The gemara Menachos 32b says that even though a Sefer Torah may not be written except "מן הכתב", copied from another text, tefillin and mezuzah don't have that requirement and may be written by hand. The reason given is מיגרס גריסין, '[the text] is frequently repeated.' Rashi: 'Everyone "runs through" them verbally, and won't make a mistake with them...' That is, at least the paragraphs of Shema and V'haya Im Shamoa in mezuzah, two of the four in tefillin, we say twice a day and know them very well.
My question is, What about the chaseiros and yeseiros, the long and short versions of words, generally extra or missing vavs and yods? The halacha is that a single extra or missing letter makes tefillin or mezuzah (or Sefer Torah) posul. Why are people assumed to be expert in that? Is it (a) They used to actually pronounce the words slightly differently depending, so someone from that time would know the exact spelling. Or (b) At least there are a lot fewer things to remember, just a few possible places where there might be an extra vav/yod or not (טוטפות vs טטפת, etc.) and we can rely on memory for those? Or some other reason?
I did see in Ta"z Yoreh Deah 288(3) that he holds that we should preferentially be careful to copy from a text, because people are indeed not expert in chaseiros and yeseiros. Not sure how that relates to my question...

  • 2
    Most Sofrim know the chaser and yeter of a mezuzah by heart. (If you don't then you clearly can't write it by heart.) No one knows the spelling of the whole Torah by heart
    – Double AA
    Dec 6, 2020 at 17:42
  • Not to nitpick ,but its a bold statement to say "no one knows ...") ,I am sure there are a few people in the world who do.
    – sam
    Dec 6, 2020 at 17:54
  • @DoubleAA So you're choosing explanation (b), sounds like.
    – MichoelR
    Dec 6, 2020 at 17:58
  • @DoubleAA That doesn't seem to be the reason, because even if someone does know the spelling of the whole Torah by heart it's still not allowed (Megilla 18b)
    – b a
    Dec 6, 2020 at 18:00
  • 1
    @ba on the contrary, that Gemara clearly implies the reason if you did know it all then is just a rabbinic formalism which can be pushed off if really necessary
    – Double AA
    Dec 6, 2020 at 18:07


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