About a month ago, a sofer corrected a mistake in one of our shul's Torah scrolls.

I found the mistake while reading the end of parshat Masei. There was an incorrect letter that changed the meaning of the word. The letter should have been a taf but was actually written as a heh. To make the correction, a sofer just needs to draw a line between the top of the heh and the bottom and it becomes a taf.

When the sofer came, he corrected it using a marker. (Yes, it had sta"m ink.) I didn't have time to ask the sofer about the halachot of using a marker. I understoof that Torah scrolls need to be written using a quill / reed.

Is the halacha more lenient when making a correction in that one may use a marker for corrections? Are there certain types of corrections that allow using a marker? For example, can it be used only when correcting a wrong letter such as I described above, or can one use a marker even if he has to erase a letter and write a new one? What if he has to add a missing letter?

  • 2
    The Rama (YD 271:7) says explicitly you shouldn't use a feather/quill. Where did you hear that a Torah needs a feather/quill??
    – Double AA
    Oct 23, 2017 at 19:54
  • @DoubleAA I've seen every sofer use a quill. I'll look at your source.
    – DanF
    Oct 23, 2017 at 19:56
  • The traditional implement is actually a reed (that's what the Greek word "kulmus/kulmi" means as well as the Arabic cognate Qalam). The Talmud in a number of places praises reeds for having been chosen to write Torahs with (eg. Taanit 20b). I don't know much about the physics of ink flow in markers, but their's certainly no reason to use a bird feather/quill (other than perhaps convenience).
    – Double AA
    Oct 23, 2017 at 19:58
  • I have a reason to believe that if he used marker it was kosher and "okeyd" marker :) For example people still think that Mezuzot are written with quill :) Oct 23, 2017 at 22:50
  • According to this the Rema says "some say" don't use a feather, and others mentioned there say it's because a feather quill engraves. (I haven't seen the original Rema; I'm just reporting what I found while looking for more on the subject.) Oct 24, 2017 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


The Gemara ( Taanis 20a) mentions that the reed was rewarded - because it's pliable and "easy going" and is used for writing a Sefer Torah.

I've seen people do that. (Sefardim, as a matter of fact)

However, as the R' Ganzfried writes in Keset haSofer (2:16), this causes very uneven writing, as the reed needs to be sharpened every few words.

So - he writes in the footnote - we write with a quill or metal pen which can last forever. (I once wrote the entire Sefer Devarim without sharpening it.)

Nowadays metal quills are all the rage - though some people prefer not to write the Book of Life using metal, the material of death. (Can't find a source for that right now).

Bottom line: There's no Halachic why reason not to use a marker when writing or correcting a Sefer Torah. (You may have the metal issue, but that's a not Halachic, per se.)

  • 1
    All your discussion is about the material of the nib. None of it indicates that a marker, which is a wholly different physical delivery system for ink, would be valid.
    – Double AA
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:23
  • @Double AA can you explain why the nib would have to be rigid and not soft? or some other parameter for the "delivery system" required?
    – Hershy S.
    Jan 23, 2018 at 2:24
  • @heshy I don't have a good answer to that, but a lot of people seem to think there are requirements and therefore invalidate silk screening for Torahs. How is a marker different from a silk screen? I don't know much about the physics of ink flow through the felt tip but I'm guessing it's a fine mesh and pressure on contact pulls ink through using some sort of cohesion. A reed pen on the other hand just works on gravity breaking the adhesion to the read as you split the tip
    – Double AA
    Jan 23, 2018 at 3:46
  • @DoubleAA i understood that silk screen is more a problem of lishma, not applicator. the question would be the same if you found a way to use a solid applicator. correct me if i am wrong
    – Hershy S.
    Jan 24, 2018 at 2:58
  • @heshy what could possibly be wrong with the Lishmah? The guy says aloud before he writes 'i am writing this for the sake of a Torah scroll' just like any other Sofer does.
    – Double AA
    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:02

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