I'm currently writing a paper on the famed "purimfest 1946." In attempt to respond to all rebuttals that are brought up, I need to take a glance at the most authoritative tanach, the Aleppo Codex. However, the Esther portion of the code was destroyed in 1947. The jerusalem crown tanach under the auspices of Rabbi Mordechai brewer reconstructed the missing portions. If anyone has this tanach, also known as the Keter Yerushalayim, I would love to know what is written by the ten sons of Haman, does is it have a small tav shin and zayin as we have it today?

  • 1
    The Aleppo Codex has nearly none of the big and small letters inline. So while even R Breuer can't know for sure what was there, almost certainly it didn't have any small letters marked. I don't know what they printed in the Keter Yerushalayim.
    – Double AA
    May 28, 2019 at 1:11
  • I can check later, but in the meantime this article quotes the Aleppo Codex version of the sons’ names.
    – Oliver
    May 28, 2019 at 1:47
  • FTR there are definitely variant customs on the books about where the small letters go, with many also having a small ר in פרמשתא
    – Double AA
    May 28, 2019 at 2:26
  • The reason the code doesn't have the small letters I believe is because they are listed in the of the codex similar to the Leningrad codex.
    – Big Mouth
    May 28, 2019 at 3:21

2 Answers 2


Yes, it has the reduced Tav, Shin and Zayin as well as the enlarged Vav.

It’s worth pointing out that the enlarged Vav distinguishes that it is not referring to a year count, but the millennia. So the year indicated would be 5707.

It's also worth pointing that some wish to suggest that the small and large letters printed in the Keter Yerushalayim are not according to the Keter Aram Tzovah, but rather upon the rulings found in Sefer Minchat Shai by Rabbi Yedidiah Shlomo ben Avraham Nortzi.

But reviewing the footnotes to the Minchat Shai to Esther concerning the ten sons of Haman, he discusses specific poskim with different small or large letters and those with none. But then he states that "and in all the precisely written seforim" (ובכל ספרים מדוייקים) the letters, etc. are as it has been reproduced in Keter Yerushalayim.

The question becomes, which precisely written seforim is the Minchat Shai referring to?

That is answered by looking to the beginning of the comments of the Minchat Shai to Sefer Bereshit. He lists the many poskim and sofrim that he has looked at and then explains:

ואנחנו סומכים על קריאת בן אשר. וכן סמך עליו הרמב״ם ז״ל וכמנהג מערבי

And we rely upon the reading of Ben Asher. And so (too) Rambam z"l relies upon him and like the minhag of the west.

In this case, the west appears to be used like it is with the Talmud Yerushalmi which is also called Talmud HaMa'aravi.

And it is known that the precisely written Tanach which Rambam used in formulating the laws of writing a sefer Torah in the Mishnah Torah, was the Keter Aram Tzovah. So the Minchat Shai is actually relying upon what he saw or what others relayed to him was in the Keter Aram Tzovah for the large and small letters to the ten sons of Haman.


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    @Big While this is the picture you sought, the historical claims in this answer about Minchat Shai's source being the Aleppo Codex is definitely false. He never travelled to Syria to see it, inadvertently disagreed with it on numerous occasions, and doesn't just cite it in all cases of doubt. Please disregard it and hold the rest of this post in great doubt.
    – Double AA
    May 30, 2019 at 16:53

The text of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia's Esther, which is based on the Leningrad codex (the oldest extant Tanakh manuscript), does not have such variant sizes. Particularly, there is no note either indicating that other manuscripts consulted have these forms either.

While the Leningrad codex was not written by Ben Asher, it is the closest manuscript to the Ben Asher tradition containing Esther.


Aharon Ben Asher, who in fact was the naqdan of the Aleppo Codex, wrote a Masoretic treatise called Diqduqe Hatteamim, which contains a list of large and small letters. The list in the Baer and Strack edition enumerates all the small letters in this section (ת, ש, ז) and the big ו. (If you want to be rigourous in this, it is worth consulting the more accurate edition of A. Dotan; the Baer and Strack edition is known for including Masoretic traditions that Ben Asher did not author).

UPDATE: I could not find this section in Dotan's edition. Evidently Dotan does not agree that it was written by Ben Asher.

In the extant Aleppo codex, there is one big letter ('הַ לה) without a corresponding note, and three small nunim (Is. 45:14, Jer. 39:13, Prov. 15:28) with the note "3 small nunin". (see אותיות גדולות וזעירות במקרא).

  • The Leningrad codex does have the small letters (minus the the zayin) and a large vav. The reason you don't see it because they are listed in the back.
    – Big Mouth
    May 28, 2019 at 3:35
  • @Big the Codex includes big and small letters (e.g. בראשית and שמע ישראל) the same way the Aleppo Codex does, it's just not the case here. The text at the back of the treatise is a seperate Masoretic one like Diqduqe Hatteamim.
    – Argon
    May 28, 2019 at 3:55
  • @BigMouth Note the Leningrad Codex has them in different places commons.wikimedia.org/w/… small Tav in Parmashta in Shin in Parshandata, opposite of how Minchat Shai has it. And the footnote to the Bear Stark edition of Didukei Taamim includes such a variant there too.
    – Double AA
    May 29, 2019 at 0:59
  • @BigMouth see updates
    – Double AA
    May 31, 2019 at 19:40

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