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There are different traditions as to on which letters to put the taggin (the crowns), but many old traditions include various specific letters that are not in שעטנ״ז ג״ץ (the letters that we generally crown today). For example, Rambam lists a bunch of letters to crown in tefillin (see MT Tefillin 2:9) and the Tur gives another list for tefillin (see OC 36).

While I'm familiar with how we generally add three taggin to שעטנ״ז ג״ץ, are there traditional places on (the roof of) the other letters to put the taggin? What about שעטנ״ז ג״ץ when there are more than three taggin? More than examples of this being done, I'd prefer prescriptive statements in the halachic literature.

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  • Also, if it's not on the leftmost head, do you change the shape of the head? Since the B"Y says our standard heads are "not ra'uy" for tagim.
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 19:12
  • Editions of sefer tagi will usually draw out examples explicitly, such as the famous picture here judaism.stackexchange.com/a/98931/759 . However, the special letters in tefillin are often different in number than those in sefer tagi and it's hard to extrapolate.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 20:32
  • @DoubleAA Was this comment learned orally, or do you have a written source for it?
    – magicker72
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 22:00
  • That tag is from sefer tagi. It's listed as one of 22 in the Torah that דמדלי רישיהון מכולהון their head rises up above all. Same language in ST as vav דמידלי רישיהון. In both cases in all old drawings it's always the front 'face' of the letter that rises. I'm not entirely sure we should call it a 'tag' proper and not a 'ot meshunna' though what the difference would be is not clear to me. Perhaps whether or not the tag needs a "zayin" head.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 22:07

2 Answers 2

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All of these traditions are based upon the comment relayed in Menachot 29b which says:

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב בשעה שעלה משה למרום מצאו להקב"ה שיושב וקושר כתרים לאותיות אמר לפניו רבש"ע מי מעכב על ידך אמר לו אדם אחד יש שעתיד להיות בסוף כמה דורות ועקיבא בן יוסף שמו שעתיד לדרוש על כל קוץ וקוץ תילין תילין של הלכות § Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: When Moses ascended on High, he found the Holy One, Blessed be He, sitting and tying crowns on the letters of the Torah. Moses said before God: Master of the Universe, who is preventing You from giving the Torah without these additions? God said to him: There is a man who is destined to be born after several generations, and Akiva ben Yosef is his name; he is destined to derive from each and every thorn of these crowns mounds upon mounds of halakhot. It is for his sake that the crowns must be added to the letters of the Torah.

These teachings of Rabbi Akiva were actually preserved and written down in a midrash called the letters and crowns of Rabbi Akiva. This midrash from Rabbi Akiva lists crowns for almost every letter in the Aleph-Beit and where in the text they are used and where specifically the crowns are to be placed. They are not used everywhere in the written Torah. In the places where they are added, it indicates a specific teaching or tradition.

enter image description here

This Midrash was also preserved by the Rokeach, Rabbi Eliezer of Garmiza (correctly pronounced Varmiza) in his book, Sefer Kiryat S'far (Book of the Border Town).

Like it explains in the introduction to the new re-issue mentioned below, this midrash is the source in numerous halachic texts on Sofrut like Ohr Zaruah, BaHag, Tur and Beit Yosef.

enter image description here

Unfortunately, only a small portion of those teachings remain with us today. But through the outstanding work of Zichron Aharon a much larger portion of that teaching has been republished.

So to recap your questions, 1) Where do we put the taggin on letters besides שעטנ״ז ג״ץ? See Midrash HaTagin.

2)Are there traditional places on (the roof of) the other letters to put the taggin? The short answer is yes, as taught by Rabbi Akiva in Midrash HaTagin.

  1. What about שעטנ״ז ג״ץ when there are more than three taggin? See the answer to number 2.

...and your stated preference, "I'd prefer prescriptive statements in the halachic literature.

The specific answers to all three questions are detailed in the entire midrash. Copying the text of the entire midrash here seems excessive, but you can see a degraded version of it from the Lemburg edition of Kiryat Sefer here.

Like it states in Menachot, these crowns are to be learned via Rabbi Akiva's teaching. They were added specifically to the letters of the Torah for him.

It would be much more productive to obtain a copy of the re-issue from Zichron Aharon Publishers.

enter image description here

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    How does this answer the question?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 16:18
  • @DoubleAA The Midrash from Rabbi Akiva lists crowns for almost every letter in the Aleph-Beit and where they are used. They are not used everywhere. In the places where they are added, it indicates a specific teaching or tradition. If you haven't seen the re-issue from Zichron Aharon, I would highly recommend it for your library. Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 16:29
  • It does look well done, but again I don't see how this is an answer to the question
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 16:56
  • I also do not understand how this answers the question. I am not looking for information on where in the Torah to put taggin, but rather: if I know that I am supposed to put one tag on this ת, for example, where on the ת should I put it?
    – magicker72
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 17:27
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    This long post could easily be converted to a comment saying just "Here is a short midrash that gives a few general directions about taggim placement in unclear circumstances." I mean it's an important source but this post alone is far from an answer, and quite bloated at that.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 21:15
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See yeriot shelomo of HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Mo'alem chapter 14 where he brings also the kol yaacov siman 36 oth 17 and also Sefer Minchat Solet (tikkun tefillin oth 30 pg 120 footnotes 497) who brings the zohar khadash(didn't mention source): The tzaddikim will stand with crowns upon their heads which are the Taggin pf the sefer torah which are בד"ק חי"ה שעטנ"ז ג"ץ There he also brings that the taggin of בדק חיה needs to be like the letter zayin (meaning only one tag) see there. Its not at all likely to do other taggin than 3s and 1s and seen only upon the letters mentioned above. Thus brings the kol yaacov on oth 16 of siman 36 according to kabbalah.

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    How does this answer the question? Even for בדק חיה, you haven't told me where on the letter to put the tag.
    – magicker72
    Commented May 30 at 10:39
  • I guess I didn't understand your question too well then, Ill see into it and edit the answer accordingly BzH Commented May 30 at 11:40

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