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נחמה אודליה בת מזל
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Hilchos Tefillin 32 (page 103)

מאמצע הסעיף ובמדינות אלו עד אמצע הסעיף ופרשת והיה

The Ashkenazic and Sefardic Customs About Pesucha and Setuma

Measuring the Space of Nine Letters

Indenting the First Line According to the Rambam

ebdf2f24-6fef-4475-9827-4851a0b34edc.jpgThe Ashkenazic and Sefaradic customs about pesucha and setuma

The Sefardim follow the Mechaber’s opinion and the parshios of their tefillin are written as they appear in the Torah (Kadesh, V’haya ki yeviacha and Shema are pesuchos, V’haya im shemoa is a setuma). The Rama records that the minhag of Ashkenazim is to make all the parshios pesuchos, but some Ashkenazic Acharonim recommend following the Mechaber. (Contemporary minhag Ashkenaz will be covered in tomorrow’s page.) The rules of pesuchos and setumos apply equally to the tefillin of Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. According to the custom that V’haya im shemoa is setuma, the s’tima should be positioned between V’haya ki yeviacha and the parsha of V’haya im shemoa that follows it.

(סעיף לו וס"ק קס-קסא)

72d67ff9-a785-438d-803e-b26a8df11372.jpgMeasuring the space of nine letters

The space between two parshios should be equivalent to the width of at least nine letters of the script in use in that Torah, tefillin or mezuzah. The method of measuring is to envision that the word asher (aleph, shin, reish) was written three times in the space, including the gap of a ‘small letter’ (a yud) between the words and the six hair’s-breadth gap between the letters. B’dieved, a space of nine ‘small letters’ (nine yudin) between the parshios is kosher. There is a machlokes as to whether the sefer Torah and tefillin are kosher if the gaps between the words were omitted.

(סעיף לו וס"ק קסג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 193)

a10e8076-5473-467e-ac02-60563f3fc71c.jpgAn indented first line according to the Rambam

According to the Rambam, a parsha pesucha starts at the beginning of a line and a setuma starts in the middle of a line. L’chatchila, the parsha should start right at the beginning of the line. If it was indented more than the word ahser (three letters’ worth), it is pasul; a lesser indentation is kosher b’dieved. It is questionable if it can be considered a pesucha if there is a space wide enough to fit one wide letter. If the sofer realized his error before starting the next line, he can rectify the situation by indenting all the rest of the lines in the parsha to align with the mistakenly indented one.

(ס"ק קסב וביה"ל ד"ה ואם; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 198)

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  • According to the Rambam, a pesucha always starts a new line. A setuma, on the other hand, never starts at the beginning of a line. Either there are nine (or more) spaces before it on the same line, or it is indented somewhat on a new line if the requisite space appears at the end of the previous line.
  • According to the Rosh, a pesucha is parsha which begins after a nine (or more) letter space at the end of the former, or the beginning of the current, line. A setuma is a parsha which begins after a closed-in gap (i.e. the nine letter space is closed in with writing at both ends of it) or a blank line.
  • The parshios of Kadesh, V’haya ki yeviacha and Shema are all pesuchos when written in the Torah. The parsha of V’haya im shemoa is a setuma in the Torah. According to most Rishonim and the Mechaber, these parshios must be written for tefillin in the same manner as they appear in the Torah. A second opinion, supported by the Rama, permits writing V’haya im shemoa as a pesucha, b’dieved.
  • The contemporary custom regarding pesuchos and setumos in a sefer Torah
  • The setuma according to the Beis Yosef and Shulchan Aruch Harav (Graz)
  • The parsha setuma in tefillin today
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