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20
votes
2answers
281 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. ...
16
votes
3answers
183 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, ...
15
votes
6answers
386 views

Why are there colored splotches on the pages on many Jewish texts?

On many editions of the Chumash, Talmud, and even many more-modern books, you look at the side of the book (opposite the spine) and there are random colored splotches printed on the pages. (For ...
15
votes
2answers
868 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
429 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
4k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
685 views

Typing on Chol Hamoed

Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?
13
votes
2answers
3k 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
2answers
453 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
7k 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 Hashem?...
12
votes
1answer
373 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
186 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, ...
11
votes
2answers
190 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
230 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
924 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
610 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
181 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
210 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
399 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
7
votes
1answer
817 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
2answers
404 views

Emotional distress with the overly sensitive

From the website dinonline: The Torah teaches: “When you sell something to your fellow, or buy from your fellow, do no wrong one man his fellow” (Vayikra 25:14). In a subsequent verse, the ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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
1answer
322 views

Does the Biblical prohibition against writing on Shabbat apply to nonsense as well?

Writing (כותב) is one of the 39 melachot (forbidden labors) of Shabbat. Writing nonsense is forbidden regardless, but i'm curious whether it's a Biblical or Rabbinic prohibition. On a Biblical level,...
7
votes
2answers
147 views

Tikunei Ha-Zohar: What happened to Tikun 20?

hebrewbooks has a scan of the 1558 Mantuba edition of Tikunei HaZohar. In that edition, Tikun 20 is several pages long. (Starts here, goes for several pages). The only other edition I found on ...
7
votes
2answers
101 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
377 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
65 views

What are respectful ways to depict a vision involving Hashem in fiction?

I'm Jewish writing a story that at least Modern Orthodox I hope will consider fit to read, even if not necessarily to be consider frum by some to the right. I'm at the point where the heroine needs a ...
7
votes
1answer
83 views

Is there a problem of image projection on Shabbat?

There are night lights which don't just emit light but project an entire image (example). If such a device is plugged in before Shabbat, would there be a problem of closing window shades or doing ...
7
votes
0answers
77 views

What are the origins of the תושלב"ע prayer at the end of holy books?

When I finished the Book of Bereishit this Shabbos, the Tanakh I was reading concluded with this prayer: תם ונשלם תהילה לאל בורא עולם (Finished and completed. Praise to G!d, Creator of the Universe.) ...
6
votes
1answer
158 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
91 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
233 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
394 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
1answer
213 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

How does one request a haskama (approbation)?

Are there any rules or or general best-practices for requesting an approbation (הסכמה/haskama)? Can an approbation that was sent based on an incomplete manuscript still be used if changes are made to ...
5
votes
1answer
367 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

Typing on Shabbos

If one would type on a computer on Shabbos, would he be ovar an issur d'oraisa in regards to the malacha of writing? (The other malachos involved aside for a moment.) Is there any room to say this ...
5
votes
1answer
104 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.)
5
votes
1answer
73 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 writings)...
5
votes
0answers
120 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
112 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
3answers
217 views

Is highlighting text and writing in the siddur OK?

I want to highlight parts of the prayers where the congregation responds and where the chazzan speaks so I can better follow the service, as well as write in some notes about the prayer order, etc. ...
4
votes
1answer
146 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
528 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
178 views

Last Posukim in the Torah

Who wrote the last eight Pesukim of the Torah?
4
votes
2answers
129 views

Graphology - sources that permit or forbid it

I saw a orthodox Jewish newspaper that has a column on graphology. Are there any sources that discuss graphology, pro or con? Is it hocus pocus? Is it similar to palm reading?
4
votes
1answer
135 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
140 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
159 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, ...