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Why is the Tanak spaced at the end of certain verses with a פ or ס?

  • david macias jr, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your question here. Your question may be easier for others to answer if you edit it to indicate where you saw this. (Was it some particular print of the Tanach?) I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. – msh210 Jun 28 '15 at 4:54
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There are four ways of writing a paragraph break in the Torah text:

1)

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2)

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3)

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4)

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According to the Rambam, 1 and 4 are called פתוחות "open" breaks, while 2 and 3 are called סתומות "closed" breaks. According to the Rosh 1 and 3 are called פתוחות "open" breaks, while 2 and 4 are called סתומות "closed" breaks.

In a printed text open breaks are often denoted with a פ and closed breaks are often denoted with a ס, using the initial letter of the Hebrew name.

The open breaks are considered a stronger gap than the closed breaks.

Type 3 and 4 are used only when the text ends too close to the end of the line to allow for types 1 and 2 to be used. In most modern Torah scrolls, scribes will have arranged the lines to only need use type 1 and 2 in order to avoid deciding between the Rambam and Rosh, although if forced to, it is generally accepted that the Rambam's position is the primary one (see ShA YD 275:2).

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