Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Daily Email – 26 Tamuz

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Hilchos Tefillin 32 (page 88)
מאמצע סעיף טו אבל שאר פוסקים עד סעיף ט"ז
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The ‘Size of a Small Letter’
The Length of the Legs of the Letters
The Left Leg of the Heh
e37ee04e-8002-4683-a020-a4e2a3a916d0.jpg The ‘size of a small letter’

There is a halachic notion of the ‘os ketana’ (size of a small letter) that pertains to many areas of stam. A ‘small letter’ means a properly formed yud, including its left point (see Mishnas Sofrim siman 36, os yud). In the context of small or medium lettering, the size of the yud should be commensurate with the size of the rest of the writing. There is a discussion amongst the poskim as to whether large lettering requires an equally large yud or a medium-sized one. The poskim do not define what constitutes "large" or "medium" lettering.

(סעיף טו, ס"ק מד, וביה"ל ד"ה מלוא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 77)

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The length of the legs of the letters

The following are examples of where the measurement of a ‘small letter’ is used: the left leg of the heh, the left base of the tav, the left leg of the kuf, the base of the lamed, and the legs of the letters daled, ches, reish, the straight (or long) chaf, peh and tzadi. All of these should be the ‘size of a small letter.’ Likewise, if the leg of any letter cracks, the remaining top part must be the size of a ‘small letter’ in order to be kosher. If the upper section is less than a ‘small letter,’ the os is pasul even if a child can read it correctly. (If the child cannot read it correctly, it is pasul