In some Hebrew lettered signs, usually the decorative ones (as opposed to functional ones like street signs), I have seen the letter ל with the top ascender or stalk bent backwards, to the right. Is there a name for this, and is it significant beyond typesetting?

Picture :

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  • I am not sure if this is what you mean,but if it is I would just call it an invalid lamed. Seems to be done to make room
    – sam
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 0:09
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    This is the same phenomenon as the Zarka trop mark. If you don't leave enough space between lines you may end up bending back the head. Most acharonim call such a practice foolish. Mishna Berurah אם עשה צואר הלמ"ד כעין יו"ד יש פוסקים שפוסלין בזה אפילו דיעבד על כן צריך הסופר ליזהר בזה מאד וז"ל הברוך שאמר לאפוקי מכל הסופרים בורים שמקצרים הצואר של הלמ"ד ועושים על הלמ"ד כמין יו"ד מחמת שאינם עושים ריוח בין שיטה לשיטה כמלא שיטה וכו'
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 2:00
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    @DoubleAA that quote from the Mishna Berura seems to refer to writing the Lamed with a very short neck (The head is like a Yod, with no neck), not to bending it back as is done in printing.
    – simyou
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 7:56
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    When we learned the alef-beis as kids we called it a "leaning lamed".
    – simyou
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 7:57
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    From a modern-day typography perspective - apparently it is called a 'lamed kefufah' ('a bent lamed') - alefalefalef.co.il/en/anatomy-of-type
    – Dov
    Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 9:29

2 Answers 2


I never heard a name for it. I was taught that it was just done because of a lack of space between the lamed and the line above, top of the paper, etc. It is definitely not in the approved shapes of lamed mentioned in Mishnah Berurah in Hilchos Tefillin.


Its a mistake as lamed letter is called :a tower/skyscraper that is floating/prosper/blooming , midair/in the sky

מגדל הפורח באויר

מגדלא דפרחא באוירא

מגדל עז

So the upper part should really extend upward longer then the lower part, and be very high, lamed is a very spiritual letter because its the highest length

  • Read the question again: Does it have a name - not "do you like it." Commented Sep 8, 2020 at 8:52

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