Ritual scribal work relating to the writing of holy texts

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Figuring out where Torah scrolls come from

Lets say a synagogue has inherited a lot of Torah scrolls, but doesn't know where many of them come from. How would they go about determining from which countries these scrolls hail from? Are there ...
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What factors might allow a shul not to repair a passul Sefer Torah?

Our shul has numerous Torah scrolls that are passul (unusable). I'm assuming that they contain missing or rubbed-out letters, and other errors that would invalidate using the Torah. Our shul ...
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What's the difference between קסת הסופר and מנחת שי?

I am a Torah reader. I am always interested in learning about the nuances of how trope is used as well as the rules about how the Torah scroll is written, and the relationship between the writing ...
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Source for the Beit Yosef's צ

In most forms of k'tav stam (Sephardi, Ari, Jeckisch, et c.) the righthand yud of the letter צ is reversed (see fig. 1). On the other hand, the Beit Yosef's צ uses a regular י shape in the righthand ...
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Direction & order of strokes when writing letters

When writing Torah scrolls, mezuzahs, or tefillin scrolls, is there any significance to the direction of the strokes of the pen for each letter? Or the order of the strokes for each letter? IE: (If ...
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Must every sidrah begin at the start of a parsha? (Rashi on Breishit 47:28)

Rashi on Genesis 47:28 (excerpt) ויחי יעקב לָמָּה פָּרָשָׁה זוֹ סְתוּמָה? ויחי יעקב AND JACOB LIVED — Why is this section (weekly reading) totally closed? Explanation for novices: The Torah ...
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Saying Shema from Klaf

I've heard of saying parshat haketoret from a klaf. Does a similar practice exist for shema? If so, is it just Shema and V'haya (essentially a mezuzah) or the above and Parshat Tzitzit?
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Is one allowed to create a “mixed” Vavei Ha'amudim and non Vavei Ha'mudim Torah?

Related to this M.Y. question: The answers and comments seem to state that one cannot create a Torah that has two different writing styles. During Simchat Torah, I noticed that the main Torah I read ...
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yud ha'heh -official name

What is the official name of the yud in the heh, and tet in the tuf - do we say simply yud ha'heh and tet ha'tuf (assuming tuf is vav with a roof, followed by backward-facing script-tet) ? Also, is ...
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Is there an online resource that gives an “overview” of safrut?

Between Mincha and Ma'ariv on Shmini Atzeret, I'd like to give a short shiur on some interesting facts about how a Torah is written. I'm looking for some fairly easy to understand online resources on ...
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Does the writing on a mezuzah have to be totally straight?

I saw a mezuzah parchment where it seems that the while the letters where all in a line, in the sense that they did not collide with the rows above or below them, but within the row, the letters were ...
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Mamzerim and Sifrei Torah

In the Keset haSofer (1:ד) R' Ganzfried mentions that some hold that a Torah written by a mamzer is passul. In the Lishkat haSofer (ad loc.) he brings that most hold that there is no problem for a ...
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How are Sifrei Torah typically checked today?

Our shul has about 10 Sifrei Torah (no exaggeration) that are all passul. I am curious how complicated it would be to discover where the problems are. Someone told me that today, many sofrim ...
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Is one allowed to remove sections from a Torah to repair one or more pasul ones?

This is a scenario of possibly benefiting multiple communities. Let's say there are five different shuls all in remote communities. Each shul has just one Torah but it is pasul (non usable). They ...
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28-line Tikkun for Ester

I am looking for a 28-line tikkun sofrim for Ester which has the 10 b'nei Haman written within the same amud as either the prior, or subsequent text, rather than alone. Does anyone know where I could ...
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Online Safrut Courses

In this question, I asked about any safrut teachers in my area. As of present, I have not heard back from the sofer provided in the link. However, I was wondering, as a corollary, considering the ...
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Are the tagin considered part of the letter itself?

When writing a Torah, Each letter must be written according to a specific shape / form that is defined for each letter. Certain letters contain tagin (crowns). Are these tagin considered part of the ...
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Can a section of the Torah be “cut and pasted”?

While reading parshat Naso last week, it was easy to notice that near the end of the reading, there is a large section discussing the donations made by the 12 tribes for the dedication of the ...
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Broken פ- What's wrong with it?

In Mishnat Sofrim, the Chofetz Chaim discusses the correct forms of the letters as they should appear in sifrei sta"m. When he comes to thee letter פ in its medial form, he says that the current ...
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Mishnah Berurah with Mishnat Sofrim

I was looking on Seforim Center a bit earlier to find an edition of the Chofetz Chaim's hilchot tefillin (in Mishnah Berurah chlk. 1, simanim 25-45). I came across a very nicely typeset edition by Oz ...
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Dyo lesafrut - mutar beficha or not

I came across a thread today on the International Sta"m Forum. In the comments, some of the sofrim who frequent the site were debating whether sofer's ink, or dyo, need be mutar beficha (permitted to ...
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Handwritten Siddurim

I've seen assorted links on the net discussing handwritten siddurim, which brought up a number of questions, which I will ask here. Are there any halachot in regards to handwriting a siddur? In ...
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Advice on how to find a safrut teacher

I have been considering learning safrut from an individual. I know 2 sofrim in my area, but not well. I understand that learning this skill takes much time and this will probably be a significant ...
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Non-lishmah parchment

I was learning the first two chapters of Rambam's Hilchot Megillah v'Chanukah before minchah last Shabbat. In one of the halachot of Ch. 2:9 the Rambam discusses that megillot need not be written on ...
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Clean Keset Hasofer Online

I have been trying to learn R' Ganzfried's Sefer Keset haSofer, however, I have been unable to find a printed copy and the HebrewBooks.org copy I've found is nearly illegible. Is there an online ...
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Metal Kulmus for Sifrei Kodesh?

I was just looking at the Keset haSofer and came across an interesting halacha ואין נוהגין כן אלא כותבין בנוצה ואפי׳ בקולמס של ברזל This is to say that we may write with a metal kulmus * (pen ...
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How was the Torah written by Moshe (were there spaces)?

Someone told me that before Ezra Hasofer the Torahs did not have spaces (he said that according to some opinions not even between words). It was just given over when learned where the parshas ...
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Is there a halacha that limits the use of stretching letters in the Torah?

See this related question . That question explains the reason for having them. My question asks if there are any halachot that limit its use. A few weeks ago - I think it was parshat Shmot, I read ...
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Are there any safrut teachers in Boston?

I have, as I've expressed in previous questions, a strong interest in safrut. As such, I would love to learn the relevant halachot and beautify my writing, which although it would likely be kosher ...
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Sofrim selling other's K'tav rather than their own

Some of the websites by sofrim which I have seen (this and this) show that the sofrim who run them do not write for themselves. Why is this?
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Please explain location of end of verse pattern in Ha'azinu

Parshat Ha'azinu is, for the most, written in 2 side-by-side columns. I noticed the following pattern: verses 1-13 end in the left column verses 14-38 end in the right column verses 39-43 end in the ...
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Ashkenazi STa"M name

Why is Ashkenazi sta"m sofer referred to as Beit Yosef? Typically, the term refers to the seminal masterpiece written by the Mechaber, a Sephardi authority: so what gives?
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Is this a mistake in a Torah scroll or intended decoration?

In the following pictures, is the superscript addition a correction or intended decoration? Are corrections like this kosher?
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What is the reason for “stretched” letters in the Torah?

I noticed that in many Sifrei Torah, Sofrim prefer to "stretch" certain letters. It seems that these letters are stretched to end a line if there wouldn't be enough space to start a new word. That's ...
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When Sofrim write Sifrei Torah, do they think of the Ba'alei Kri'ah (readers)?

I have read from many different Sifrei Torah as a Ba'al Kri'ah during the past approx. 30 years. Each Torah is unique, as B"H, it should be. Every sofer has a slightly different writing style, even ...
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Is there a standard format for the start of each column in writing Sifrei Torah?

When I looked at a few Tikunei Lakor'im, they seem to follow what appears to be a standard where certain words begin at the top of a column. I did see several Sifrei Torah that seem to follow this ...
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Antiquarian Safrut

Is there any resource for looking at examples of the old forms of safrut from before the Second World War? I have seen un-sourced photos of strikingly different variations within the Ashkenazi and ...
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Is a Sfardi ש incorrect according to this Gemara?

In Masechet Shabbat 104a, it talks about the shapes of the letters, and meaning behind it. One thing it says is: ומאי טעמא שיקרא אחדא כרעיה קאי ואמת מלבן לבוניה? And what is the reason that ...
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If the “Nun” preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

While reading last week's parsha, I noticed that the letter "nun" immediately preceding the verse Vayehi B'nso'ah ha'aron Bamidbar 10:35 was written as regular nun (tagin on top) rather than upside ...
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Are there any extant scrolls containing multiple books of Nach?

Related to this question, are there any known extant scrolls containing either all of tanach or multiple books of Na"ch? I am not counting trei-asar scrolls as they are considered one Book for ...
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Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

I have a Torah in my shul that does not have any large or small letters where required (e.g. - the 1st letter in the Torah, "Breishit", is written larger than the rest.) Is this Torah still considered ...
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Seligman Baer tikkun

Does anyone know where to get a scan of R' Seligman Baer's tikkun korim, or other older Western European tikkunei-korim? A complete scan of a Western Ashkenazi sefer Torah would also work. Edit: I ...
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Where to buy tefillin parts

Does anyone know where to get tefillin parts, specifically retzuot and batim as a friend of mine needs new batim and I need new retzuot.
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Why are some letters in the names of Haman's sons little?

In Esther 9:7,9 there are letters in the names of Haman's sons which are written smaller than usual in the megillah. Barring the purimfest 1946 explanation, what is the reason for these letters being ...
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Why are newer tefillin matte, while older ones are shiny

I have noticed that older tefillin — those manufactured a while ago — are typically shiny, whereas newer ones are typically matte. Is there any reason for this?
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פ in German Sta"M Script

Does anyone know the German custom for the letter pey in Sta"m sofer? I know that the shape in Litvisch Bet Yosef is influenced by the Mekubalim of Tzfat (The Ari in particular) who said that the ...
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What is the general process for writing errata pages to sefarim?

Not sure if this question is on topic but here goes. Background There is a STA"M textbook called מאיר עיני סופרים which summarizes the rulings of the major sources on hilchos STA"M for ...
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Hachnassas Sefer Torah at night

When concluding the writing of a Sefer Torah at the start of a Hachnassas Sefer Torah, do the last letters need to be filled in before shkiah (sunset) or can that be done also after shkiah? I wonder ...
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Resource for dotted letters in Nakh

It is relatively easy to find a list of dotted letters in Torah. Even a good tikkun kore will list them. However, it's harder to find a list of these in Nakh. Where can I find that resource? ...
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What to do if you don't want a Torah written with a turkey feather?

Modern Ashkenazi Torahs are often (at least in part) written with turkey feathers. Not always - there are plenty of other quills that are acceptable (and reeds, plastic, and most say metal, among ...