When writing a Torah, each letter must be written according to a specific shape / form that is defined for each letter. Certain letters contain tagin (crowns). Are these tagin considered part of the definition of the letter form / shape itself? When a sofer writes one of the letters that have the tagin, is he required to put those tagin there because the rules of how the letter must be drawn include instructions and requirements for drawing it with the tagin?

Applications of this question:

1 - If the tagin are part of the definition of the letter and the Sofer does not include them, would that disqualify the Torah, since he is not writing the shape of the letters correctly?

2 - In the written Torah there are 2 upside down nuns - one before Bamidbar 10:35 and one after Bamidbar 10:36.

Tikkun Sofrim (Tel Aviv 57725) shows the upside down nuns with the tagin ("crowns") on top. If the tagin are included within the definition of the shape of the letter, then if the nun is turned upside down, shouldn't the tagin be on the bottom rather than the top.

Note: Thanks to DoubleAA for pointing out that in the drawing it is backwards, not upside down. There may be different permissible interpretations on how the Nun is allowed to be drawn, here. I know that in many Sifrei Torah, I have seen it upside down, but I don't know if the tagin are drawn on top or on the bottom.

  • In that version the Nuns are flipped about the vertical axis not the horizontal one. No one ever said they are upside down.
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:25
  • See ShA OC 36 .
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:26
  • @DoubleAA It's hard to tell when viewing a scanned document! When comparing the 2nd nun to the nun in "uvenucho" it does look upside down. But the first one looks backwards. I can't really tell. I'm gong to edit my question, as I believe that there are various opinions on how to draw the nun.
    – DanF
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:31
  • @DoubleAA OC 36 seems to answer. Why not make it one?
    – DanF
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:35
  • DanF, those are halachically considered to be "reversed" (The term being nun-hafucha). Furthermore, the nunim-hafuchim are kind of a separate category from the traditional א–ת alephbet. Jun 17, 2015 at 17:37

2 Answers 2


Emes l'Yaakov - #17 & Dinim Uminhagim both say that when Tagin are missing from the Torah is not considered Pasul, and one does not have to take out a different Torah, yet one should not read from it until repaired.

  • 1
    So are they part of the letter itself or not?
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:38
  • @DoubleAA, if the a Torah that lacks them is not considered passul, they can't be, as we know that a Torah in which a portion of a letter is missing, the Torah is passul. Jun 17, 2015 at 17:42
  • @DoubleAA I understand your preciseness. But, Noach's answer and what you cited in OC 36 seems to arrive at a logical conclusion that the tagin is not part of the letter. If you read the language of OC, he uses a verb form stating "you must 'crown' the letters". I.e. the letters are there already, and you have to add 'crowns' to them.
    – DanF
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:46
  • 1
    @user6591 We're discussing if something is "part of the letter itself". Erasing seems to be a useful metric for that.
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:56
  • 1
    @DanF You should always edit to clarify your question, but i still don't know what you are asking. Are you asking if a sofer should write taggim? What defines a detail as 'part' or 'not part' of 'the letter itself'? The requirement to write it? Invalidity if it's not written? If it requires sanctification when written in a Divine Name? If it can be erased when part of a Divine name? Some other metric (mukkaf gvil, chok tochos, etc.)?
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:58

There are three kinds of standard tagin. Triples "shatnez gatz" tagim on the letters Shin Ayin Tes Nun Zayin Gimmel Zayin Single on the letters bais daled hay kuf The single tag on the letter "YUD" is considered part of the letter and if it is missing then it is pasul

  • Also the Makel on a Chet. (And taggim of lamed and pei and alef. When it comes down to it, it's really just mem kaf tav samekh vav resh that don't ordinarily have anything.)
    – Double AA
    Sep 18, 2017 at 16:54

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