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19
votes
2answers
256 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
15
votes
5answers
399 views

Overhead projector on Shabbos?

A discussion came up with some guests over shabbos. One asked if one could use an overhead projector on Shabbos if it was turned on from before, i.e. could one put a new plastic sheet on it or not? In ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem

Often, at the top of written work, Jews write either ב"ה, which stands for Baruch Hashem =blessed is the Name i.e., God, or בס"ד, which stands for b'siyata d'shmaya =with Heavenly help. What is the ...
14
votes
3answers
143 views

What letter-counting system was used to mark the Planks of the Mishkan?

The sides between the 48 Planks of the Mishkan were marked with letters to keep them in order during assembly/disassembly (Shabbos 103a, & here). If the pairing system was one-letter:one-letter, ...
14
votes
2answers
502 views

Is getting a “fake” tattoo a violation of halacha?

Inspired by Curiouser here: Is getting a "fake" (temporary) tattoo a violation of halacha? I'll define this broadly as any tattoo that doesn't permanently show on your body. This includes transfer ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Citation format for G'mara

If one is citing a g'mara in a scholarly article, what is the proper publication information to use, including title, etc.? I can't seem to find reliable examples in either English or Hebrew. This ...
12
votes
1answer
292 views

Ta'amei Mikra and the Torah Scroll

I have heard that a haftorah klaf (scroll) is still considered kosher and usable if the Ta'amei Mikra have been written on it. Yet I've always been told that this is not true for a Torah scroll. Why ...
11
votes
2answers
392 views

Why does writing on Shabbos need two letters?

In order to transgress "writing" (כותב) on Shabbos, (m'd'oraysah) one must write two letters. (See for example here.) Why is this so? Shouldn't writing anything still be considered writing? For ...
11
votes
2answers
174 views

Gap zip up sweatshirt Kesivah on Shabbos?

Does zippering up a sweatshirt like this one, which when zippering causes the letter A to become a letter create a problem of Kesivah on Shabbos? Is an Old Navy sweatshirt where the word Old is on one ...
10
votes
5answers
610 views

Why did Rashi create a new letter system for his commentaries?

I had heard that he created his own lettering system so that his words would be easily distinguishable from the actual words of the Torah. Is this just hearsay or speculation? If so, is there any ...
10
votes
2answers
164 views

Why is the Tetragrammaton vowelized in Siddurim and in Sefarim?

I've often found that the Tetragrammaton (Shem Havayah) is often vowelized in siddurim and sefarim. Since we b'davkah don't say the Shem Havayah how it is spelled, why are the vowels included? Also, ...
10
votes
1answer
163 views

Is it permitted to use a thermochromic cup on Shabbos?

A novelty cup, see for example here, appears black when cold. When hot liquid is poured into it, the black changes to white and the previously concealed writing (underneath, so to speak) becomes ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Does ב"ה actually stand for Boruch Hashem?

We asked here about writing either ב"ה or בס"ד on the top of a letter. In the question it was assumed that ב"ה stands for Boruch Hashem. Do we have a source that ב"ה actually stands for Boruch ...
8
votes
3answers
179 views

Saying Tanach by Heart

מִזְמוֹרֵי תְהִלִּים וְכֵן שְׁאָר פָּרָשִׁיּוֹת מִתּוֹרָה נְבִיאִים וּכְתוּבִים שֶׁאֵינָם שְׁגוּרִים בְּפִי הַכֹּל, אָסוּר לְאָמְרָם בְּעַל פֶּה. אֲפִלּוּ מִי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ לְאָמְרָם בְּעַל פֶּה, יֶשׁ לוֹ לִזָּהֵר ...
7
votes
1answer
468 views

What is the font with points in the middle of the letters called? [closed]

What is this [type of] font called - the kind that makes it look like every leg of every letter is a snake that swallowed a block? Where can I download such a font?
7
votes
5answers
405 views

Different Size Letters in the Torah

I've often wondered if someone has compiled anything about the "special letters" in the Torah: All the letters that are either big or small. Together, do they read as something special? One or more ...
7
votes
1answer
858 views

What does it cost to write one's own Sefer Torah - and how long would it take?

I'm wondering if anybody else has experience writing their own Sefer Torah, how long it took them and how much it cost. It took me about 9 years and about $3,500 to write mine.
7
votes
3answers
365 views

Typing on Chol Hamoed

Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?
7
votes
2answers
93 views

How large is a typical contemporary hagada commentary?

In a contemporary published hagada with commentary, how many total words does the commentary typically comprise? (For comparison, "Hagada - Mi Yodeya?", in its current form, weighs in at about 14,000 ...
7
votes
1answer
139 views

Unique signature of the Chida

The Chida has a very unique signature. What is the significance of this signature (if any)? Is it in any way related to the seven kabbalistic seals? Are there other similarly unusual signatures by ...
7
votes
2answers
159 views

Games (on Shabas) that involve writing: whose writing?

I don't have good sources handy, but apparently some forbid the Shabas playing of games in which one usually writes, even if playing without writing: Scrabble, in which one writes scores, is sometimes ...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

G-d's Name in Fridge Magnets (Erasing)

If one were to arrange fridge magnets of letters to spell G-d's name, what are the halachic ramifications of rearranging them (erasing)? If the magnets were small dots, rather than letters, but were ...
6
votes
1answer
54 views

Easy/pretty way to typeset Hebrew with Te'amim

I'm setting out to create a bentsher and am looking for the right software for the job. First, it is important to me that I have the ability to add Te'amim to biblical passages (e.g. kiddush). ...
6
votes
1answer
212 views

Learning the shapes of the letters as a Baal Koreh

I would have thought that the shapes of the letters would be a good thing for Baal Koreh to know, but I was told that since Sefrie Torah are not invalidated until they are declared as such, this would ...
6
votes
3answers
293 views

Drawing with ink on your skin

Shalom, I have heard many times that there is a problem with drawing on your skin with ink. Can anyone provide sources on the topic? I would like to know things like what issur this falls under and ...
5
votes
3answers
257 views

May one use a Sephardic Torah in an Ashkenaz minyan?

May an Ashkenaz minyan use a sephardic torah (written in כתב וועליש) for their minyan or vise versa? Please cite a source
5
votes
1answer
221 views

Why are wedding invitation abbreviated b'rachos different for males and females?

Many wedding invitations written in Hebrew that I've seen have the abbreviations נ"י - after the groom's name - and תחי'‏ - after the bride's name. (Example) Sometimes they are slight alterations ...
5
votes
1answer
67 views

Birkot HaTorah and Typing

Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 47:3) as well as Yalkut Yosef (47:14) write that before one writes down words of Torah, he must recite Birkot HaTorah (because people that write sometimes voice their ...
5
votes
0answers
92 views

Identification of Censored Areas of Talmud

Unfortunately, the Talmud and other writings have been subject to censorship since their completion. These alterations seem still to be present in many modern editions of the Talmud. How ...
5
votes
3answers
100 views

Sefer about the writing of Neviim and Megillos

What sefer discusses the details pertaining to the writing of Nevi'im and Megillos (i.e., how the paragraphs are broken up, where there are "special letters", etc.)?
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Changing “shlit”a“s to ”za“l”s?

The name of living Torah scholar mentioned or quoted in another's book is often followed by an abbreviation of blessing such as שליט"א or נר"ו. The name of a past scholar, no longer living, is ...
4
votes
2answers
428 views

Why is a “classicly” printed Sefer Torah not kosher?

"Classic" printing was a fairly simple process, very similar to using a large stamp. You carve out letters on a block, and cover it with ink. Then the printer presses the board on paper. This printing ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

Last Posukim in the Torah

Who wrote the last eight Pesukim of the Torah?
4
votes
1answer
124 views

What is the proper way to write the year when it is a year that ends in מנצפך?

When the year ends with one of the letters of מנצפך - for example 5780 - What is the correct way to write it תש"פ or תש"ף?
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Do they still print g'maras with regular Torah Or?

It used to be the standard for many many years that each in-text quotation of a Biblical verse in the Vilna edition Talmud Bavli had a little circle before the first word, which corresponded to a ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

How could Moshe write on Shabbos?

I once saw this question in the magazine Kolmus: There's a tradition that Moshe wrote thirteen sifrei Torah on the day of his death. However, there are many opinions that Moshe died on Shabbos, ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Does Nivul Peh apply to writing?

Is it considered Nivul Peh if one writes an inappropriate phrase? (For example, if one is writing a book with fictional dialogue, or a dictionary of slang terms.)
4
votes
3answers
173 views

Writing on t'filin straps

Is there any problem with having stray marks or writing on the underside of a t'filin strap? If it is in a non-essential location (such as down at the end of a long strap) is it preferable to cut it ...
4
votes
0answers
83 views

I would like to see an actual Vilna Shas

I would like to see the pages of an actual Vilna Shas. I know there are many many reprints out there in bookstores, my bookshelf, and websites like http://www.e-daf.com, but that's not what I want. I ...
4
votes
0answers
60 views

Can you take and post pictures of people online without their permission?

Realizing that there is some concern with having one's picture taken in the first place; according to those who allow pictures of people to be taken, is there any halachic reason which would prevent ...
4
votes
2answers
399 views

What are the halachik issues involved in drawing from a nude model?

Aside from seeming obviously inappropriate for a good Jewish boy/girl, what are the halachik issues involved in drawing from a nude model? Are there any distinctions with regard to men/women?
3
votes
1answer
217 views

Is drawing a line with a crayon forbidden on Shabbat?

There are board games that involve using a crayon to draw lines (not letters or figures) on a board (e.g. EuroRails). Are these activities problematic on Shabbat? There are two aspects: the drawing ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

Self-study writing a davar avid?

If I am teaching myself a foreign language as a leisure activity, may I write in a workbook on chol hamoed, for the purpose of retaining my knowledge? If I haven't begun, may I start the new language ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

When did David Hamelech write Tehillim?

When did David Hamelech write Tehillim? Or to be more technical, when did David write his first Tehillim and when did he write his last? Also was there a certain period of time within which he wrote a ...
3
votes
0answers
37 views

Using Zephaniah 3:8 as a pangram

Would usage of Zephaniah 3:8 solely as a pangram – it being the only option with both finals and cantillation – constitute shemos, and therefore require genizah? לָכֵ֤ן חַכּוּ־לִי֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה ...
3
votes
0answers
71 views

Tattoo of an image of idolatry

According to this exhaustive article on the subject of tattooing in Halachah, there is an important opinion with many ramifications that states that one is only liable for the biblical prohibition of ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Why is the ketuba left incomplete until the signing?

In the ketuba, the ק in the word "וקנינא" is sometimes left incomplete until the time that the ketuba is signed. Why is the ketuba left incomplete?
2
votes
1answer
82 views

Mitzvas Kesivas Sefer Torah

If you purchase a finished Sefer Torah are you Yotzei the Mitzva of Kesivas Sefer Torah?
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Three letters at the end of the parasha

What are the three letters either samechs or pe's which are at the end of the parasha in the Chumash?