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glossary

Mordechai Pinchas Sofer

This is by no means comprehensive and it is likely that it will grow over time as I add other terms.  However, if you find something on the site that you do not understand and it is is not listed below, you can contact me and I will do my best to answer/add to the glossary.

Afatsa: Gallnuts, used in ink.
Amud: a column of text.
Bayit: the housing for the tefillin and also the name given the container for the mezuzah. Lit. house (plural. batim).
B'di'avar: the status of something after the event.
Beracha: a blessing (plural. brachot)
Charitsim: the grooves in the tefillin housings that help keep the sewing straight
Chok Tochot: The law requiring every letter to be formed by writing only and not through the act of erasure or scraping out.  Only certain acts of scraping are permissable.
Chol: not holy, secular or profane.  In sofrut usually used in relation to those words that are the same as one of God's names but dp not mean God (eg they may refer to other things people refer to as gods).
Dakkot: housings for tefillin made of thin leather.
Devarim:  Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the torah.
Duchsustos: the lower part of split parchment on the flesh side.  This name is no longer in use.
D'yo: special black ink made from gallnuts and vitriol for use in sofrut.
Ets chayim: a wooden roller (plural. atsey chayim).
Gassot: housings of tefillin made from thick leather, usually the neck of the animal.
Giddin: threads made from animal sinew from the thigh or foot used for sewing in sofrut.
G'vil: Unsplit parchment.  This name is no longer used.
Halachah: Jewish law, derived from the root 'to walk' as it the path one should follow.
Hefsek: an interuption between intending to do something (eg reciting a blessing) and carrying out that action.
Kadesh li: the first passage in tefillin (Ex. 13:1-10)
Kankatum: vitriol, used in ink, usually iron or copper sulpate.
Kesidran: the reuirement for letters and passages to be written in order in teffilin and mezuzot.
Ketivah tamah: the requirement for each letter to be formed according to the laws and have its proper shape.
Kesher: knot (plural. ksharim).
Ketsitsah: the top part of the tefillin batim.
K'laf: parchment as it now generally now known though originally the upper part of slit parchment towards the hair side.
Kasher: valid under Jewish law.
Kuzo: kabbalistic writing found upside down on the reverse of a mezuzah.
L'hatchala: when something is appropriate to do in the first instance.
L'shem k'dushat...: for the sake of the holiness.  To be expressly verbalised by the scribe before starting work on, eg hareni kotev l'shem kdushat mezuzah (I am writing for the sake of the holiness of the mezuzah)
L'shem k'dushat Hashem: for the sake of the holiness of the Name.  To be expressly verbalised before the scribe writes a name of God.
Lishmah: the law requiring certain steps of the processes involved in sofrut to be done for the specific purpose of that item.
Ma'avarta: the back section of the tefillin housing through which the straps pass.
Mezuzah: a piece of parchment with two passages from Deuteronomy written on it.  Not the container which is a bayit (plural. mezuzot).
Mitsvah: a commandment (plural. mitsvot)
Mukaf g'vil: the law requiring each letter to be completely surrounded on al sides by parchment.
Ohr echad: One skin, the preference that tefillin housings be made from one piece of leather.
Parsha: passage from the torah used in tefillin and mezuzot (plural. parshiyot).
Peshutot: Lit. simple ones, housings for tefillin made from strips of leather glued together.  Often not kasher.
P'rudot: the law requiring each compartment of the tefillin shel rosh to be separate.
R'tsuot: straps used to tie the tefillin on the head and arm.
Ribu'a: the law requiring certain dimensions of the tefillin to be perfectly square.
Shabbat: the sabbath
Shel rosh: the tefillin worn on the head
Shel yad: the tefillin bound to the arm
Shema: the third passage in tefillin and the first passage in mezuzot (Deut. 6:4-9).
Shemot: Exodus, the second book of the Torah.
Shaday: one of the names of God on the reverse of a mezuzah and also formed by various parts of the tefillin.
Shin: the twenty-first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and a feature on the head tefillin.
Sid: lime or limestone solution for removing hair from skins.
Sirtut: guidelines ruled onto the parchment with a sargel to enable the scribe to write in straight lines.
Sofer: a scribe (plural. sofrim).
STAM: an acronym formed from the initial letters of sefer torah, tefillin and mezuzah, the three main tasks of a scribe.
Tefirot: stitching to join sheets together or close the tefillin housing.
Titurah: the base section of the tefillin housings.
Torah: written and oral laws of Judaism.
Vehayah im shamo'a: the final passage in both tefillin and mezuzot (Deut. 11:13-31)
Vehayah ki: the second passage of tefillin (Ex. 13:11-16)
Yirei shamayim: one who fears heaven.
Yeriah: a sheet of parchment.

Mordechai Pinchas

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