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17 votes

Can a woman write a megillah?

There is a long list of decisors who permit a woman to write a Megillah R Eliezer Melamed, author of Peninei Halakha, (here, note 10) writes The Aĥaronim debate whether a woman may write a Megilla. ...
mbloch's user avatar
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12 votes
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Were scrolls ever written on both sides?

The Talmud (Shabbat 79b) prescribes specific sides of the hide to be used for writing (depending which parts of the hide are being used) and the majority opinion (YD 271:3) is that writing on the ...
Double AA's user avatar
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10 votes
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Has Paleo Hebrew (Ktav Ivri) Ever Been Found With Crowns?

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 ...
Gary's user avatar
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10 votes

If we have full copies of the Torah in an unchanged form (Dead Sea Scrolls), why don’t we revert our Torah scrolls back?

Halakhah does not assume that anything older is necessarily more precise despite the principle yeridat hadorot (ירידת הדורות), and this is scientifically not reasonable either. Assume you write an ...
Kazi bácsi's user avatar
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9 votes
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What was the material used to write the curses for the Sotah on?

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 ...
mbloch's user avatar
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9 votes

Thickening letters for tefillin and mezuzos

This is a known technique. It's generally considered invalid and called פנים חדשות. See Lishkat HaSofer 9:6: ונ"ל פשוט דאם לאחר שהעבה איזה אות מצד זה גרדו מצד השני ולא נשאר רק הכתב החדש הוי שלא ...
Double AA's user avatar
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9 votes

If we have full copies of the Torah in an unchanged form (Dead Sea Scrolls), why don’t we revert our Torah scrolls back?

There's been extensive scholarship on this, especially by Professor Schiffman. The "Qumranites" -- the group to whom these scrolls belonged -- did not follow the mainstream "Pharisee&...
Shalom's user avatar
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8 votes
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Can one add in missing words above the line in a Torah scroll?

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 ...
Double AA's user avatar
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8 votes

What are the symbols in the margins of the Aleppo codex?

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 ...
Kazi bácsi's user avatar
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7 votes

Could a Torah Scroll Be Writtin in Ktav Ivri (Paleo Hebrew)?

In Massechet Mezuzah 1:3, we read: שנה אותיותיה או שנכתבה עברית הרי זו פסולה. If you changed [a mezuzah]'s letters or it was written in k'tav ivri, it is pasul. [my transl.] The same can be found in ...
magicker72's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why is the final Heh in Ha'Shem's name different in K'thav Chabad/Alter-Rebbe?

Good eye! You're noticing a Kabbalistic practice called כתיבת השם בחילוק writing God's name by parts. I won't begin to pretend to understand it, but those who practice it write the different limbs of ...
Double AA's user avatar
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6 votes

What halachic sefarim do sofrim learn?

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 ...
Noach MiFrankfurt's user avatar
6 votes

What is the purpose of the "crowns" on top of the letters (tagin)?

In a responsum on the topic of the crowns (1:79 in the Machon Yerushalayim edition of Shu"t HaRambam) Rambam writes that the reason for the crowns is unknown. ואין ידוע טעם לזה ואי אפשר לכוללם בכלל
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes
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What is the source for writing names of Haman's sons in a separate column?

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 ...
Double AA's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why does one need to go to the mikvah before writing a letter in the Torah?

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 ...
mbloch's user avatar
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Elevated Ayin (ע) in Iyov 38:13 and 38:15

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 ...
Double AA's user avatar
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6 votes
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Tagin on letter Tet

Bnei Yissaschar, Kislev 2: עוד כתב הרב הקדוש הנ"ל תקנו ל"ו נרות כנגד האור הראשון ששימש לאדה"ר ל"ו שעות כמשארז"ל בפסיקתא וכתב עוד שעל אות ט' של וירא אלקים את האור כי טו"ב יש על הט' ד' תגין להורות ד' ...
DonielF's user avatar
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Is there ever a rule not to place certain words on separate lines in a Sefer Torah?

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: ...
Double AA's user avatar
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What is Sta"m ink made from?

See here where they the main ingredients as Water, Oak Gall Nut, Gum Arabic, Soot, Logwood, Copper Sulfate or Iron Sulfate. There are many recipes for this ink and many laws the Scribe must ...
NJM's user avatar
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Confusing Tes with Pei

Here are three ways this Gemara is understood in Rishonim. The Yereim argues that the problem is if you add the green segment, then the non-blue parts make up a Pei, and that's a problem even though ...
Double AA's user avatar
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5 votes

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

Kollel Eretz Hemda (a very respected halacha kollel in Jerusalem) answers a similar question in their responsa collection Ask the Rabbi vol. 2 (#69, p. 150). Their answer is that you should ask a rav ...
mbloch's user avatar
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5 votes
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Safrut in practice - Calculating Ma Tovu at the top of the column

Everyone nowadays uses a pre-printed layout of the whole Torah where whoever designed that PDF thought it through on the computer and made it work. Historically, you could copy from a Torah scroll ...
Double AA's user avatar
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4 votes

Shin on Tefilin - changed in Belz?

The following may shed some light on the question. In Ohr HaSafon (a Belzer magazine) vol. 143, p. 47 it relates the following: ואכן, ר' שמואל השיב כי ב'שטיבל' דחסידי בעלזא בעיר מגוריו באותם הימים ...
Deuteronomy's user avatar
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4 votes

Can a woman write a megillah?

This question is not explicitly addressed by the Rishonim. However, the Gemara equates a number of the laws of Megillah with those of a Sefer Torah, deriving each law from a separate verse (see ...
wfb's user avatar
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4 votes

Is there a ketivat ot for tefillin or mezuzot?

There is a distinct Mitzvah to write a Sefer Torah (specifically, mitzvah number 613). This can be accomplished by filling in a letter (as the Rambam in Mishneh Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzah and the Torah ...
Salmononius2's user avatar
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4 votes

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

1 - As @DoubleAA writes in the comments on the question, Sofrim write from a Tikun nowadays. These Tikun Sofrim were arranged by expert sofrim to conform with many rules, not just the ב*"ה שמ&...
פרי זהב's user avatar
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Can I see a list of the 18 Tikunei Sofrim (emendations of the scribes), with each described?

The following is a very incomplete answer because it has a list but not with each described. I hope somebody can post an answer with each one described. There is an article here https://blogs....
barlop's user avatar
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4 votes
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Seeking details on "teliyah", dangling missing words in a Sefer Torah

a) It was probably considered obvious, but you occasionally (eg. YD 273:6, 276:12) find incidental references to "למעלה above" which clarify that the intention is to hang the missing text ...
Double AA's user avatar
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Why is the Taz's position on tefillin parsha spacing controversial?

The Taz understands the Rambam you quoted to be saying the space at the end of the line and the beginning of the line combine into one gap. The other understanding of the Rambam (which for various ...
Double AA's user avatar
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