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I've moved into a new apartment and need to buy some mezuzot. Looking around, each seller seems to offer a range of options in terms of price. It seems like the way it works is the bigger the klaf, the higher the price, though I'm not sure. Is there any reason to choose one size over the other or to choose a more expensive klaf over a less expensive one? Aside from size, there also seem to be choices to make in terms of shitah, with terms like Ari, etc. Do these characterize issues that make a difference halakhically?

  • While the answers address the writing, you should also consider getting your Mezuza on Gevil, since modern parchment is probably invalid accd to many Rishonim (the various issues of the forms of the letters are for the most part not Meakev accd to everyone). – Double AA Apr 27 '17 at 17:53
  • @DoubleAA, could you explain the word 'gvil'? Are people selling mezuzot written on invalid parchment? Or, do you mean that I should correct the word in the question to say 'gvil' instead of 'klaf'? – paquda Apr 27 '17 at 18:39
  • Gevil גויל is unsplit hide. "Klaf" classically meant one half of the hide, though in modern times it's generally used to refer to parchment. I'm not telling you to correct the question, just to also look into what the Mezuzah is written on (you did ask "how to choose"). Modern parchment is probably invalid according to many early authorities, so using Gevil might be a worthwhile Chumra. – Double AA Apr 27 '17 at 18:48
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There are several opinions on the forms of the letters themselves. If your ancestry hails from Yemen, they have their own distinctive script. If you have Hassidic/Kabbalistic roots (or leanings), then Ktav Ari is optimized for you. (There is a tension in the letters that represents the tension in the universe we have to correct; e.g. the Chet is assymetric, and the right head of the Tzadi points away from the body.) If you're non-hassidic Ashkenazic or of Spanish origins, then Ktav Beit Yosef is preferable.

Generally a "more beautiful" mezuzah is considered better, and keep in mind that once you get teeny-tiny, the odds the scribe got everything right go down a bit (and things become more fragile). On the other hand, it can take a skilled scribe to do a good job even small; anyone can do a nice job when you have lots of space! Some of this may even be objective (assuming all are kosher and durable)-- look over the parchments, what do you consider more beautiful?

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    Don't those of Spanish origin use Vellish script, not Beit Yosef? – Double AA Aug 24 '12 at 8:02
  • Sephardic Jews use Vellish, Beit Yosef is for non-Chassidic Askenazim, and Chabad have their ktav – Aryeh Feb 20 '13 at 21:25
  • Ktav Beit Yosef is kosher for Sephardim too. – ezra Jul 16 '17 at 7:16
  • @ezra Every Ktav is kosher for everyone... – Double AA Oct 24 '17 at 18:24
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I would add to Shalom's answer that the standard sizes are 10, 12, or 15 centimeters. As a sofer, albeit with limited experience, my opinion is that the best balance between quality and price is found in 12 centimeter mezuzot.

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