying that.


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