link to the mezuzah challenge

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Tikkun for Megillat Hashoah

Care of Your Torah

Modern Moses

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The Song of the World photo book

East London Synagogue

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Megillat HaY’shuah (the salvation scroll)


Sefer Binsoa - the book of Binsoa

diary of a sofer - part 38

I love bookshops. There's only one thing I love more than bookshops and that is sofrut shops - because they sell books on sofrut and other things besides. My latest trip to Israel involved a little tour of sofrut shops to get materials and just be happy to be surrounded by books on my favourite subject. Interspersed of course with visits to actual bookshops full of Jewish books of all shapes and sizes, new and secondhand. Did I mention that I liked books? Books are absolutely key in sofrut as they are your indispensable guide to ensuring the halacha is followed and the kitvey hakodesh (holy writings) remain kasher.

For example recently we were looking at a Torah that had Hashem’s Name patched but actually the patch was put on to close a hole in the parchment before the scribe got to that point and unfortunately God’s Name just happened to fall at that point.  The patch had a patch on top of it to keep it in place and removing it would destroy God’s Name - which is not allowed. But writing God’s Name on a patch is not allowed either.  Fortunately hitting the books showed that the Turey Zahav (Taz) was lenient in this regard and we could leave it.  Phew!

In Kulmus we noticed the shopkeeper writing a
mezuzah in the corner behind the counter but with a reed. I've got a reed but never actually used it. But this time I finally got to have a go. It was a bit strange to write with and certainly not as springy, clean and crisp as writing with a quill. But fun anyway. 

Mordechai Pinchas Sofer
ot ezra opt
ot ezra inside

Above: A bookshop in Jerusalem and Ot Ezra in the old city together with a sofer at work.

Also fun was the discovery of a couple of Yemenite Tikkunim when visiting my sister's family. Aside from the extra interesting letters (visual midrash) there are specific differences in the text - more on that in the future, but see the photo of the list of differences in the introduction!

And a couple of visits to Avielah's sofrut teachers - really nice chaps who have great studios (and bigger than mine at the moment. Me jealous - no not really).

Anyway for those of you interested in sofrut shops, below are some pics of shop fronts to look out for next time you happen to be in Jerusalem.

old city scribe
kulmus front
hasofer sign keset sign
keset inside
keset window
yakar sign

Kulmus, 2 Beyt Ya’akov in Jerusalem

Left: A scribe in the old city.


Right: HaSofer
Left: Keset HaSofer 72 Me’a Sh’arim In Jerusalem




Right: Inside Keset Hasofer. K’laf, books, ink ... everything really.








Right: a display in Keset Hasofer’s window.
Left: Yakar Tiferet Tefillin



tef window

Yakar Tiferet Tefillin had the most amazing display in their window showing tefillin in various stages of development. Absolutely marvellous.

All the shops listed are well worth a visit next time you happen to be in Jerusalem.

Mordechai Pinchas

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