More Discussions for this daf
1. Bas Kohen as source for prohibition of burning 2. Aleph Bais followed by Gimel Dales 3. Writing Zayin Without a Crown on Shabbos
4. סדר הקושיות 5. מידה כנגד מידה בהספד חכם

bezalel ostrow asks:

why is there no issur to write 2 zayins without crowns...they are still kosher letters even for a sefer torah and even if not let it be like the case of shem mishimon he can add the crowns later

bezalel ostrow, nyc usa

The Kollel replies:

A Sefer Torah containing a Zayin without a crown is Pasul. The fact that one can add the crown later does not make it Kasher.

Incidentally, there is an Isur to write them in a Sefer Torah without the crowns, but the Isur is only mid'Rabanan. If, for example, one is writing a letter which does not require crowns, one will indeed be Chayav (Min ha'Torah), as the Gemara concludes at the beginning of Daf 105.

B'Virchas Kol Tuv,

Eliezer Chrysler

Bezalel Ostrow asks further:

Thank you for your response ...but why do the zayin letters have to be kosher for a sefer torah in the first place to have an issur of writing on shabbos? As long as one has performed a creative task (which would be sufficient in another context eg if it wasn't a sefer torah ) it should be prohibited just like writing shem mishimon is assur even though he hasn't accomplished the intended name( shimon) he has still written shem which is a complete name and can have purpose in another context?

Bezalel Ostrow, NYC, USA

The Kollel replies:

(a) The Ritva and Shiltei Giborim (#2), as well as Rebbi Akiva Eiger (Teshuvos 1:21), explain that the Mishnah is discussing a case where the person was interested in writing letters that are Kosher l'Chatchilah for a Sefer Torah. Since Shabbos requires Meleches Machsheves, one is not Chayav unless he writes what he wanted to write. The Gemara says this explicitly with regard to a person who wants to throw an object four Amos and threw it eight Amos; he is Patur unless he didn't care how far away it fell (Shabbos 97b, Tosfos 72b DH Niskaven and Rishonim there).

Similarly, even if a person is Chayav for Roshem, i.e. drawings that are not alphanumeric characters (like Rebbi Yosi, Shabbos 103a), he is only Chayav if he completes what he intended to complete. He is not Chayav for Roshem if he intended to write a Zayin with a Tag and did not do that.

The Kehilas Yakov (48:2) questions this comparison between the Zayin without a Tag and throwing four instead of eight Amos. The Gemara (103a) says that if one scoops out a log to make a cup that holds 1 Kav, as soon as he finishes a 1/2-Kav-sized hole he is Chayav. Rashi explains that even though he intends to extend the hole, since some people keep it a 1/2-Kav-hole, he is Chayav. Similarly, we find that one who writes the letters Shin Mem out of Shmuel is Chayav, even though he plans to write the entire name Shmuel (103b). The Gemara on 97b says that this is not comparable to throwing 4 instead of 8, since in the latter case the object ends up in a different place entirely than he had wanted.

If so, one who writes a Zayin without a Tag when he intended to write one with a Tag should be Chayav, since some people leave it without the Tag. It is comparable to scooping out 1/2 Kav instead of finishing the Kav, or writing Shin Mem instead of finishing the word Shmuel - not to throwing four instead of eight!

The answer apparently is that a Zayin with a Tag is not just a bigger Zayin that one without a Tag. It is a different type of letter. It is a letter that is needed (at least l'Chatchilah) for a Sefer Torah, as opposed to a letter that is written in friendly letters. Thus, it is not comparable to the case of scooping out a log or writing Shmuel, where one has prepared a smaller version of the final product. This is a different product altogether (Minchas Ariel by Rav Matisyahu Shtzigel).

(b) Other Rishonim (Shiltei Giborim #1, Sefer Haterumah #114 in the name of RIVA) infer from our Gemara that without Tagin, the character is not called a letter at all. They prove from here that a Sefer Torah is not Kosher if its letters to not have Tagin (like the Tur end of YD 274).

Best wishes,

Mordecai Kornfeld