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19
votes
2answers
240 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. ...
13
votes
3answers
132 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, ...
13
votes
2answers
305 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
374 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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
2k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
253 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
359 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
162 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
463 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
146 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
177 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
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
370 views

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

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
341 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
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
2answers
204 views

Facebook in the bathroom

While it's certainly very crude, if not plain gross, it's not all that uncommon for people to use social media sites like Facebook while in the bathroom. Many Posekim forbid speaking in the bathroom, ...
7
votes
1answer
131 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
143 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
3answers
332 views

Typing on Chol Hamoed

Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?
6
votes
1answer
619 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.
6
votes
1answer
147 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
200 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
1answer
106 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
207 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
64 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
3answers
261 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
0answers
70 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
96 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
104 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
152 views

Last Posukim in the Torah

Who wrote the last eight Pesukim of the Torah?
4
votes
1answer
116 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
122 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
171 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
81 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
169 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
38 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
361 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
183 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
119 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
96 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
113 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
56 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
79 views

Mitzvas Kesivas Sefer Torah

If you purchase a finished Sefer Torah are you Yotzei the Mitzva of Kesivas Sefer Torah?
2
votes
1answer
53 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?
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Writing notes and highlighting in the Tanakh

Is taking notes and highlighting in a Hebrew/English Tanakh considered defacing the text?
2
votes
1answer
132 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
151 views

Why werent Rashi letters changed back

What is the basis of the change in Rashi's letters from the standard Hebrew ones? And if it was something that was dependent on a specific factor then, why weren't they changed back?
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Printing shem hashem

My siddur does not have the laining for rosh chodesh so I want to print a copy of it. Is there anything wrong with intentionally printing it without removing shem hashem?
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Writing Sefer Torah for Melech (King)

It says in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin Daf 21b): וכותב לו ס"ת לשמו — that a Sefer Torah should be written for the King "l'shmo". What does l'shmo in this case mean: for the "sake of the King"? ...