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I'm asking this question with some emphasis on the beginning of parshat Vayechi.

Most chumashim that I have seen have a notation that unlike the end of every other weekly Torah reading that has a paragraph break (either with next week's portion continuing on the same line, or on the next line), there is only one-letter's spacing between the end of Vayigash and the start of Vayechi,

In other words (no pun intended), if one were to look in a torah, he would see the word me'od and then the next word would be Vayechi, immediately following.

I've seen a number of Sifrei Torah add some extra spacing before writing the word Vayechi. It is not that much spacing that it becomes to look like a parsha stumah (closed), but it also doesn't appear like it's immediately the next word, as is the writing of other words in a verse. It is as if the sofer intentionally wanted to add this extra spacing to make Vayechi stand out.

Is this technique alllowed - to intentionally add extra spacing when one shouldn't? In general, shouldn't a sofer aim to have uniform spacing between words throughout the entire Torah? When and how much leniency might be allowed in word spacing?

  • See OC 32:32 [15char] – Double AA Jan 9 '17 at 1:10
  • In response to R' Azarya Basis, Rav Moshe mentions that it is not a disqualifying break (pun intended) from tradition to put some more space between p'sukim than between words, as a visual aid to Torah readers (as opposed to an implicit claim about the correct version of the written Torah, which would come through by adding some notation and not just some extra space). He seems to take for granted that if the spacing just fell out as uneven for less deliberate reasons that that should be fine. Vol. 3 Yore De'a 117:1 – WAF Jan 19 '17 at 1:02
  • @WAF This sounds like an answer. If possible, please link R' Azarya's source. – DanF Jan 19 '17 at 16:12
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Technically, there should be no more space between מאד and ויחי than there is between ויחי and יעקב. However, this makes things difficult for בעלי קריאה so sofrim seem to have come up with a solution that remained outside of the halacha books. Old Sifrei Torah used to leave two spaces (yud's widths) at the end of each verse, as per רמ"א. We don't do that anymore, except for the beginning of ויחי.

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    Please link some sources to what you have stated. There's probably some detail, there, that I'd like to peruse. – DanF Jan 18 '17 at 16:25

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