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torah scroll writing


HikerIsaac

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i am a traditional jewish kosher torah scribe, and this requires the use of IG inks on parchment, the IG is usually very thick and many scribes use dip pens for this reason. the ink (https://merkazhasofrim.com/sofrus/inks/hadar-ink.html) lays on top of the parchment and stays as a shiny layer. i myself use a architect nib on a twsby vac700r but i am thinking of getting an oblique and holding the flat part of the nib perpendicular to the top pf the paper to acheive this same angle and variation. the issue is that it will in all likelyhood dry on my pen and become unusable. does anyone know how the IG/thick dip inks write with the indigraph or have reccommendation for a pen for thick ink?

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7 hours ago, HikerIsaac said:

i am a traditional jewish kosher torah scribe, and this requires the use of IG inks on parchment, the IG is usually very thick and many scribes use dip pens for this reason. the ink (https://merkazhasofrim.com/sofrus/inks/hadar-ink.html) lays on top of the parchment and stays as a shiny layer. i myself use a architect nib on a twsby vac700r but i am thinking of getting an oblique and holding the flat part of the nib perpendicular to the top pf the paper to acheive this same angle and variation. the issue is that it will in all likelyhood dry on my pen and become unusable. does anyone know how the IG/thick dip inks write with the indigraph or have reccommendation for a pen for thick ink?

 

Shalom and Shona Tova!

 

I thought that using a steel nib is not kosher. The torah scribes I know use quills.

 

I do not use iron gall inks but others do, and there are several discussions of their use in fountain pens on this site. I suggest that you search for Iron gall ink. You will almost surely get the answers you need.

 

I have never written the style of Hebrew used for torah scrolls. For other (non-cursive) styles, I use an italic nib held at 60º from the writing line, as Izzy Pludwinski recommends. But I make no claim of personal competence in Hebrew calligraphy. If you need a particular, non-standard grind, I suggest you consult a nib technician and have a nib custom-ground to your specifications. 

 

Happy writing!

 

David

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I do not know much about Yiddish writing, so can hardly give good advice. There are many IG inks that can be used safely on FPs. If the issue is permanence and not strictly IG, then the choice is a lot larger. If it is black, then I understand you can find the blackest black currently available at https://culturehustle.com/collections/black, look for Blink (supposedly the blackest black ink) and there are many other black permanent inks available. Among them are some soot-based inks that might fit.

 

A second alternative is getting a pen that can work with most inks (including India ink), like Noodler's Boston Safety and substituting the nib by one suitable for Hebrew writing.

If you are to be ephemeral, leave a good scent.

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hey guys and thanks,

the font is this https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Example_of_Ashuri_Ashkenaz_Alphabet_on_Parchment.jpg and Alephbetgimmel.svgthick on the horizontal and mostly thin on the vertical

it needs to be a very specific permanent IG made special for this purpose (two or three brands in the world), and it has a stated density of 17 whatever that means. 

the nib can be steel halachicaly, however most prefer the traditional quill or plastic quill substitute.

 

 

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I find this topic fascinating. I looked up the link in the first post. I would say that TWSBI Vac 700 pen is a good choice for this endeavor. They are made to be taken apart to be cleaned. David, @dms525 can refer you to some good nib grinders. They may be able to adjust a pen to use the ink sold by Merkaz Hasofrim if you sent them the ink with the pen. 

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson

 

"I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

 

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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If I understood it well, ink density is the percentage of light reflected from the paper and the ink.

 

The problem then becomes -again if I understood it well- how to match pen/ink within the standard specs of Torah reproduction. As I am no scholar in Yiddish ink composition, I am very limited. I do not know if the composition and making process is also standardized or if there is some lee way on how the ink is made and the relative composition (components and proportions). I seem to understand that the composition has been adapted with times to improve durability, so I suppose some room exists.

 

If there is some room for ink composition, it is a matter of defining the limits and seeing to which extent they can be stretched to produce a fountain pen ink. Maybe just diluting it a bit in water may help, or even several existing IG formulations could do.

 

If a fountain pen-suitable ink cannot be found/produced, then I would stick again to the Noodler's Boston Safety pen, which is supposed to be able to use dip-pen inks (it may require more maintenance, but no dipping), and then the problem would be reduced to finding a suitable nib of the correct material.

 

The nice thing about Noodler's Boston Safety is that it won't break the bank and is designed to be tinkered with, so substituting the nib should not be difficult.

 

But, in any case, I would rather advice consulting with a specialized learned scholar (a Rabbi?). As I understand, writing or copying a Torah is a religious activity demanding not just writing but a complex belief and life system to accompany the process, since it is understood as a way to communicate with the divinity and demanding of the utmost respect.

 

OTOH, if you are intent on becoming a Sofer, you may just start practicing with any pen and ink the right script copying any text, until you feel confident enough in your hand to move on to a calamus, feather or dip-pen and then, once you feel confident with them, consult with a Rabbi to see if you are ready to properly start the endeavor.

 

Not that I know, but generally speaking, there are supposed to be no shortcuts to communion with any divinity, although the wealthy/impatient will always find someone willing to sell them a shortcut for a "modicum (relatively speaking) price" (whether it will be effective or not is open to discussion and I leave for each one to consider, it is not a territory I want to/should/would like to venture into).

If you are to be ephemeral, leave a good scent.

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This is a very fascinating thread.  Since Hebrew is written right to left, I suppose a left-handed scribe would have an advantage.   I intend to follow this thread so as to learn.  Thank you for this interesting post.

 

Cliff

“The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.”  John Adams

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can learn more about Yiddish Here...

 

Just to clarify, Hebrew and Yiddish are two different languages. A/The Torah is written in the Hebrew language and uses the Hebrew alphabet.

Yiddish, to my knowledge uses Hebrew letters and uses primarily the Germanic and some aspects of eastern European language. Yiddish was the "lingua-franca" of Eastern European Jews and included words from local Germanic languages (like dialects, I think).

 

The process of copying a complete Torah scroll is a long, tedious and exacting process that requires an 100% accurate copy with NO erasures or errors of ANY kind. It is my understanding that it is also done with certain specially prepared, kosher inks.

 

Finally, I am pretty sure that although you could create a copy of the Torah using a fountain pen it would NOT be considered Kosher for use in a formal Jewish religious setting.

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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Yiddish is an amalgam of Hebrew and Medieval German. It is written with the Hebrew alphabet. While the Torah is written in Hebrew, and modern Hebrew is the official language of Israel, Yiddish had a rather substantial  literature, including works by Sholem Aleichem, Sholem Asch and I.B. Singer. Singer, in fact, won the Nobel Prize in literature for his works in Yiddish. The popular Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof is based on Sholem Aleichem's story, "Tevya's Daughters." From the 1880's to maybe the 1940's there was also a vibrant Yiddish theater.

 

Note that, during the Jewish Diaspora, a number of languages developed from combinations of Hebrew and the local language - Yiddish in Central and Eastern Europe, Ladino in Spain (before the Jews were expelled in 1492), and even Aramaic, after the Babylonian exile. Aramaic was the language Jesus of Nazareth probably spoke. 

 

David

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14 minutes ago, dms525 said:

Yiddish is an amalgam of Hebrew and Medieval German. It is written with the Hebrew alphabet. While the Torah is written in Hebrew, and modern Hebrew is the official language of Israel, Yiddish had a rather substantial  literature, including works by Sholem Aleichem, Sholem Asch and I.B. Singer. Singer, in fact, won the Nobel Prize in literature for his works in Yiddish. The popular Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof is based on Sholem Aleichem's story, "Tevya's Daughters." From the 1880's to maybe the 1940's there was also a vibrant Yiddish theater.

 

Note that, during the Jewish Diaspora, a number of languages developed from combinations of Hebrew and the local language - Yiddish in Central and Eastern Europe, Ladino in Spain (before the Jews were expelled in 1492), and even Aramaic, after the Babylonian exile. Aramaic was the language Jesus of Nazareth probably spoke. 

 

David

Thanks for this clarification. I didn't know that Yiddish was written with the Hebrew aleph-bet. I also didn't realize that Aramaic was a derivative of Hebrew. 

 

"One can not waste time worrying about small minds . . . If we were normal, we'd still be using free ball point pens." —Bo Bo Olson

 

"I already own more ink than a rational person can use in a lifetime." —Waski_the_Squirrel

 

I'm still trying to figure out how to list all my pens down here.

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thanks for all the input.

im just going to reply generally.

the torah is written in hebrew as it was spoken 4000 years ago, and may be written with a steel nib ( i know this because i learnt the rules before becoming a scribe) the torah may be erased (some parts not the lords name) in the course of writing. phylacreries and mezzuzot may not be erased once the scribe has continued on to the next letter.

the ink has to be black and contain among other things gall. it also cannot be erased.

i will look into the pens suggested above and will let you know how it goes.

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  • 2 months later...

i decided to grind a cheap 1.1 to an oblique italic and see how it works by holding the flat of the nib tip perpendicular to the top of the parchment. i thought it was pretty good except for ink flow which remains an issue unless i squeeze some out of the converter before i begin writing as the ink has a very high suface tension and is also quite viscous.

I would apprecciate if someone could reccomend a 1.1 pen with a really wet feed? some preference to gold or platinum nibs if available

 

 

sidways picture top line
regular script

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Oh, that looks beautiful!

 

Before you get another pen/nib, you may try to increase the flow yourself by running something through the nib slit, widening it and thus encouraging ink flow, if you feel comfortable with this DIY approach.

 

You may use a brass sheet (available at some dealers' shops) or gauging sheets, the metal inlet of old CD labels or RFID-metal sheets, a razor (probably the worst recommendation as you have to be veeeery careful not to damage your feed underneath the nib or scratch the nib's surface; I only mention it for the sake of completeness), or the little sheets that come with a Pilot Parallel Pen.

 

The Parallel Pen itself in 1,5 mm is also a recommendation for you to try. The several PPP I own in different widths are all quite generous regarding their ink flow, and these pens can mostly be acquired for a very low price of 10-20 $, depending on where you shop and where you are situated.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all

 

I just noticed this topic today. The discussion was very interesting.

 

However, there was a small inaccuracy. Aramaic is not derived from Hebrew. It is true that there is considerable classical Jewish literature in Aramaic such as both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. At some stage Aramaic had a similar status as an international language as has English today. There are a variety of Aramaic dialects (including Syriac) and it is still a spoken language today (though not widely).

 

Good luck with the writing

 

Chaim 

Chaim Seymour

David Elazar 8

Givat Shemuel

Israel

54032

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Interesting discussion.  

The amateur choir I'm has just started working on a piece that might be in Ladino, or a similar dialect from after the Diaspora, because IIRC the source of the piece is Turkey.  

The summer after my freshman year in college, one of my professors ran a 1-credit drawing and painting workshop which was a two-week trip to Spain.  When we were in the Costa del Sol, I took a local bus into Malaga, partly to find an art store to get a new sketchbook, and partly to find a pharmacy because I was afraid I had developed skin poisoning (yeah try trying to explain that in a language you don't speak :wacko:).  There was a guy from LA in the pharmacy at the same time (apparently he had "tourista") and we got talking, and ended up hanging out most of the afternoon.  The guy worked at a hospital ER (doing intake, i.e., paperwork) and said he once had a patient come through who SPOKE Ladino.  And he said it sounded like Spanish, only without the lisping -- because that comes into Castilian Spanish with Carlos V (son of Ferdinand and Isabella); apparently he had a lisp, and of course everyone wanted to do what the king (later Holy Roman Emperor) did -- so AFTER the Diaspora happened.  But my choir director said that other dialects of Spanish (such as what is spoken in some places in South America and Latin America) also do not have the lisp.

Of course now I'm thinking of the story my friend (whose father was from Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain, which is apparently a somewhat different language -- NOT a dialect as I had thought -- from Castilian Spanish as well) told about when she was taking a French class in college and her professor was going "Why are you speaking Frenchwith a *European* accent?"  (She still has relatives in Spain, and speaks both Spanish and a little Gallician -- and if I ever have the time and money to do the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, I'm paying for her to go with me to play translator.... :thumbup:)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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7 hours ago, inkstainedruth said:

Interesting discussion.  

The amateur choir I'm has just started working on a piece that might be in Ladino, or a similar dialect from after the Diaspora, because IIRC the source of the piece is Turkey.  

The summer after my freshman year in college, one of my professors ran a 1-credit drawing and painting workshop which was a two-week trip to Spain.  When we were in the Costa del Sol, I took a local bus into Malaga, partly to find an art store to get a new sketchbook, and partly to find a pharmacy because I was afraid I had developed skin poisoning (yeah try trying to explain that in a language you don't speak :wacko:).  There was a guy from LA in the pharmacy at the same time (apparently he had "tourista") and we got talking, and ended up hanging out most of the afternoon.  The guy worked at a hospital ER (doing intake, i.e., paperwork) and said he once had a patient come through who SPOKE Ladino.  And he said it sounded like Spanish, only without the lisping -- because that comes into Castilian Spanish with Carlos V (son of Ferdinand and Isabella); apparently he had a lisp, and of course everyone wanted to do what the king (later Holy Roman Emperor) did -- so AFTER the Diaspora happened.  But my choir director said that other dialects of Spanish (such as what is spoken in some places in South America and Latin America) also do not have the lisp.

Of course now I'm thinking of the story my friend (whose father was from Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain, which is apparently a somewhat different language -- NOT a dialect as I had thought -- from Castilian Spanish as well) told about when she was taking a French class in college and her professor was going "Why are you speaking Frenchwith a *European* accent?"  (She still has relatives in Spain, and speaks both Spanish and a little Gallician -- and if I ever have the time and money to do the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, I'm paying for her to go with me to play translator.... :thumbup:)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

You are one VERY interesting person you know!  👍

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Hi all

 

I just noticed this topic today. The discussion was very interesting.

 

However, there was a small inaccuracy. Aramaic is not derived from Hebrew. It is true that there is considerable classical Jewish literature in Aramaic such as both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. At some stage Aramaic had a similar status as an international language as has English today. There are a variety of Aramaic dialects (including Syriac) and it is still a spoken language today (though not widely).

 

Good luck with the writing

 

Chaim 

Chaim Seymour

David Elazar 8

Givat Shemuel

Israel

54032

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Hi Ruth

Your post was fascinating. In Israel we have a fair amount of Yiddish speakers and some Ladino speakers. A close friend of mine spoke Ladino.

What Yiddish and Ladino have in common is that they branched off from German and Spanish centuries ago. They both preserved classical forms of their language and are of interest to students of the history of linguistics.

The Biblical and Talmudic commentator, Rashi, will often translate terms into 11th century French. I always enjoy seeing words that have survived into modern English or French

Chaim

Chaim Seymour

David Elazar 8

Givat Shemuel

Israel

54032

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9 hours ago, Stompie said:

 

You are one VERY interesting person you know!  👍

Indeed, but for Christmas I'm going to send Ruth a box of paragraph breaks 😉

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and the world is a worse place for it. - markh

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