Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Daf Halachah - Shabbos 80b - A Sefer Torah written with a metal-tipped pen

Shabbos 80b: A Sefer Torah written with a metal-tipped pen
שבת דף פ' ב':
קנה כדי לעשות קולמוס
A reed, [the measure of size that makes one who carries it in a public domain liable for violating the prohibition of carrying is] enough to make a pen.
Rema1 cites an opinion that a Sefer Torah must be written with a pen fashioned from a reed, not with a feather quill. Gra2 writes that one of the source upon which this perspective is based is our Gemara, which links the term kulmus, generally used to describe the pen with which a Sefer Torah is written, with reed. Shach3 writes that the custom is not to require that the pen for writing a Sefer Torah be fashioned from a reed, although Dvar Shmuel4 is unsure whether a feather quill from a non-kosher bird may be used.
In a case that came before a Beis Din,5 the family that contracted with a sofer to write a Sefer Torah mehudar [of the finest caliber] on their behalf complained of several procedures that the sofer employed that they felt made the Sefer Torah fall short of being mehudar.
Among their complaints was that although the sofer they hired wrote the letters themselves in the traditional manner, the sofer in turn hired another sofer to put in the tagin (the little “crowns” that adorn the tops of many letters), and that the second sofer used a “rapidograph” (a very fine metal-tipped ink drawing pen) rather than a reed pen or quill to write the tagin. The sofer, for his part, responded that a rapidograph produces nicer and more permanent tagin than a reed pen, and that therefore, the use of the rapidograph was a part of what made this a Sefer Torah mehudar.
In the Beis Din’s ruling, written by Rabbi Avrohom Dov Levin, they cite Rema,6 who writes that it is preferable not to write a Get with a metal-tipped pen because it may engrave, rather than write. Pischei Teshuvah7 explains that this is because it is possible that the indentation in the parchment made by the metal tip will precede the pen’s release of ink. In that case, the indentation is considered the pen’s initial writing. Hence, the ink that then fills the indentation is a “writing on top of writing” ( כתב ע"ג כתב ), which is not valid (neither in the case of a Get, nor in the case of a Sefer Torah).
Therefore, although Taz,8 concerning a Get, writes that when a reed or quill pen is not available it is permitted to use a metal-tipped pen, it is certainly preferable not to use such a pen.
Moreover, Aruch HaShulchan,9 concerning a Sefer Torah, writes that it is preferable not to use a metal-tipped pen, in the first place because it may puncture the parchment (see there for the issue involved), and because, just as in the case of an altar the Torah forbids using metal implements to fashion it because it is not proper that a substance usually employed to shorten life should be used on a structure that extends life,10 so too in the case of a Sefer Torah it is not proper to use metal-tipped pens to write it because a substance usually employed to shorten life should not be used to write the work that extends life ( "אורך ימים בימינה" ).
For this reason and other similar reasons, the Beis Din rules that the sofer did not fulfill the conditions of the contract and must therefore return the money he received to write the Sefer Torah.
רמ"א יורה דעה סימן רע"א סעיף ז': י"א שיש לכתוב בקולמוס שלא קנה ולא בנוצה (מרדכי פ"ק דגיטין).
ביאור הגר"א שם ס"ק כ"ג.
שם ס"ק י"ג בשם עט"ז.
סי' קס"ד, הוב"ד בפת"ש שם ס"ק כ"א.
פסקי דין - ירושלים דיני ממונות ובירורי יוחסין ח"ז פס"ד בעמוד רס"ג, תביעת מקח טעות בספר תורה שהוזמן בתורת "מהודר" ונכתב שלא בהידור, תיק ממונות מס' 171 - סא .
רמ"א אבן העזר סי' קכה סעי' ד': י"א דלכתחילה יש להחמיר שלא לכתוב בקולמוס של ברזל שלא יבא לידי חקיקה, עיין בערוה"ש שם סעי' ל"ה עפ"י ב"ש שם (וט"ז ס"ק ג') והגר"א.
פת"ש שם ס"ק ה' כתב בשם הלבוש דהקולמוס חוקקת וחופרת הכתב בתוך הקלף שהוא כשר לבדו, והדיו שממלא החקיקה הוי כתב על גבי כתב שהוא פסול. וכעי"ז בתו"ג שם ס"ק ג'.
עיין בט"ז שם דאם הוא צריך לכתוב בקולמוס של ברזל אין להחמיר כלל. וכ"ה בערוה"ש שם "הדבר פשוט" שבשעת הדחק כשאין קולמוס אחרת אין למנוע הגט בשביל זה, כי אין שום טעם מדינא והיא חומרא בעלמא. וכ"ה לפי ס' קסת סי' ג' סעי' ו וס' חסידים סי' רפ"ג. ברם עי' ב"ש שם ס"ק ל"ח, קנאת סופרים סי' ע"ט, ומאיר עיני סופרים סי' ד' סעי' ג' א'.
ועי' ערוה"ש יו"ד סי' רע"א סעי' ל"ח דאין כדאי לכתוב בנוצת ברזל חדא דנוקב ועוד דהתורה מארכת חיים והברזל מקצר. ועי' ערוה"ש אבהע"ז שם סעי' ל"ו דבשום מקום אין כותבין בקולמוס של ברזל. ועי' שו"ת שבט הלוי ח"א סי' ט"ז וח"ב סי' קל"ו.
ראה שמות פרק כ' פס' כ"ב ורש"י שם: שהמזבח נברא להאריך ימיו של אדם והברזל נברא לקצר ימיו של אדם אין זה בדין שיונף המקצר על המאריך. ועוד שהמזבח מטיל שלום בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים לפיכך לא יבא עליו כורת ומחבל.


  1. Excellent. However, I was bothered by a very different problem on this daf: Why in the case of hotzi chatzi grogeres v'henichah, v'chazar v'hotzi chatzi grogeres v'hinichah [b'he'elam echad - Rashi] is he chayav a chatas? Once he is maniach the first half that maaseh is finished and the second half is a different maaseh.

    As someone pointed out, if you ate a chatzi zayis of cheilev now and a chatzi zayis of cheilev an hour later, in one he'elam, you would clearly be potur. To me, the act of hanachah is a more final break off point than the expiration of bichdei achilas peras.

  2. But he ha'nosenes! The definition of a ma'aseh achilah is defined by kdei achilas pras, the definition of meleches machasheves is the he'elem (that's phrased poorly, but you get the idea...).

  3. I would agree that kdei achilas pras is a din in the achilah, but I think the he'elem is a din in the shgagah. The akirah, hotzaah and hanachah are dinim in the meleches machasheves, i.e. the maaseh of the chilul Shabbos.

    According to you, if a person did not know that carrying is osur, and he took an object from one point in reshus harabim to another point there, but did so pochus pochus midaled amos, would he be chayav?!

  4. Two components:

    Meleches - the tzuras ha'melachah (lacking in your case).

    Machasheves - the hitztarfus in machashavah.