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Back issues kept me sidelined for longer than I thought.  Unfortunately, it turned out not to be a pinched nerve, but a spinal issue called Bechterew’s disease, one of those genetic things that Ashkenazi Jews (of which I am very much so) tend to get stuck with.   Not dangerous, just painful, and complicated by long periods of sitting and hunching over… meaning its not good to have if you are a sofer.

Anyways –  have reached a point where I’m back to writing regularly.  Here is todays writing, the end of parshas toldos:


[For those of you with a critical eye, there are a few things that have to be cleaned and corrected up here.  I took the photo while waiting for ink to dry.]

One interesting detail is the small “kuf” in the word “katzti” in the top line.   The entire verse is the words of Rivka Imenu: ” Katzti [I am disgusted] with my life on account of the daughters of Ches,” which were uttered in response to Eisav’s having “married out” by taking a Canaanite wife.   This point became Rivkah’s main argument for sending Yaakov away and thus distancing him from Eisav.

Rabbeinu Bechaya explains that Rivkah saw through ruach ha-kodesh that the Beis Mikdash would be toppled as a direct result of the Jewish people intermarrying with the gentile, non-believing nations.  The Kodesh ha-Kadoshim, the holiest part of the Mikdash, was 100 amos high.  The loss of this structure as a result of intermarriage is alluded to by the diminished “kuf,” whose numerical value is 100.  Conversely, the rebuilding of the Heichal is alluded to in Tehillim (Psalms) 84:4 “Even the bird finds its home, the free bird her nest.”  The word “Kan,” nest, is written here with an enlarged “kuf” indicating that this verse speaks of the rebuilding of the Heichal and return of the Jewish people.

The Megaleh Amukos also understands the diminished “kuf” as a reference to the destruction of the mikdash, pointing out that “Katzti” can be read as “Ketz Tov Yud” – meaning “at the end of 410,” hinting that the Beis HaMikdash would only last 410 years.

To add my own humble understanding of this letter: if you read “katzti” without the diminished “kuf”, you have the word “vayatzet,” which appears in Eichah (Lamentations) 4:11: “HaShem kindled a fire in Zion,” referring to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash by fire.


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Today’s writing: The bottom of column 30.  Since I have been using my new desk and doing a lot more writing  (see mezuza at end of post), my ksav has improved thrice-fold.



The below image is of a 20 cm mezuza that I recently wrote as a commission for Congregation Toras Chaim.  The mezuza was a gift  for a member of the shul who is moving away.

Mezuza Back:

Newman MZ1Mezuza Front:

Newman MZ2

Besides writing Torah scrolls, soferim must also be experts in the writing, manufacture, and maintenance of tefillin.  When not working on the CTC Sefer Torah, this is what I am up to…

Today's Writing!

Today's Writing!

Am back into the full swing of writing now that my back is working properly again.  To ensure that I can continue to write comfortably, I built a new writing table out of birch.   The design is based upon one that I found in an old book on scribal arts.


The angle and height of the surface along with the cut-out part in the middle make it much easier to remain sitting upright while working.


Our series on the forms of the Hebrew Letters continues with… Gimmel!

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