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Is there any halachical problem with laser printing of divre tora/sheimos?

Because the image of the to-be-printed page appears on the drum, and

  1. transferring the toner on the paper hence "erases" the image from the drum, or
  2. subsequent printings could erase previous image residue, especially when the printing process was interrupted.

As suggested, here is a rough description of the process.

  1. An electrostatically-coated cylinder (the "drum") is charged with electricity.
  2. A laser light ranges over the drum surface, while its intensity modulated opposite to ink intensity on the image (low intensity at the letters' place). In other words, the document is projected onto the drum via laser light.
  3. The more light hits a point, the more the electrostatic charge drops here.
  4. Toner powder is thrown on the drum, more attaching where the charge is still high.
  5. At this instant, we can see the document "drawn" in powder onto the drum.
  6. Paper sheet is connected to an electric potential, while inserted under the drum, thus attracting the powder.
  7. Paper passes under a heater, the fuser, that fixes the powder on the paper (toner is powder of plastic).
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    If it's transferred, why do you call it erased? Deletion or destruction means that the letters are destructed by themselves. BTW laser printing is not true writing and hence is much more lenient. Also, I heard of no Rabbi in Jerusalem to raise this fear. – Al Berko Jan 25 at 14:35
  • @AlBerko 1) interesting. 2) What do you mean by "not true writing"? What's the difference between writing w/ ink or w/ toner? 3) Indeed there are many sefarm printed by laser... – yO_ Jan 25 at 15:07
  • This is an interesting question. However, perhaps, a brief scientific explanation of how the image is transferred may be useful. My understanding is that the image is "built and fused". Briefly, does the toner place the full image on the drum and then the image is "stamped" on the paper? This is different from an ink-jet printer which prints the image on a pixel basis, so the full image is not there to start. – DanF Jan 25 at 15:49
  • Writing (the original) means full letter by letter, not a row of dots by another row. So technically laser printing is a bunch of dots that makes the letters and words only in our imagination, not on the paper! Just like the letters on the computer screen. It is different from press printing that imprints the whole page of letters at once. Therefore the laser printing does not have Keddusha, it's only מראית עין not to desecrate it. – Al Berko Jan 26 at 16:58
  • It sounds like the powder is held in place on the drum only due to the electric charge. Without electricity, it would disperse. If this is so, then the writing has no permanence in the first place, and cannot be considered writing. – shmu Jan 31 at 18:43
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Writing (the original) means making full letter by letter. Laser printing does it by printing a row of dots after another row. Therefore when the paper jams you can see the only upper half of letters.

So technically laser printing is a bunch of dots that makes the letters and words only in our imagination, not on the paper, Just like the letters on the computer screen. It is different from press printing that imprints the whole page of letters at once.

Therefore the laser printing does not have Keddusha, it's only מראית עין not to desecrate it.

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    But these dots of toner are fused and glued together into full-body letters on paper... – yO_ Jan 31 at 18:14
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    If the human eye cannot discern the spaces between the dots, then Halachically, they don't count. – shmu Jan 31 at 20:10
  • @shmu It's not the form of the letters, it's the way the letters are created - the whole line is written from up to bottom, that is not "writing"! – Al Berko Jan 31 at 22:08
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    @AlBerko You are assuming the the prohibition on erasing only applies if the divrei torah were created by an ACT of writing. But it makes more sense to say that the prohibition applies to the RESULT of writing, which in this case is identical. – shmu Feb 1 at 5:24
  • @shmu Deorayso of course, Derabanan it's only מראית עין, like deleting names on a computer screen. Because the drum is not seen it's not a prohibition at all. – Al Berko Feb 1 at 8:34

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