Is that Letter Kosher or Pasul?

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by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

Because of the proliferation of back yard minyanim, numerous shailos come up about the kashrus of different letters in the private sifrei Torah that are used.  There is almost nothing available online for someone to check in an emergency.

I have written a sefer called Mezuzah a Comprehensive Guide with a section in the back about each letter.  It is available on Amazon.  It has haskamos from Moreinu Rav Yisroel Belsky zt”l, Rav Aryeh Schechter a leading Sofer, Rav Dovid Kviat zt”l, Dayan Roth, and Rav Scheinberg zt”l.  Apologies for not including the pictures.

The following is what to look for when checking each of the letters of a sefer Torah. We shall go through each letter and discuss what constitutes an invalid letter, under what circumstances it is permissible to correct, and other applicable Halachos[1].

In this section the letters (and consequently the Mezuzah) are described as either invalid, valid, or the issue must be resolved by showing the letter to a child.  This is called Sheailas tinok.  [There is also a fourth category where one must show the letter to a halachic decisor. This is called Sheailas chochom.]

 

The source of the law that certain types of letters must be shown to a child is from a passage in the Talmud (Menachos 29b):

 

Raami the son of Tamri had a vov in the word Vayaharog that broke. He came before Rabbi Zeira. (Rabbi Zeira) told him: “Go bring[2] a child that is neither very bright nor stupid. If he reads it as vayaharog then it is kosher. If he reads it as yeyareg it is invalid.”

 

From this section of the Talmud we can derive a number of insights. The child that is asked to read the letter must be proficient in identifying the letters and in reading it properly. Yet the child should not be intelligent or mature enough to be able to decipher the letter using contextual clues[3]. It is to this type of child to which the Halachos below refer.

 

If the child does not recognize the letter immediately, but only recognized it after contemplating it, we view the situation as if the child was never asked and the question should be presented to a different child[4]. One may rely upon a majority of Tinokos as well[5].

 

When the letter is shown to the child one should cover the letters that precede and follow the letter in question[6]. When the letters can only be identified in relation to the other letters such as a vov being to short or a zayin may look like an Final nun, the letters re not covered[7].

 

Some Halachos to Know:

 

  • Rishumo nikar– If a letter was erased but its outline is discernable to the extent that a child can still identify it, the Mezuzah is still valid[8].
  • A discolored letter- If the blackink came off a letter and what is left has a reddish hue, this is considered a change in the letter’s appearance and the Mezuzah is invalid[9]. However, if the color of the ink merely changed because of age, the Mezuzah is still perfectly valid[10]. Also, if even some of the black remains, the Mezuzah is still valid[11].
  • If the Mezuzah became water-damagedand stains appear on the Mezuzah that do not affect the appearance of the letters – the Mezuzah is still valid[12].
  • If the crackcannot be detected by the naked eye and can only be seen by putting it against the sun, it is still considered kosher[13].

 

 

Corrections:

 

There are a number of psulim, errors, that may be corrected in an otherwise invalid Mezuzah[14]. These corrections should only be initiated by a competent sofer. One must also realize that if the sofer made these errors at the outset, his knowledge and ability to adhere to the other complexities of writing a Mezuzah may be called into question.

 

The letters in the next section describe the letter forms of the Bais Yoseph. Please note that the pictures included may not be accurate and do not always follow the directions in the text.

 

Aleph

 

An aleph has three parts, they are the upper yud, the lower yud, and the body known as the guf. If the upper or lower yud is disconnected from the body, even though a child identifies the letter properly, the Mezuzah is no longer valid[15]. If the child can identify the letter properly, however, the Mezuzah may be repaired and there is no problem of shelo kesidran, writing the letters out of order[16]. This is only regarding this paragraph and not necessarily those that follow.

 

 

If the body itself is split in half the Mezuzah is invalid[17].

 

If either the upper yud or the lower yud is fully touching the body to the extent that it is not recognized as a yud the aleph is invalid[18]. This letter may not be repaired even if a child can read the letter properly[19].

 

If either the upper yud or lower yud is touching the body, even if it is still recognized as a yud, it is invalid[20]. There may be situations where this can be repaired.

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[21].

 

Bais

The Bais has three parts to it, the gag, the basis and the aikev. The gag is the horizontal upper line, known as the roof. The basis is the horizontal line on the bottom known as the foundation. The aikev is small line sticking outward known as the heel. The gag and the basis are connected with a straight line downward.

 

If the gag and the basis are disconnected the Mezuzah is invalid[22].

 

If the lower right side of the basis is rounded the Mezuzah is invalid[23].

 

If the bais is missing an Aikev the Mezuzah is still kosher[24]. This is only if the bottom corner is still square[25].

 

If the Bais is rounded on the upper right gag the Mezuzah is kosher. This is, in fact, the manner in which Sephardim form a Bais[26]. However, since some authorities[27] are in doubt as to whether this Bais is kosher for Ashkenazi Jews, an Ashkenazi Jew should ideally not purchase a Sephardic Mezuzah[28]. If no other Mezuzah is available he may purchase it. However, he should not delay his affixing of the Mezuzah on this account. If possible, he should recite the blessing on an Ashkenazi Mezuzah. If this is not possible an Ashkenazi Jew may recite a blessing on a Sephardic Mezuzah and vice versa.

 

If part of the gag or the basis is split, then a child should be asked to identify the letter[29]. If one wishes the letter to be kosher without repair, then the disconnected parts must be covered when the child is consulted. If the child identifies it as a nun or any letter other than a bais the Mezuzah is invalid. If he correctly identifies the letter, then it is kosher even without a repair, if what was left over in the kosher gag or basis is significantly more than the length of a kulmus. If it is less than a kulmus and the child identifies the letter, the letter may be repaired, but it may not be used without the repair[30].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[31].

 

 Gimel

 

There are four parts to the Gimel. The tagim, the rosh, the regel and the yerech. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. The rosh is the top of the letter. The regel is the foot slanting to the right. The yerech is the extension on the left starting at the middle of the regel. The regel starts from the lower middle of the rosh.

 

If the regel and the yerech are stuck together entirely and the gimel now looks like a nun the Mezuzah is invalid[32].

 

If the rosh is disconnected from the rest of the letter the Mezuzah is invalid[33].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[34]. Ideally, it should be fixed[35]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[36]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[37].

 

If the regel starts at the side of the rosh instead of the lower middle the Mezuzah is still kosher[38].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[39].

 

Dalet

 

There are three parts to the dalet: The gag, the aikev, and the regel. The gag is the roof or the top of the dalet. The aikev is the right side of this top line. The regel is the foot that extends downward and slants to the right.

 

If the regel is detached from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[40].

 

If the regel is split in half but still has a portion (the size of a yud) attached to the gag the Mezuzah is still valid[41].

 

If part of the gag is split, then a child should be asked to identify the letter[42]. If one wishes the letter to be kosher without repair, then the disconnected parts must be covered when the child is consulted. If the child identifies it as a zayin or any letter other than a dalet the Mezuzah is invalid. If he correctly identifies the letter, then it is kosher even without a repair, if what was left over in the kosher gag is significantly more than the length of a kulmus. If it is less than a kulmus and the child identifies the letter, the letter may be repaired, but it may not be used without the repair[43].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[44].

 

Hay

 

The Hay has four parts to it: The gag, the aikev, the regel, and the nekudah. The gag is the roof or the top of the hay. The aikev is the right side of this top line. The regel is the foot that extends downward. The nekudah is the dot or upside down yud that appears in the lower left corner of the letter

 

If the regel is detached from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[45].

 

If the regel is split in half but still has a portion (the size of a yud) attached to the gag the Mezuzah is still valid[46].

 

If the nekudah has lost its shape as a yud but still has some thickness and it is parallel to the end of the regel the Mezuzah is still valid[47].

 

If part of the gag is split, then a child should be asked to identify the letter[48]. If one wishes the letter to be kosher without repair, then the disconnected parts must be covered when the child is consulted. Regarding the nekudah, everything to the left of the split must be covered as well. (If there is no part of the nekudah to the right of the split, the letter is invalid.) If the child identifies it as a zayin or any letter other than a hay, the Mezuzah is invalid. If he correctly identifies the letter, then it is kosher even without a repair.

 

If the yud of the nekudah is not parallel to the bottom of the regel the letter must be shown to a child. If the child cannot identify the letter the Mezuzah is invalid.

 

If the yud of the nekudah is touching the gag the letter is invalid.[49].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[50].

 

 

Vov

 

There are two parts to the vov: the rosh and the regel. The rosh is the top and the regel is the foot that extends down from the right side of the rosh.

 

The regel or foot should be wider toward the top and should taper down to a point at the bottom.

 

The rosh should be equal to the width of a kulmus – quill[51]. If the rosh is too long and is equal to the length of its regel, the Mezuzah is invalid[52]. If it is long, causing the letter to possibly resembly a raish, then it must be shown to a child[53].

 

The right side of the vov’s rosh should be rounded. However, if it is straight instead of curved, the Mezuzah is still valid[54]. It should not come to a zavis chada, a sharp protruding corner[55].

 

If part of the regel is split in half the section that is not attached to the rosh must be covered and shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a yud or another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[56].

 

If the regel is very long the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as an Final nun or another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[57].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[58].

 

 

Zayin

The Zayin has three parts: The Tagim, the rosh and the regel. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. The rosh is the top and the regel is the foot that extends down from the bottom middle of the rosh.

 

The rosh should be pointed on all of its four sides[59].

 

The regel should extend down from the middle of the rosh. As it goes down it should become wider until it reaches the halfway point. After the regel reaches the halfway point it now becomes thinner until it reaches a point at the bottom[60].

 

If the regel is detached from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[61].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[62]. Ideally, it should be fixed[63]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[64]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[65].

 

If the regel is disconnected from the rosh the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah may be repaired. If the child identifies it as a yud or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[66].

 

Similarly, if the regel is very close to the right side of the rosh, one must cover the Tagim, and the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a vov or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[67].

 

Similarly, if the regel is extremely long the letter is invalid. If it is longer than to quill-lengths, then it must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as an Final nun or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[68].

 

Similarly, if the rosh is too long toward the left the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a dalet or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[69].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[70].

 

 

Ches

 

There are five parts to the ches: the two gags, the right regel the left regel and the chatoteres. The gag is at the top of each regel. The gags are connected to each other with an upside down v called a chatoteres[71]. The right side of the chatoteres is thicker than the left side.

 

If the chatoteres is broken and it appears as if there are two zayins, the Mezuzah is invalid[72].

 

If either the left regel or the right regel is disconnected from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[73].

 

If the ches is written without a chatoteres but with one gag stretching across entirely – similar to a ches in regular print, the Mezuzah is still valid[74]. This is the way Sephardim fashion a ches. Indeed, Ashkenazi Jews use this type of ches when writing a get (a Jewish divorce document).

 

If either the left or the right regel and the gag above it appear as a vov instead of as a zayin the Mezuzah is still valid[75].

 

If either the left or the right regel and the gag above it appear as a dalet instead of as a zayin the Mezuzah is still valid[76].

 

If either the right regel or left regel is very short or broken, but a section the size of a yud still remains connected to the gag the Mezuzah is valid[77].

 

However, if the left regel is very short or broken, but a section the size of a yud still remains connected to the gag, and the gag was formed as one unit similar to a Sephardic ches then the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a dalet or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[78].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[79].

 

 

 Tes

 

There are six parts to the tes : the tagim, the right rosh, the left rosh, the basis, and the right and left regel. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the left side of the letter. The right rosh is curved into the letter on its left side. The left rosh appears as the top of a Zayin. The left and right regel connect the rosh to the basis. The basis is the horizontal line at the bottom of the letter.

 

If either rosh is disconnected from the rest of the letter the Mezuzah is invalid[80].

 

If the basis is split in half the Mezuzah is invalid[81].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[82]. Ideally, it should be fixed[83]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[84]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[85].

 

If the left rosh appears as a vov instead of as a zayin the Mezuzah is still valid[86].

 

If the right rosh does not bend inward toward the inside of the letter the Mezuzah is still valid[87]. However, it should be fixed[88].

 

If the left rosh and the right rosh are connected with a thick line the Mezuzah is invalid. If the two heads are separate and it is a small thin line the Mezuzah is invalid unless the line is erased[89]. If one is unsure whether it is a thin or thick line, or if it may look like a samech, the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid if the thin line is removed. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[90].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[91].

 

 

Yud

 

The letter yud is the letter that is most likely to become invalid.

 

There are four parts to the yud: the tag, the body of the yud, the regel, and the oketz. The tag appears on the upper left side of the body of the yud. The oketz appears on the lower left side of the yud. The regel appears on the lower right side of the yud and bends toward the left.

 

Ideally, the yud should be of an equal length and width. It should be equal to the width of the kulmus – the quill.

 

If the left oketz is as long as a regel the Mezuzah is invalid[92].

 

If the tag on the upper left side of the yud is long and the letter looks like a lamed the Mezuzah is invalid[93].

 

If the regel is disconnected from the body of the yud the Mezuzah is invalid[94].

 

If the yud is missing the tag there is a debate as to whether the Mezuzah is still valid[95].

 

If the yud is missing the oketz there is also a debate as to whether the Mezuzah is valid[96].

 

If the regel is very long the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a vov or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[97].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[98].

 

 Chof

 

There are two parts to the chof : the gag and the basis. The gag is the roof and the basis is the foundation at the bottom. They are both rounded on the right side and are connected together with a line. This line[99] should be as tall as the width of a quill (kulmus). The gag and the basis should also be as wide as the width of a quill (kulmus).

 

If the gag and the basis are disconnected the Mezuzah is invalid[100].

 

If the gag and the basis are both square and not rounded the Mezuzah is invalid[101].

 

If the gag is square and not rounded, but the basis is rounded, the Mezuzah is still valid[102]. Some authorities, however, are stringent[103].

 

If either the gag or the basis are only slightly rounded the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a bais or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[104].

 

If the gag and the basis are both short the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a nun or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[105].

 

If part of the gag or the basis is split, then a child should be asked to identify the letter[106]. If one wishes the letter to be kosher without repair, then the disconnected parts must be covered when the child is consulted. If the child identifies it as a nun or any letter other than a chof, the Mezuzah is invalid. If he correctly identifies the letter, then it is kosher even without a repair, if what was left over in the kosher gag or basis is significantly more than the length of a kulmus. If it is less than a kulmus and the child identifies the letter, the letter may be repaired, but it may not be used without the repair[107].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[108].

 

Final Chof

 

There are two parts to the Final chof : the gag and the regel. The gag is the horizontal line on top. The regel is the vertical line going down from the gag. The gag must be rounded on its upper right side. If it is pointed, the Mezuzah is invalid[109].

 

If part of the regel is split and the remaining part of the regel that is attached to the gag is either smaller than or equal in length to the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[110].

 

If the gag is too short the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as an Final nun or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[111].

 

If the regel is broken but the part that remains is longer than the length of the gag the letter must be shown to a child. The portion that is cut off must be covered. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a raish or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[112]. However, ideally the regel should be long enough to form a regular chof if it were folded over. In other words, it should be twice the length of the gag. If it is not this long, and a child does not identify it as a Raish it may be lengthened[113].

 

Sometimes the sofer will extend the gag of an Final chof at the left end of a line of a Mezuzah. One should check to see if the proportions are correct.

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[114].

 Lamed

 

There are four parts to the lamed: the tzavar, the yerech, the gag, and the basis. The tzavar (which resembles a vov) is the upper left part[115], which attaches to the horizontal line. The horizontal line is the gag. The yerech is leg on the right side that stretches from the gag to the basis. The basis is the lowest part of the letter.

 

If the tzavar is disconnected from the rest of the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid[116].

 

If the gag is disconnected from the basis the Mezuzah is invalid[117].

 

If the top of the lamed enters the inner space of a dalet or raish above it, the Mezuzah is invalid[118].

 

If the tzavar of the lamed is very short the Mezuzah is still valid[119].

 

If the tzavar of the lamed is straight without an upper head twisting left, (i.e. the left part of the vov) the Mezuzah is still valid if one has no other Mezuzah[120]. A bracha, however, should not be recited on it. One should replace it as soon as possible.

 

If the tzavar of the lamed enters into the inner space of an aleph, a ches, or an Final chof, the rest of the lamed must be covered and the upper letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter, the Mezuzah is invalid[121].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[122].

 

 Mem

 

There are three parts to the mem: the gag, the basis, and the chartohm. The gag is on the top right and its lower left side is connected to the chartohm. The basis is on the bottom of the letter and is connected to the gag with a straight line on the right side. The chartohm is a vov that is connected to the rest of the letter at the lower right side of its head. It is connected to the lower left side of the gag.

 

If the chartohm is disconnected from the rest of the mem the Mezuzah is invalid[123].

 

If the gag is disconnected from the basis the Mezuzah is invalid[124].

 

If the chartohm is connected at all to the basis the Mezuzah is invalid[125].

 

If the chartohm is fully connected to the top and bottom of the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[126]. If the chartohm is connected to the bottom of the chof, the letter may not be corrected[127].

 

If the chartohm is short but still has the length of a yud, and a child reads it properly, the Mezuzah is still valid[128] but should still be fixed.

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[129].

 

Final Mem

 

There are two parts to the Final mem: the gag and the basis. They are connected to each other on both sides with a straight line going down. The gag is extended slightly past the basis on the left side. All four sides are square.

 

If the letter is broken on any of the four sides the Mezuzah is invalid[130].

 

If either side of the basis is rounded the Mezuzah is invalid[131].

 

If the gag does not extend at all past the basis the Mezuzah is still valid[132].

 

If the gag extends very much past the basis on the left side the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[133].

 

If either of the corners of the basis is slightly rounded, the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a samech the Mezuzah is invalid[134].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[135].

 

 Nun

 

There are four parts to the nun: the tagim, the rosh, the tzavar and the basis. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. The rosh is the top of the nun. The basis is the bottom of the nun and is rounded on the right. The tzavar connects the middle of the rosh to the right side of the basis.

 

If the rosh is disconnected from the tzavar or if the basis is disconnected from the tzavar the Mezuzah is invalid[136].

 

If a line extends downward from the right side of the basis making the letter slightly resemble a gimel the Mezuzah is invalid[137].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[138]. Ideally, it should be fixed[139]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[140]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[141].

 

If the tzavar starts at the right side of the rosh instead of the middle of the rosh the Mezuzah is still valid[142].

 

If the basis is not rounded on the right side the Mezuzah is still valid[143].

 

If the basis and the rosh are both wider than usual the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[144].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[145].

 

 Final Nun

There are three parts to the Final nun: the tagim, the rosh and the guf. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. The rosh is the top short horizontal line. The guf is the body of the letter, which is the long line extending down from the middle of the rosh.

 

If the rosh is disconnected from the guf the Mezuzah is invalid[146].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[147]. Ideally, it should be fixed[148]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[149]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[150].

 

If the guf itself is split then the bottom part must be covered and the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a Zayin or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[151].

 

If the lower part of the guf of the nun extends into the airspace of another letter than the rest of the nun should be covered and the letter below must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[152].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[153].

 

 Samech

 

There are two parts to the samech: the gag and the basis. They are connected to each other on both sides with rounded semi-circular lines going down. The gag is extended slightly past the basis on the left side. All corners are rounded except for the upper left.

 

If the letter is broken on any of the four sides the Mezuzah is invalid[154].

 

If either side of the basis is not rounded the Mezuzah is invalid[155].

 

If the gag does not extend at all past the basis the Mezuzah is still valid[156].

 

If the gag extends very much past the basis on the left side the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[157].

 

If either of the corners of the basis is only slightly rounded, the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as an Final mem the Mezuzah is invalid[158].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[159].

 

Ayin

 

There are five parts to the ayin: the tagim, the right rosh the left rosh, the guf, and the line that connects the left rosh to the guf. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter.

 

If either rosh is disconnected from the rest of the guf the Mezuzah is invalid. Similarly, if the guf is split in half the Mezuzah is invalid[160].

 

If either the right rosh or the left rosh are fully connected (filled in) on their left side that they no longer appear as a yud (i.e. there is no head and foot to the yud) the Mezuzah is invalid[161].

 

If the left rosh is connected to the leftmost side of the guf and not slightly to the right of it the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that the letter now appears as a tes. Anytime a letter clearly resembles another letter the letter is invalid and there is no need to consult a child.

 

If the left rosh and the right rosh are connected with a thick line the Mezuzah is invalid. If it is a small thin line the Mezuzah is invalid unless the line is erased[162]. If one is unsure whether it is a thin or thick line, the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid if the thin line is removed. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[163].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[164]. Ideally, it should be fixed[165]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[166]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[167].

 

If the left rosh is connected very closely to the left edge of the guf the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a tes or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[168].

 

If the line connecting the left rosh to the guf extends past the guf forming an X the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a tes or as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[169].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[170].

 

Pay

 

There are three parts to the pay: the gag, the basis, and the nekudah. The gag is the horizontal line on top of the letter it suspends the nekudah underneath it. The nekudah is an upside vov head (or yud) connected to the bottom left of the gag. The basis is the bottom horizontal line. It is connected to the gag by a line that has a slight inward protrusion.

 

If the Nekudah is disconnected from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid. Likewise, if the gag is split or disconnected from the basis the Mezuzah is invalid[171]. If the child can identify the letter properly, however, the Mezuzah may be repaired and there is no problem of shelo kesidran, writing the letters out of order[172]. This is only regarding this paragraph and not those that follow.

 

If the nekudah is filled in all the way to the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[173].

 

If merely a small protrusion of the nekudah touches a part of the rest of the letter the Mezuzah may be repaired[174]. It may not be used until it is repaired. Sephardim, however, rule that it is invalid[175].

 

If the nekudah is suspended toward the middle of the gag and not from the left edge of the gag the Mezuzah is still valid. If it is at the middle or past the middle the Mezuzah is invalid according to many authorities[176].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[177].

 

 Final Pay

 

There are three parts to the Final pay: the gag, the regel, and the nekudah. The gag is the horizontal line on top of the letter it suspends the nekudah underneath it. The nekudah is an upside vov head (or yud) connected to the bottom left of the gag. The regel is attached to Gag on the right side in a rounded or squared fashion[178].

 

If the Nekudah is disconnected from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid. Likewise, if the gag is split or disconnected from the regel the Mezuzah is invalid[179]. If the child can identify the letter properly, however, the Mezuzah may be repaired and there is no problem of shelo kesidran, writing the letters out of order[180]. This is only regarding this paragraph and not those that follow.

 

If the nekudah is filled in all the way to the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[181].

 

If merely a small protrusion of the nekudah touches a part of the rest of the letter the Mezuzah may be repaired[182]. It may not be used until it is repaired. Sephardim, however, rule that it is invalid[183].

 

If the nekudah is suspended toward the middle of the gag and not from the left edge of the gag the Mezuzah is still valid. If it is at the middle or past the middle the Mezuzah is invalid according to many authorities[184].

If the regel is so short that it does not extend past the Nekudah the distance of a yud the Mezuzah is invalid[185].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[186].

 

 Tzadik

 

There are five parts to the tzadik: the tagim, the right rosh, the left rosh, tzavar and the basis. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. The right rosh is the top right of the tzadik, appearing as an upward yud. It is connected to a section of the tzavar that is a bit lower than its middle. It is connected to the tzavar on its right side. The AriZal writing connects it on its left side[187].

 

The left rosh is connected from its middle to the upper right side of the basis through the tzavar. The basis is the bottom of the tzadik and is rounded on the right. The tzavar connects the middle of the left rosh to the right side of the basis.

 

If the right rosh or left rosh is disconnected from the tzavar or if the basis is disconnected from the tzavar the Mezuzah is invalid[188].

 

If either the right rosh or the left rosh are fully connected on their side to the tzavar that they no longer appear as a yud (or a zayin) the Mezuzah is invalid.

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[189]. Ideally, it should be fixed[190]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[191]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[192].

 

If the tzavar starts at the right side of the rosh instead of the middle of the rosh the Mezuzah is still valid[193].

 

If the basis is not rounded on the right side the Mezuzah is still valid[194].

 

If the basis and either rosh are both wider than usual the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[195].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[196].

 

 Final Tzadik

 

There are four parts to the Final tzadik: the tagim, the right rosh, the left rosh, and the regel. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. The left rosh is the top of the letter. The regel is the line running strait down from the left rosh. The right rosh is a diagonal yud that connects to the bottom of the highest quarter of the regel.

 

If either rosh is disconnected from the rest of the letter the Mezuzah is invalid[197].

 

If a line extends downward from the right side of the regel making the letter slightly resemble a gimel the Mezuzah is invalid[198].

 

If either the right rosh or the left rosh are fully connected on their side to the rest of the letter that they no longer appear as a yud (or a zayin), the Mezuzah is invalid.

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[199]. Ideally, it should be fixed[200]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[201]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[202].

 

If the regel starts at the right side of the left rosh instead of the middle of the rosh the Mezuzah is still valid[203].

 

If the regel under the connection to the right rosh is short but still the length of a yud the Mezuzah is valid[204].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[205].

 

 Kuf

 

There are four parts to the kuf: the gag, the right yerech, the basis and the left regel. The gag is the horizontal line on top of the letter. It should be three quill lengths in width. The right yerech connects the gag to the basis with a thick line curving inward. The basis is a horizontal line on the bottom of the letter that is about one third of the width of the gag. The left regel begins slightly above the basis and ends below it.

 

If the gag is split to the extent that the left regel is no longer under the part of the gag that is still connected to the rest of the letter the Mezuzah is invalid[206].

 

If the left regel is split so that there is no longer a part of it the size of a yud past the basis the Mezuzah is invalid[207].

 

If the right yerech is split but there remains an amount of it still attached to the gag that is the size of a yud the Mezuzah is still valid[208].

 

If the left regel begins below the basis, the Mezuzah is invalid[209].

 

If the left regel touches either the gag or the basis the entire Mezuzah becomes invalid. If the touching occurred after the letter was completed there are some authorities[210] that are lenient and hold that it can be fixed with grairah, rubbing out the connection. Regardlessm it is invalid until it is repaired.

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[211].

 

 

Raish

 

There are two parts to the raish: the gag and the yerech. The gag is the horizontal line on top of the letter. The yerech is the vertical line on the right of the letter.

 

If the yerech is entirely disconnected from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid.

 

If the gag is squared on its right side the Mezuzah is invalid.

 

If the yerech is split but there remains a section of it the size of a yud[212] that is still attached to the gag the Mezuzah is still valid.

 

If the yerech is longer than usual or if the gag is shorter than usual the letter must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[213].

 

If part of the gag is split, the section that is not attached to the yerech must be covered and shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as a vov or another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[214].

 

If part of the gag is split, then a child should be asked to identify the letter[215]. If one wishes the letter to be kosher without repair, then the disconnected parts must be covered when the child is consulted. If the child identifies it as a vov or any letter other than a raish, the Mezuzah is invalid. If he correctly identifies the letter, then it is kosher even without a repair, if what was left over in the kosher gag is significantly more than the length of a kulmus. If it is less than a kulmus and the child identifies the letter, the letter may be repaired, but it may not be used without the repair[216].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[217].

 

 Shin

 

There are five parts to the shin: the tagim, the right rosh, the middle rosh, the left rosh and the basis. The tagim are the three crowns at the top of the letter. Each of the three roshes is connected to the basis. On a non-Arizal shin the roshes appear as a yud, a vov and a zayin.

 

If any rosh is disconnected from the rest of the letter the Mezuzah is invalid[218].

 

If any rosh does not have the shape of a yud the Mezuzah is invalid[219].

 

If any rosh is connected to another rosh the Mezuzah is invalid[220].

 

The three tagim should extend upward from the top of the rosh. The tagim should not touch each other. If the tagim are either stuck together, detached from the letter or missing, the Mezuzah is still valid[221]. Ideally, it should be fixed[222]. It should be noted that if by being stuck together, the tagim form the letter of either a shin or an ayin, most authorities write that the letter is invalid[223]. Thus the Mezuzah should not be used until it is repaired.

 

The tagim should look like a small zayin with a small head on each of the three tagim. If the tag is merely a line, it is still considered a kosher tag.

 

It should be noted that some Poskim feel that if a tag looks like a vov or a zayin and becomes disconnected from the letter, the Mezuzah is invalid. The reason is that it is viewed as an extra letter in the Mezuzah[224].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[225].

 

Tof

The tof has three sections to it: The gag, the right regel (regel hayemini), and the left regel (regel smoli). The gag is the top horizontal line. The right regel is the right leg and the left regel is left leg.

 

If the gag is split in half the Mezuzah is invalid[226].

 

If either regel is disconnected from the gag the Mezuzah is invalid[227].

 

If the bottom of the left regel does not bend outwards the Mezuzah is invalid[228].

 

If the left regel is as short as a yud and the right regel is longer than usual the Mezuzah is invalid[229].

 

If the left regel begins from the lower middle of the gag the Mezuzah is still valid[230].

 

If the right regel is split in half but still has a portion (the size of a yud) attached to the gag the Mezuzah is still valid[231].

 

If the right regel is very long and the left regel is regular, the letter must be shown to a child. . If the child can identify the letter properly, the Mezuzah is valid. If the child identifies it as an Final phay or another letter the Mezuzah is invalid[232].

 

If the letter developed a hole, rip, or blotch (tishtush) on it, the Mezuzah is invalid[233].

[1] For a complete survey of these halachos see Zos HaTorah and Dinei Sefer Torah SheNimtzaah Bo Taus

[2] Rabbi Menachem Davidovitch observed that the reason why it states “go bring” instead of “go to” indicates that there are halachic issues as to how to go about asking the child.

[3] Mishna Brurah 32:49; Aruch HaShulchan 32:34; Keses HaSofer 6:2

[4] Ruling of Rav Elyashiv cited in Yashiv Moshe p. 4 based upon Rambam Hilchos Tefillin 1:19.

[5] See Yashiv Moshe page 8.

[6] Mogen Avrohom 32:19. It should be noted that this is not the view of the Shulchan Aruch and the Levush. Rav Elyashiv, however, recommends that the view of the Mogen Avrohom be followed (Yashiv Moshe p. 6).

[7] Ruling of Rabbi Menachem Davidovitch.

[8] MB 143:25

[9] MB 143:25 citing DHC and Eliyahu Rabbah

[10] MB 32:128 citing responsa of Chsam Sofer YD §156. MB does suggest that the letters be retraced with a Kulmus (quill), however.

[11] Mishnas HaSofer 9:33 citing responsa Bais Shlomo §7

[12] Kaf HaChaim 143:42; Kol Yaakov 32:79 cited in Zos HaTorah chapter 23.

[13] Biur Halacha 32:25 “Os achas.” Ideally, however, it should be fixed. This same haclacha is true if the crack can only be observed through a magnifying glass.

[14] For example, under certain circumstances, a kotzo shel may be added and yeseiros may be erased. Also, when two words are too close together, ink may be scratched off from each side. Another example is that according to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, letters that are cracked may be corrected even if it is immediately recognizable where the split does not turn the letter into two other halachically kosher letters. If a tinok can read it properly Rabbi Akiva Eiger holds it may be fixed. Although the Pri Magadid disagrees the Mishna Brurah 32:122 rules like Rabbi Eiger. If it is not immediately recognizable, it may be fixed immediately (SA OC 32:25). A letter that is split into two halachically valid letters may be fixed according to Rabbi Eiger if it is not immediately recognizable and a tinok can read it properly. The PMG disagrees, bu the the Biur Halacha rules like Rabbi Eiger. Two examples of this are a tzadik (yud and a nun) and mem (chof and vov).

[15] Ramah SA OC 32:16

[16] SA OC 32:25; Biur Halacha 32:16 “Mihu”; Aruch HaShulchan 32:47. The PMG, however, writes that if it is nikar lehedya, immediately recognizable, that it is not fixable. The MB 32:122 rules against this PMG and in accordance with Rabbi Akiva Eiger.

[17] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[18] SA OC 32:18

[19] PMG; Mishnas Sofrim; Mikdash MeAt disagrees but the halacha is in accordance with the PMG. This is the opinion of Rav Stern in the Mishnas Sofrim. Rav Davidovitch disagrees with Rav Stern and states that the Vilna Gaon learned like the Mikdash MeAt.

[20] See Chazon Ish OC 9:4.

[21] MB 36:1

[22] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[23] Responsa Chsam Sofer YD §285; Shaar HaTziyun §6 to Mishnas Sofrim Bais

[24] Shaar HaTziyun §6 to Mishnas Sofrim Bais

[25] Mishnas Sofrim Bias

[26] Mikdash MeAt subparagraph §6 on Levush Bais

[27] PMG

[28] See also the Shaarei Teshuva beginning of OC 36 citing the Mahari Molcho that an Ashkenazi Jew should not use Sephardic Tefillin. However see Sdei Chemed Maarechet HaGet Vol. VII that the Mahari Molcho retracted his opinion.

[29] MB 32:52; Mikdash MeAt §10 on Levush Bais; See also Biur Halacha 32:16 “Pshutos” It should be noted that according to Rabi Akiva Eiger (cited in MB 32:122) , it is only necessary to ask a child if it is nikar lehedya, immediately recognizable. Otherwise, although the letter is still invalid, it may be corrected even without consulting the child.

[30] In this case, where the connected part left over is less than a kulmus the other disconnected part should not be covered.

[31] MB 36:1

[32] TaZ OC 32:17

[33] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[34] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[35] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[36] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[37] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[38] Aruch HaShulchan 36:9

[39] MB 36:1

[40] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[41] SA OC 32:15; MB 32:42. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[42] MB 32:52; Mikdash MeAt §10 on Levush Bais; See also Biur Halacha 32:16 “Pshutos” It should be noted that according to Rabi Akiva Eiger (cited in MB 32:122) , it is only necessary to ask a child if it is nikar lehedya, immediately recognizable. Otherwise, although the letter is still invalid, it may be corrected even without consulting the child.

[43] In this case, where the connected part left over is less than a kulmus the other disconnected part should not be covered.

[44] MB 36:1

[45] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[46] SA OC 32:15; MB 32:42. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[47] Mikdash MeAt §11 on letter Hay

[48] MB 32:52; Mikdash MeAt §10 on Levush Bais; See also Biur Halacha 32:16 “Pshutos” It should be noted that according to Rabi Akiva Eiger (cited in MB 32:122) , it is only necessary to ask a child if it is nikar lehedya, immediately recognizable. Otherwise, although the letter is still invalid, it may be corrected even without consulting the child.

[49] Biur Halacha 32:18. One should note that for a Sefer Torah, however, the Halacha is different. For a Sefer Torah it must be shown to a child. If the child can identify the letter properly, another Sefer Torah is not to be taken out. If the child cannot identify the letter or identifies it as a ches or some other letter the Sefer Torah is invalid. The reason for the difference is that for a Sefer Torah we take into account the Rambam’s opinion that an invalid Sefer Torah may be read.

[50] MB 36:1

[51] Mishnas Sofrim letter vov

[52] Mishnas Sofrim letter vov

[53] Mishnas Sofrim letter vov

[54] Mishnas Sofrim letter vov

[55] If it does the letter should be shown to a child. See Biur Hasofer Siman 5 letter vov “shelo tidmeh” p. 52.

[56] SA 32:16. MB 32:48

[57] SA 32:16

[58] MB 36:1

[59] Mishnas Sofrim letter zayin.

[60] Mishnas Sofrim letter zayin.

[61] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[62] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[63] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[64] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[65] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[66] SA 32:16

[67] Mikdash MeAt 32:60.

[68] Mikdash MeAt 32:16.

[69] See Mishnas Sofrim Vov.

[70] MB 36:1

[71] The Gemorah tells us that the chatoteres that rests on the roof of the letter, signifies that God resides at the heights of the world.

[72] MB OC 36 Mishnas Sofrim

[73] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13. There is a difference regarding a repair between the left regel and right regel. The right regel may be repaired if it is disconnected and a child reads it properly. The left regel may not be repaired even if a child reads it properly (Yalkut HaSofer Siman 5 letter Ches).

[74] Mogen Avrohom 36:3; Be’er Haitev 32:40

[75] Keses HaSofer 5 letter ches

[76] Be’er Haitev 32:40; Keses HaSofer 5 letter ches

[77] PMG 32:43; Aruch HaShulchan 36:10; Keses HaSofer 5. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[78] SA 32:16

[79] MB 36:1

[80] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[81] ibid

[82] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[83] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[84] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[85] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[86] PMG

[87] PMG 32 letter Tes

[88] MB Mishnas HaSofer letter Tes. Mishnas Hasofer 5:83

[89] The Meleches Shamayim holds it is not valid and a thin line is equal to a thick line. The Mogen Avrohom letter aleph (32:29) and Mishna Brurah (letter shin) rule that it is permitted if the line is removed. This is true only for Tefillin and Mezuzah. See Yalkut Hasofer on letter tes.

[90] SA 32:16

[91] MB 36:1

[92] Mishnas Sofrim letter yud

[93] Mishnas Sofrim letter yud

[94] Keses HaSofer Siman five letter yud.

[95] See Biur Halacha on Mishnas Sofrim letter yud. If one has no other Mezuzah one may be lenient.

[96] The Chsam Sofer (YD §265) writes regarding a Sefer Torah with very strange shapes for certain letters that there is an opinion which may be followed that as long as there is a sharp corner where the oketz should be the letter is still valid. The idea is that it should not be rounded. The Chazon Ish 162:3, however, writes that “his words are wondrous” and we do not find this opinion cited anywhere.

 

Responsa Lehoros Nosson Vol. I 4:10 writes that even the Chsam Sofer only ruled permissively regarding a sefer Torah but not Tefillin or Mezuzos. He ruled leniently on account of the Shach’s position (YD 275:10) that a sefer Torah may not be declared invalid if it was written according to one great authority. However, one may question the LeHoros Nosson, since the aforementioned Chsam Sofer does not mention this Shach, and he does mention Tefillin in the same responsa when discussing the letter Pay. Nonetheless, Rav Davidovitch stated in a shiur that regarding a sefer Torah, ideally one does not take out a sefer Torah that has a Chsam Sopher yud, but once it was taken out the scroll is read from.

[97] Mishnas Sofrim letter yud; Keses HaSofer siman 5 letter yud

[98] MB 36:1

[99] Mishnas Sofrim letter chof, Eliyahu Rabba OC 36

[100] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[101] Keses HaSofer siman 5 letter chof

[102] Lishkas HaSofer 5:15; See Bais Yosef 32 regarding letter mem

[103] The Keses Hasofer writes that if the bottom is square it is invalid.

[104] Mikdash MeAt letter chof quoting responsa Darchei Noam Even HoEzer §3

[105] Mishnas Sofrim letter chof

[106] MB 32:52; Mikdash MeAt §10 on Levush Bais; See also Biur Halacha 32:16 “Pshutos” It should be noted that according to Rabi Akiva Eiger (cited in MB 32:122) , it is only necessary to ask a child if it is nikar lehedya, immediately recognizable. Otherwise, although the letter is still invalid, it may be corrected even without consulting the child.

[107] In this case, where the connected part left over is less than a kulmus the other disconnected part should not be covered.

[108] MB 36:1

[109] The PMG (introduction to the Aishel Avrohom) cited in the Mishnas Sofrim 36:20 states that it may be repaired, however. This is only true by the Final chof since its form is still retained.

[110] Mishnas Sofrim Final chof; Shaarei Ephraim 5:19*

[111] Mishnas Sofrim letter Final chof

[112] Mishnas Sofrim letter Final chof

[113] Based upon a lesson given by Rabbi Davidovitch (see his Kuntrus on letter chof).

[114] MB 36:1

[115] According to Kaballah (sod) the tzavar has two tagim (Uktzin) on top (Bais Yosef 36 citing the Ri Ascandrani). The right alludes to Chesed (loving kindness) and the left alludes to Din (judgement). The Bais Yosaif says that the right one should be bigger. The custom is to make it taller. According to the Darchei Moshe HaAruch the right one should be thicker (yoser av) than the left one. Kabbalists of late have been identifying domestic problems with Mezuzos that are not formed in this manner.

[116] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[117] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[118] SA OC 32:28; MB 32:130; SA EH 125:18

[119] Lishkas HaSofer 5:17

[120] Mishnas Sofrim letter lamed; Lishkas HaSofer 5:17. Both authorities quote the Sefer HaChaim from Rav Shlomo Kluger. The language of the Mishnas Sofrim indicates that it may not be repaired.

[121] SA OC 32:28; MB 32:130; SA EH 125:18

[122] MB 36:1

[123] Keses HaSofer letter mem

[124] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13; Trumas HaDeshen I §228

[125] SA 32:18; Biur Halacha; Shaarei Ephraim 5:9

[126] Ruling of Rabbi Menachem Davidovitch cited in Dinei Sefer Torah p. 33. Rav Vosner, however, disagrees and rules leniently (see approbation to Measef lechol hamachanos)

[127] However regarding its correction if one did not write further (or in a sefer Torah) the Chartohm may be erased according to the ruling of Rabbi Menachem Davidovitch stated in a shiur given in Shvat 5762. The Keses HaSofer (8:8) cites the Radach that the entire letter must be removed. The Bais Yoseph 32:18, however is lenient. This ruling of the Keses HaSofer did not appear in the first edition.

[128] Biur Halacha Mishnas Sofrim letter Mem is not sure about this. See Msihnas HaSopher (5:114)who cites the Chazon Ish (8:6)) that if a child reads it properly it is kosher but should be fixed ideally. See also PMG 32:43; Aruch HaShulchan 36:10; Keses HaSofer 5. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[129] MB 36:1

[130] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[131] MeAsef lechol HaMachanos 36:2 letter Final mem

[132] Mishnas Sofrim letter Final mem

[133] Daas Kedoshim on Levush letter Final mem

[134] Measef lechol HaMachanos letter Final mem

[135] MB 36:1

[136] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[137] Mikdash MeAt letter gimel §13

[138] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[139] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[140] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[141] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[142] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun, Aruch HaShulchan 36:19

[143] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun; Keses HaSofer siman 5 letter nun

[144] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun

[145] MB 36:1

[146] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[147] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[148] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[149] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Maishiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[150] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[151] SA 32:16

[152] MB 32:132.

[153] MB 36:1

[154] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[155] MeAsef lechol HaMachanos 36:2 letter Final mem

[156] Mishnas Sofrim letter Final mem

[157] Daas Kedoshim on Levush letter Final mem

[158] Measef lechol HaMachanos letter Final mem

[159] MB 36:1

[160] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[161] Mishnas Sofrim letter ayin

[162] The Meleches Shamayim holds it is not valid and a thin line is equal to a thick line. The Mogen Avrohom letter aleph and Mishna Brurah rule that it is permitted if the line is removed.

[163] SA 32:16

[164] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[165] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[166] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[167] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[168] SA 32:16

[169] SA 32:16

[170] MB 36:1

[171] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[172] See Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s opinion cited earlier in letter bais. The PMG disagrees and holds it may not br repaired. SA OC 32:25; Biur Halacha 32:16 “Mihu”; Aruch HaShulchan 32:47

[173] Ramah SA OC 32:16

[174] Mogen Avrohom 32:29. Se Biur Halacha 32:18 “Oh Pnai HaAlef” who cites the PMG who learns that the Mogen Avrohom meant that it is kosher, but with a repair. The Gidueli Hekdesh, Lishkas HaSopher, Shut STAM (Rabbi Kluger), the Maharsham 3:298:2 cited in Mishnas HaSopher 8:12 all understand the Mogain Avrohom in this manner, notwithstanding that the wording of the Mogain Avrohom indicates that it is kosher even without a repair.

[175] See Shaar HaTziyun of Mishnas Hasopher 8:13 who cites the Mor Uktziya and the Melechet Shamayim and the opinion cited in the Maharalbach who argue on the Mogen Avrohom and hold that even a kotz is invalid.

[176] See Mishnas Sofrim letter pay and MeAsef lechol hamachanos.

[177] MB 36:1

[178] The Mishna Brurah writes that it should be squared (Mishnas HaSophrim letter Pay), while the Keses HaSopher (Siman 5 letter Pay) cites both opinions Rabbi Davidovitch ruled that the inner part should be square but the outer part round.

[179] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[180] See Rabbi Akiva Eiger’s opinion cited earlier in letter bais. The PMG disagrees and holds it may not be repaired. SA OC 32:25; Biur Halacha 32:16 “Mihu”; Aruch HaShulchan 32:47

[181] Ramah SA OC 32:16

[182] Mogen Avrohom 32:29. Se Biur Halacha 32:18 “Oh Pnai HaAlef” who cites the PMG who learns that the Mogen Avrohom meant that it is kosher, but with a repair. The Gidueli Hekdesh, Lishkas HaSopher, Shut STAM (Rabbi Kluger), the Maharsham 3:298:2 cited in Mishnas HaSopher 8:12 all understand the Mogain Avrohom in this manner, notwithstanding that the wording of the Mogain Avrohom indicates that it is kosher even without a repair.

[183] See Shaar HaTziyun of Mishnas Hasopher 8:13 who cites the Mor Uktziya and the Melechet Shamayim and the opinion cited in the Maharalbach who argue on the Mogen Avrohom and hold that even a kotz is invalid.

[184] See Mishnas Sofrim letter pay and MeAsef lechol hamachanos.

[185] SA 32:18; MB; Mishnas Sofrim, PMG 32:43; Aruch HaShulchan 36:10; Keses HaSofer 5. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[186] MB 36:1

[187] Rabbi Shternbuch in Hilchos HaGra Uminhagav states that the Vilna Gaon ruled this type of Tzaddik as invalid. However, see Otzros Yerushalayim 5734 §147 (Rabbi Davidovitch) disagrees with this quote.

[188] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[189] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[190] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[191] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[192] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[193] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun, Aruch HaShulchan 36:19

[194] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun; Keses HaSofer siman 5 letter nun

[195] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun

[196] MB 36:1

[197] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[198] Mikdash MeAt letter gimel §13

[199] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[200] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[201] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[202] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[203] Mishnas Sofrim letter nun, Aruch HaShulchan 36:19

[204] Mishnas Sofrim letter tzadik. See also SA 32:18; MB; Mishnas Sofrim, PMG 32:43; Aruch HaShulchan 36:10; Keses HaSofer 5. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[205] MB 36:1

[206] Mikdash MeAt on the Levush §10 letter kuf quoting PMG

[207] SA OC 36 Mishnas Sofrim. SA 32:18; MB; Mishnas Sofrim, PMG 32:43; Aruch HaShulchan 36:10; Keses HaSofer 5. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[208] Mishnas Sofrim letter raish, the same would apply here. See also above footnote that it may mean the size of right leg of the yud.

[209] Yalkut HaSopher Siman 5 letter Kuf.

[210] See Biur Halacha 32:18 “Raglai HaHay”. The leniency is based upon a sfek sfaikah, a double doubt – perhaps the halacha is like those that hold a negiyah does not make it invalid (Mordechai, Meiri) and perhaps the halacha is like the SmaK cited in the Tur OC 32, that when a drop of ink falls on a letter after it was correctly written, it may be fixed.

[211] MB 36:1

[212] SA 32:18; MB; Mishnas Sofrim, PMG 32:43; Aruch HaShulchan 36:10; Keses HaSofer 5. There is a debate whether it is actually the size of a yud or whether it is the size of merely the right leg of the yud (Mikdash MeAt). See Mishnas Hasofer 7:25, and Biur Hasofer “Keshiur yud.”

[213]Mishnas Sofrim letter raish; SA 32:16

[214] Mishnas Sofrim letter raish; MB 32:52; Mikdash MeAt §1 letter Dalet

[215] MB 32:52; Mikdash MeAt §10 on Levush Bais; See also Biur Halacha 32:16 “Pshutos” It should be noted that according to Rabbi Akiva Eiger (cited in MB 32:122) , it is only necessary to ask a child if it is nikar lehedya, immediately recognizable. Otherwise, although the letter is still invalid, it may be corrected even without consulting the child.

[216] In this case, where the connected part left over is less than a kulmus the other disconnected part should not be covered.

[217] MB 36:1

[218] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[219] See regarding letter aleph PMG; Mishnas Sofrim.

[220] Mishnas Sofrim letter shin. For a Sefer Torah, however, an invalidation of mukaf gvil such as this one is not a reason to put back a Sefer Torah.

[221] SA OC 36:3; PMG MZ 143; Rambam Sefer Torah 7:9

[222] See MB 36:15 since the Bach holds it is invalid.

[223] The MB 36:13 rules it is invalid. The Miashiv Dovor Vol. I §7 permits it.

[224] See MB 36:13, Chazon Ish YD 162:11. The Noda BiYehudah, Responsa Zichron Yoseph §18, the Rav Shulchan Aruch, permit it. See Lishkas HaSofer 5:28 and Chazon Ish.

[225] MB 36:1

[226] SA OC 36:2; MB 36:9; MB 32: 121; Shaarei Ephraim 5:13

[227] ibid

[228] SA 32:18; MB 32:91

[229] Mishnas Sofrim quoting PMG end of chapter 32.

[230] Mogen Avrohom 32:33; Keses HaSofer chapter 5 letter tof

[231] SA OC 32:15; MB 32:42; See also Mishnas Sofrim 36 letter Tof. See also the footnote on letter bais that discusses a debate as to whether it is the size of a yud or the right foot of the yud.

[232] Bais Yosef chapter 36 letter tof quoting the Rokeach

[233] MB 36:1

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