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Questions tagged [safrus]

Ritual scribal work relating to the writing of holy texts

15
votes
2answers
494 views

Are Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin really Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin?

I once heard from a Sofer the shocking revelation that Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin do not actually follow Rabbeinu Tam's opinion. Is that correct? Did I misunderstand? Are there any Soferim in our ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

What does the /shin/ marker (like Petucha/Setuma) at the end of Torah books mean?

I've been reading about details of Torah sofrut, and after learning about the paragraph markers peh / פ (petucha) and samekh / ס (setuma), I noticed some similarly placed shin markers (mostly at the ...
12
votes
1answer
122 views

STa"M on which children disagree

There is a halacha that if one is unsure if certain letters of STa"M (Sefer Torah/Tefillin/Mezuza) are of the right length, one can ask a child. What happens if there was a doubt in a letter in a ...
10
votes
3answers
859 views

Did Rabbi Dovid Feinstein of Uzda wear tefilin that were Ktav Ari or Ktav Beit Yosef? What about his son?

The biographical sketch of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein that appears in the beginning of Igrot Moshe volume 8 states that his father, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein of Uzda, was born and raised Hassidic, but took on ...
10
votes
2answers
319 views

Can a woman write a megillah?

I know that a woman can't write a sefer torah. What about Megillat Esther? If a female soferet wrote a Megillah Esther, would it be kosher?
10
votes
2answers
393 views

May one write with a pencil or marker in the margins of a sefer Torah?

As a Ba'al Kri'ah (Torah reader), I sometimes find it difficult to locate the start of an aliyah (reading) on Shabbat, esp. in parshiot Vayetze and Miketz where both of these are one contiguous parsha ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Is this a mistake in a Torah scroll or intended decoration?

In the following pictures, is the superscript addition a correction or intended decoration? Are corrections like this kosher?
9
votes
1answer
243 views

If the “Nun” preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

While reading last week's parsha, I noticed that the letter "nun" immediately preceding the verse Vayehi B'nso'ah ha'aron Bamidbar 10:35 was written as regular nun (tagin on top) rather than upside ...
9
votes
1answer
410 views

Can an Ashkenazi write a Sephardi Torah?

If an Ashkenazi Sofer writes a Sefer Torah in the Sephardi or Yemenite tradition: a) has he fulfilled his obligation of writing a Sefer Torah (thanks, Double AA!), and b) since a Sefer Torah must be ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

When and how did Chet get its STaM easy-to-differentiate-from-Hay form?

I have been looking at photos of old (pre-1300'sCE) Torah scroll fragments, most notably the Song of The Sea pictures of the 700-800CE Ashkar-Gilson fragment and the 1150-1225CE Bologna complete ...
8
votes
2answers
308 views

What is the reason for “stretched” letters in the Torah?

I noticed that in many Sifrei Torah, Sofrim prefer to "stretch" certain letters. It seems that these letters are stretched to end a line if there wouldn't be enough space to start a new word. That's ...
8
votes
2answers
154 views

Why do a sefer Torah's letters have to be black?

My son asked why the letters have to be black, considering there are lots of other colors out there.
8
votes
1answer
256 views

Can a section of the Torah having the same words be “cut and pasted” to a different section?

While reading parshat Naso last week, it was easy to notice that near the end of the reading, there is a large section discussing the donations made by the 12 tribes for the dedication of the ...
7
votes
2answers
92 views

Safrut in practice - Calculating Ma Tovu at the top of the column

I think this question might be best answered by a professional sofer or someone who has written a Torah even once. There is a fairly "strong" minhag to place the verse of Ma Tovu at the top of the ...
7
votes
2answers
93 views

Tagin on letter Tet

Shalom! I recently read that in Genesis 1:4, the word Tov is used for the first time and when written in Hebrew, the Tet is crowned with 4 tagin instead of the usual 3. I have been searching for ...
7
votes
1answer
76 views

Why is there no mitzvah for an individual to write his own mezuzah?

Ramba"m states that there is a mitzvah for every individual to write his own Torah. This mitzvah can be accomplished by writing one letter. Why is there no mitvah for writing a mezuza. It seems that ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

Figuring out where Torah scrolls come from

Lets say a synagogue has inherited a lot of Torah scrolls, but doesn't know where many of them come from. How would they go about determining from which countries these scrolls hail from? Are there ...
7
votes
1answer
265 views

Learning the shapes of the letters as a Baal Koreh

I would have thought that the shapes of the letters would be a good thing for Baal Koreh to know, but I was told that since Sefrie Torah are not invalidated until they are declared as such, this would ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Sofer wearing a special robe

In the book “Israel: Splendors of the Holy Land” by Sara Kochav, there is a picture of a sofer (Torah scibe). The image describtion claims that the sofer needs to wear a special robe, as depicted in ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a standard format for the start of each column in writing Sifrei Torah?

When I looked at a few Tikunei Lakor'im, they seem to follow what appears to be a standard where certain words begin at the top of a column. I did see several Sifrei Torah that seem to follow this ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

I have a Torah in my shul that does not have any large or small letters where required (e.g. - the 1st letter in the Torah, "Breishit", is written larger than the rest.) Is this Torah still considered ...
6
votes
2answers
505 views

Composition of Sofer's ink

What ingredients are currently used in the manufacture of ink for Safrus? Is there a different formulation for the paint that is used to dye tefillin straps/boxes?
6
votes
1answer
209 views

Has Paleo Hebrew (Ktav Ivri) Ever Been Found With Crowns?

Has Paleo Hebrew (Ktav Ivri) Ever Been Found With Crowns? Whether we are talking about ancient scrolls, or amulets, or any type of ancient Hebrew writing.
6
votes
2answers
424 views

What to do if you don't want a Torah written with a turkey feather?

Modern Ashkenazi Torahs are often (at least in part) written with turkey feathers. Not always - there are plenty of other quills that are acceptable (and reeds, plastic, and most say metal, among ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Must the spacing between words in a written Torah be consistent?

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the Real Alter Rebbe Ksav?

There is a tradition that the Alter Rebbe (R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi) innovated a new Ksav (not the one in the Shulchan Aruch Harav) and taught it to sofrim who passed it on from teacher to student. ...
6
votes
0answers
137 views

When does a Sefer Torah become a Sefer Torah?

According to this site, there is practice to accord to a Sefer Torah certain separateness and to refrain from touching it. On this page, there is a picture of a scribe who is writing the text and it ...
6
votes
0answers
74 views

Source for the Beit Yosef's צ

In most forms of k'tav stam (Sephardi, Ari, Jeckisch, et c.) the righthand yud of the letter צ is reversed (see fig. 1). On the other hand, the Beit Yosef's צ uses a regular י shape in the righthand ...
6
votes
0answers
182 views

Shin on Tefilin - changed in Belz?

I recently heard that in Belz they changed the Shin on the Tefilin Shel Rosh due to an old pair that was found that the Rebbi believed to be the true Mesorah. Is this true? How does the new Shin ...
5
votes
2answers
411 views

Is a Sfardi ש incorrect according to this Gemara?

In Masechet Shabbat 104a, it talks about the shapes of the letters, and meaning behind it. One thing it says is: ומאי טעמא שיקרא אחדא כרעיה קאי ואמת מלבן לבוניה? And what is the reason that [...
5
votes
3answers
443 views

Why does a Torah have 2 poles and a Megillah have 1?

A Torah scroll is a very long piece of parchement with two poles ("atzei chayim") at either end, while a Megillat Esther is a not-as-long piece of parchment with one pole at the end of the book. ...
5
votes
1answer
730 views

Why are some letters in the names of Haman's sons little?

In Esther 9:7,9 there are letters in the names of Haman's sons which are written smaller than usual in the megillah. Barring the purimfest 1946 explanation, what is the reason for these letters being ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Why does one need to go to the mikvah before writing a letter in the Torah?

My cousin is writing a new Torah. He requested that anyone who wishes to write a letter in the Torah must have gone to the mikvah that day. Is this halacha or minhag? The sources that I saw that ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

What halachic sefarim do sofrim learn?

I was told by one of my Roshei Yeshiva that there are books that are designated for sofrim (scribes). Does anyone know what are the main books they use to review the Halachot and as reference for ...
5
votes
1answer
401 views

If the signatures of the witnesses and names filled in on a kesuva fade is it still kosher?

If the signatures of the witnesses and names filled in on a kesuva fade is it still kosher? What if it is to the point that one can’t read anything anymore? Can this be corrected?
5
votes
2answers
199 views

May one use mezuzot with different scripts in the same house?

May one use mezuzot with different scripts in the same house? For example can the muzuzah in one room be ashkenaz (beit yosef) and in another be sefardi (vellish)?
5
votes
1answer
327 views

What is Sta"m ink made from?

I have several questions related to Sta"m (Torah, mezuzot tefillin) ink: What materials are allowable? What materials are typically used to make the ink? Why these materials, specifically? (cheaper, ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Correcting a Torah with a marker

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
177 views

Is there an online resource that gives an “overview” of safrut?

Between Mincha and Ma'ariv on Shmini Atzeret, I'd like to give a short shiur on some interesting facts about how a Torah is written. I'm looking for some fairly easy to understand online resources on ...
5
votes
0answers
79 views

Criteria for special formats of some chapters in the Tanach Scrolls

Usually, when writing verses in Tanach Scrolls, words are written across the column from the right margin to the left (except, of course, for required Parsha spacing.) I have seen two "special" ...
5
votes
3answers
126 views

Sefer about the writing of Neviim and Megillos

What sefer discusses the details pertaining to the writing of Nevi'im and Megillos (i.e., how the paragraphs are broken up, where there are "special letters", etc.)?
4
votes
1answer
41 views

What was the material used to write the curses for the Sotah on?

וְ֠כָתַב אֶת־הָאָלֹ֥ת הָאֵ֛לֶּה הַכֹּהֵ֖ן בַּסֵּ֑פֶר וּמָחָ֖ה אֶל־מֵ֥י הַמָּרִֽים׃ The priest shall put these curses down in writing and rub it off into the water of bitterness. (Bamidbar 5:23) I ...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

Elevated Ayin (ע) in Iyov 38:13 and 38:15

I noticed this in Iyov 38:13,15: יג לֶאֱחֹז, בְּכַנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ; וְיִנָּעֲרוּ רְשָׁעִים מִמֶּנָּה.‏ טו וְיִמָּנַע מֵרְשָׁעִים אוֹרָם; וּזְרוֹעַ רָמָה, תִּשָּׁבֵר.‏ I know about ...
4
votes
2answers
613 views

What scribes' Torah scrolls does a non-Orthodox synagogue use?

There are rules, codified in Shulchan Aruch, about how to write a sefer Tora, Torah scroll. An Orthodox congregation's sefer Tora is written in the prescribed manner by an Orthodox sofer — ...
4
votes
1answer
189 views

Why are newer tefillin matte, while older ones are shiny

I have noticed that older tefillin — those manufactured a while ago — are typically shiny, whereas newer ones are typically matte. Is there any reason for this?
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Why does the number of letters Vav in name Achashverosh vary?

Why does Megillas Esther spell Achashverosh's name varyingly with one (as in 2:21), two (as in 1:1), and zero (as in 10:1) letters Vav?
4
votes
0answers
87 views

Tikkun Sofrim for Nach

Is there a mainstream (or popular) Tikkun Sofrim used for the layout of complete Sifrei Nevi’im (and K’suvim)? Notes: In the recent years, there seems to be a great uniformity in the way sofrim write ...
4
votes
0answers
65 views

Mamzerim and Sifrei Torah

In the Keset haSofer (1:ד) R' Ganzfried mentions that some hold that a Torah written by a mamzer is passul. In the Lishkat haSofer (ad loc.) he brings that most hold that there is no problem for a ...
3
votes
3answers
144 views

Confusing Tes with Pei

The Gemara (Shabbos 103a) gives a list of letters that should be written very carefully to avoid being mixed up with other letters: "וכתבתם שתהא כתיבה תמה שלא יכתוב אלפין עיינין עיינין אלפין ביתין ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Can one add in missing words above the line in a Torah scroll? [duplicate]

One of the Torah's in my shul has this interesting safrut style. Note that the last word of the verse appears between the lines. It seems that the Sofer (scribe) ran out of room, and stuck in the last ...