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I'm trying to edit a version of the Tanakh, and I was wondering if formatting the text with justification (so that it spreads out evenly across the page) is permitted.

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Thanks for bringing your question to Mi Yodeya, user4982. Welcome! Might I suggest you register your account? That will give you access to more of the site's features. –  msh210 Feb 20 at 23:48
    
A detailed, definite, and competant answer may be beyond even a local rabbis head so you should also consult with a professional scribe or "sofer" –  Clint Eastwood Feb 20 at 23:51
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2 Answers 2

I have never heard of a restriction. Most (if not all) copies of Tanach I've seen are justified. In fact, copies of the Pentateuch that are written in the traditional style (handwritten on parchment, etc.) should be justified[1] (except that some sections should end mid-line) — but that rule doesn't apply to print, paper copies.

Note, though, that, like Wikipedia, this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic) advice. Treat information from this site like it came from a crowd of your friends and consult your local rabbi for practical advice.


[1] By implication from Maimonides, Sefer Tora 8:1–3, Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 273 and Keset Hasofer.

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I would also add that many of the page layout rules for a sefer torah aim for ease of reading and following them will make your edition look nice, and familiar to the reader since most tanakhs are justified and have some mark for the paragraph breaks found in standard scrolls –  Yitzchak Feb 28 at 21:23
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Some places in the Torah need special format such as the 10 Commandments and the Song by the Sea. There is also a concept that some paragraphs are supposed to end on full lines and others are supposed to end in the middle of a line and the next paragraph begins on the same line (and there is supposed to be a gap).

I don't know if these rules apply to the Nach parts.

There is, however, some special format in Megillas Esther see http://ohr.edu/5375

These special formats may disagree with justification.

As long as you put a disclaimer in that this book is not for ceremonial purposes, I think you will be all right

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