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23

This is a valid way of inserting missing words, as the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah in סימן רעו - דין תלית הדלוג Paskens: א: טָעָה וְדִלֵּג תֵּבָה אוֹ יוֹתֵר, יָכוֹל לִתְלוֹתָהּ בֵּין הַשִּׁיטִין אֲבָל לֹא בָּרֶוַח שֶׁבֵּין דַּף לְדַף.‏ If he erred and missed a word or more, he can hang it between the lines, but he may not put it in the space ...


15

R Eliezer Melamed, author of Peninei Halakha, (here, note 10) writes The Aĥaronim debate whether a woman may write a Megilla. Birkei Yosef, Mateh Yehuda, and Pri Megadim posit that since a woman must read the Megilla, she may write one. R. Akiva Eger, Avnei Nezer, and others maintain that she is invalidated from writing a megilla, just as ...


14

The Keset HaSofer, by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried, rules (6:4) that when multiple children disagree about the reading of a letter we follow the majority. I suppose if there are only 2 children, we wait עד שיבוא השלישי ויכריע ביניהם -- until a third one comes and resolves the contradiction.


14

The following information is recorded on the Mechon Mamre website: בתנ"כים שלנו יש גם סימני הפרשייות {פ} {ס} {ר} {ש} שהם מסמנים פרשה פתוחה, פרשה סתומה, סוף שורה בשירות מסויימות, ושורה ריקה (או שורות ריקות בסוף ספר).‏ My translation: In our Tanakhs there are also [the following] disjunctive symbols: פ,‎ ס,‎ ר,‎ ש, which stand for "...


14

Rabenu Tam (as cited in paragraph 6 of the Rosh's laws of sefer Tora) holds that ink made of gallnuts (which we use even in 'his' t'filin) is no good. Also, Rabenu Tam (as cited in Tosafos to M'nachos 33:1 s.v. "Ha daavida") holds the parchments must be lying flat in their case, and we put them upright (per SA OC 32:45), and even in 'his' t'filin.


11

The Tefillin of Rabbenu Tam were written by R' Zirkind, at the special request of R' Moshe. These tefillin were checked by my rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel Schneid, who told me that the tefillin were written in typical Russian Beis Yosef script. As any sofer experienced with Sifre Torah of the world will tell you, before 1948, each country and Edah had their unique ...


11

Rabbi Moshe Isserlis writes (YD 275:6) about various scribal traditions including large/small letters that אם שינה לא פסל - if [the scribe] deviated, he did not invalidate [the scroll]. Obviously if they can be fixed, one should do so to conform with the tradition.


9

Indeed, the Beit Yosef (OC 36) cites the Gemara you reference and claims that the ש should have a pointed base. The Peri Megadim (EA end of 32) is unsure if this is a necessary component of the letter. The Keset HaSofer (5:2:ש) implies it would be Kosher Bedieved, but one should be very careful to avoid a flat base. The Mishna Berura (Mishnat Sofrim ש) is ...


9

The Rambam writes in Hilchot Sotah 3:8 Afterwards, a scroll of parchment from a kosher animal, like the parchment used for a Torah scroll is brought. R Eliyahu Touger explains "the Jerusalem Talmud (Sotah 2:4) states that the parchment must be made from the hide of a kosher animal, lest the woman refuses to drink and the passage be required to be ...


8

In addition Rabeinu Tam holds (see Bais Yosef (3rd from top)) that the word Letotofos in the Parsha Vehaya Im Shomo'a is written without any Vov while we write it with a Vov after the first Tes even in Rabeinu Tam's Tefillin.


8

There are two special layouts for songs - half-brick over brick, and half-brick over half-brick. The half-brick over brick is triumphant and good. The half-brick over half-brick is bad - bury the sons of Haman or the sins of the Jews. Megillah 16b that you reference says: ‫אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דרש ר' שילא איש כפר תמרתא כל השירות כולן נכתבות אריח ...


8

If the Nun's were not inverted but were left as regular letters, it is kosher bdieved. Source: Sefer Keses Hasofer (Mahadura Tinyana), Chakira 17 (s.v. v'hinei hageonum) citing Noda Beyhudah and others (Sefer Keses Hasofer is the classic source for Hilchos Stam by Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, the author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and is probably the standard ...


8

In short, none have been found so far. The earliest Ktav Ivri amulets found are the two Ketef Hinnom silver amulets from late First Temple days. A good description of them with pictures showing no taggin is here. Taggin are not written any of the Ktav Ivri Dead Sea Scrolls(4qPaleo-XXXX, 11QPaleo-Leviticus, etc). A good picture of 11QPaleoleviticus is ...


7

I discovered that the מגילת אסתר of the תורה שלֵמה has some answers: For פרמשתא, citing מדרש רבי עקיבא בן יוסף על אותיות קטנות:‎ פרמשתא, ש׳ ת׳ של פרמשתא קטנה, הסר פ׳ ור׳ וישאר שמתא.‏ This one is hard to translate and explain. So I'll leave it as is. For ויזתא: The Gemara in Megila (16b) says in the name of Rav Yochanan - the Vav of ויזתא needs ...


7

As noted in another answer of mine: Tzitz Eliezer 14:3:4 permits post facto even Sta"m that was written with a mix of Vellish and Ashkenazi. Igrot Moshe OC 5:2 also permits other forms of writing but he is quick to point out that it is better to stick to one's custom on the matter.


7

Standard Sifrei Torah today have 42 lines in each column. While there are different opinions how many lines a Sefer Torah should be (See Keses Hasofer 13:6), this has not developed solwly out of Halacha. There's a good article about how this came to be here Until some 30 years ago, Sofrim didn't really have a good tikkun to copy from. They either used ...


7

There are two factors determining the start of columns in sifrei torah: Halacha requires that certain words be at the top of the column. The acronym for these words is בי"ה שמו, the mem of which is מה טובו as you noted. Despite the best efforts of earlier poskim including Keset Hasofer, it is traditional for all other columns to begin with the letter ...


7

I just saw your question and wanted to let you know there is an online safrut course starting on November 15th. All the information can be found here: http://mastery.webyeshiva.org/safrut-certification/


7

Keset HaSofer, by R Shlomo Ganzfried, discusses the laws of writing as a Sofer STaM. Topics include: how to make Kosher parchment, shapes of the letters, intent when writing, what sorts of corrections are permitted, prohibition of erasing God's name (among other things). Online at Hebrewbooks.org here. Minchat Shai, by R Yedidya Nortzi, discusses the ...


7

Shulchan Arukh YD 276:1 טעה ודילג תיבה או יותר -- יכול לתלותה בין השיטין אבל לא בריוח שבין דף לדף:‏ [If a scribe] erred and skipped a word or more -- he can hang it between the lines but not in the space between the columns. Seems like you guys basically figured this one out. It looks like the scribe accidentally skipped a line, and since he couldn'...


6

(Note that not every m'gila has a pole at one end. Some do, though, as you note. See Mishna B'rura 691:16.) Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chayim 691:7) explains: A sefer Tora (Torah scroll) requires two poles because we read from it constantly; for n'viim and k'suvim one pole suffices. I suspect the intent is that a sefer Tora needs the greater stability that ...


6

From personal experience, here's what the Sofer thinks about, while writing: It's Lishma - and watch out for names of Hashem that need individual attention to become Lishma. Don't smudge, it's wet ink all around! Is there enough ink to finish the word? Don't drip when refilling the quill. Double check that you didn't overfill and risk a flood. Don't miss ...


6

The sefer Piskei Teshuvos (OC 32:12-13) writes that l'chatchila one should not write anything on the margins (or anywhere else) of the sefer torah. If one did write something, even a sofer marking a mistake, he should erase it. However, as he writes there, b'dieved it would not be a problem.


6

When I started studying hilchot safrut, I was told to use the Kesset haSofer (by R' Schlomo Ganzfried ע"ה) with R' Ya'akov Stern's Mishnat haSofer. It can be purchased here. From others, I have gleaned that while the above contains all that you need to know, the following sefarim are good to study as well: Rambam: Hilchot Tefillin (from the Mishneh Torah)...


6

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Megillah 3:7) says about the list that the word איש should be at the "head" of the column and ואת should be at the "end" of it. Some versions (see Masekhet Sofrim 13:6) also mention that עשרת should be at the "end" of the column. The remarks about איש and עשרת are important because we may have thought the song structure didn't include ...


6

The marginal notes you are referring to are called the masorah, in particular the masorah parva (small or inner masorah). These mostly mark rare words or ketiv qerei pairs. The other two types are the masorah magna (big or outer) on the top and bottom of the pages, mainly with links to these rare occurrences. The last one is the masorah finalis (final) with ...


6

As @DoubleAA wrote in the comments, this is not halacha, but a minhag brought by some, e.g., from here #2 "Ritual immersion on a regular basis (not just because of the decree of Ezra) is fitting for a sofer" (Chida) And: It is fitting to be particular about this matter (Aruch HaShulchan; Kesset HaSofer). R Reuvain Mendlowitz in his book ...


6

Talmud Sanhedrin 103b אמר ר"ש בן לקיש מאי דכתיב (איוב לח, טו) וימנע מרשעים אורם וזרוע רמה תשבר מפני מה עי"ן של רשעים תלויה כיון שנעשה אדם רש מלמטה נעשה רש מלמעלה ולא נכתביה כלל ר' יוחנן ור"א חד אמר מפני כבודו של דוד וחד אמר משום כבודו של נחמיה בן חכליה Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And He will withhold ...


6

Yes, that custom still exists. The most famous example is the toponym בית-אל. The Arukh HaShulchan (YD 275:24) lists the following examples, though surely there are some variant customs out there: תובל קין, בית אל, ומלכי צדק, באר שבע, בן אוני, בעל חנן, צפנת פענח, פוטי פרע, את והב, משומו אל, וחרה אף, וחרה אפי, כס יה .


5

In the vast majority of cases, Torah scrolls are written by Orthodox sofrim. Though there are ideological/halakhic reasons for this in some cases, the main reason is simple market share. Most of the people who have dedicated their lives to writing Torah scrolls are Orthodox. This is the same reason that most kosher meat is slaughtered by Orthodox shochtim ...


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