Pitum Haketores

Looking for Marei Mekomos about the minhag of writing Pitum Haketores on Klaf for an article in my blog.

So far I have the Kaf Hachaim, Kezahav Mipaz, Seder Hayom - but I'm having a hard time finding enough sources for this widespread minhag.

Tizku Lemitzves


  1. I have this on my website. I'm not sure if the first paragraph is connected to the 2nd. Nor do I have the specifics where it's to be found:

    Ketores is a segulah (a remedy) to eliminate epidemics, to save Israel from oppression by the nations, to bring a. blessing into a person's work, to save him from the punishment of gehinom, to ward off evil spirits, external forces, and "the other side" i.e. Satan's camp.

    Reading of the ketores also breaks the spell of sorcery, eliminates evil thoughts, enables a person to inherit this world and the world to come, to free him from punishments, to grant him favor in the eyes of all who see him, and to grant him riches. (Ein Ma'avar Yabok)

    1. I will try to find the Ein Ma'avar Yabok, thank you.

    2. Found it, he has many pages on it - difficult but interesting. Your quote is actually from the Zohar Parshas Vayakhel, the Maavar Yabok brings it before expanding on it. https://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14051&hilite=7c627cc2-ef71-45ce-ac25-aa14eec00962&st=קטורת&pgnum=252


  2. I was looking at Merkaz Hasoferim online shop, and I found this paragraph on their Pitum Haketoret item:

    According to the Zohar, The Pitem Haktoras is the segula of stopping the plague, according to the Scripture "וַיִּתֵּן אֶת הַקְּטֹרֶת, וַיְכַפֵּר עַל-הָעָם. וַיַּעֲמֹד בֵּין-הַמֵּתִים, וּבֵין הַחַיִּים, וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה"
    In light of this, Rabbi Chaim Pelagi wrote in the" Book of Life" (Mark 16:16): "He will write a parable of the Pitem Haktoras written on Torah scroll and read it and make it a segula, enriching and assuring him that he will have a good livelihood and economics in profit and not in diminution."

  3. article is live, I thank you both for your input. I'm still looking for other sources so if anyone has more on this I will be happy to edit the post.

    1. Once came across this shiur discussing whether it’s permitted or not :

      Ten Minute Halacha - Saying Ketores (from a Klaf)

    2. Dear Daron,

      This was an excellent resource, thank you. My article is already live since last week, and it is in line with this shiur. He brought the Rav Ovadia source, which I was looking for but failed to bring the most important source for this minhag, the Seder Hayom.


  4. See issue #59 of קולמוס - המוסף התורני של משפחה, שבט תשס"ח
    written by הרב משה אייזיק בלוי
    can be found in אוצר החכמה

    1. Dear Yisroel
      This is also a great resource, very detailed and I might add Rav Vozner's idea to the article.

    2. This is a minhag were much confusion has entered and confounded our traditional practice. From what I have studied, the basis of reading Pitum HaKetoret from a Kelaf stems from a misinterpretation of a very popular book named Seder Hayom. The book was written by Rabbi Moshe ben Makhir who was among the great men of Sefat some 400 years ago.

      In his book he writes that a person should be careful to read Pitum HaKetoret twice daily as per our minhag.

      ולכן ראוי לכל בעל נפש להשתדל בכל עז לאומרה בכל יום פעמי' בבקר ובערב ולכוין בו מלה במלה

      However, in subsequent editions the text appears as follows:

      ולכן ראוי לכן בעל נפש להשתדל בכל עז לאומרה בכ"י פעמיים בבקר ובערב ולכוין בו מלה במלה

      Now, this last version here could be misread as meaning that it should be read from a manuscript if כ"י stands for "כתב יד", and not "כל יום", which is what appears in earlier versions. However, none of them mention anything about kosher parchment, כתב אשורית, or a guarantee. These are later developments that were added layer by layer by others – too long to trace for this forum. Kaf HaHayim was definitely a strong and influential force in promoting this new minhag.

    3. The source seems to be indeed the Seder Hayom, but not the passage you quoted. The quote is:
      החושש עליו ועל נפשו ראוי להשתדל בכל עז בענין הזה ולכתוב כל ענין הקטורת בקלף כשר בכתיבת אשורית ולקרות אותו פעם אחד בבקר ובערב בכוונה גדולה ואני ערב
      You can find the link to the source in hebrewbooks in my article. I doubt it can be claimed to be a Tous Sofer, or later addition.
      Still, the sources are few - Seder Hayom and Kaf Hachaim, and the Halachic consensus seems to be surely against this minhag, as far as I have seen. However in the Safrut world, I think almost no sofrim are aware of the potential problems of writing the Ketoret in klaf.

    4. found the Seder Hayom link: https://beta.hebrewbooks.org/reader/reader.aspx?sfid=41230#p=8&fitMode=fitwidth&hlts=&ocr=


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