Chapter 12

How to proceed when one makes an error in the Name, or spoils it in some way

1. Consider the case of one who was supposed to write the Name, but intended to write Yehudah, and then forgot to include the dalet. The Name was written, but not sanctified, and so it is invalid. It seems to me that one may not erase it, but must cut it out.

2. If one was supposed to write Yehudah, and intended to write Yehudah, but accidentally left out the dalet, he should superscribe the dalet above the word. Nowadays we do not superscribe, because of the possibility that even though the dalet is superscribed, the reader may read the Name. If one gets into this situation, after he has superscribed the dalet, he should cut out the hey, write dalet and hey, and then cut out the superscript dalet.

3. But if he intended to write the Name, and wrote it where he was supposed to write Yehudah, it is forbidden to superscribe a dalet (since in doing this he erases the Name). Even if he remembered directly he had written yud-hey, and wanted to complete it with vav-dalet-hey, he may not, since yud-hey also may not be erased. Even after the fact, if one did this, he may not leave it, but must cut it out.

4. If he was supposed to write the Name, and sanctified it, and then accidentally wrote Yehudah, he should make a hey from the dalet, and then erase the final hey. Some say that he must make the dalet into hey first, and then erase the final hey (Peraḥ Shushan, klal 2, citing the Mahara”l), but some say it makes no difference if he erases the final hey first (Rema`).

5. If one found this in a sefer Torah – that is,Yehudah where there is supposed to be a Name – and one cannot rely on an explanation from the scribe as to whether he sanctified it or not, one should be stringent since he does not know for sure. One cannot fix it by making hey from dalet, since perhaps the scribe did not sanctify it and intended to write Yehudah (in this case we don’t say that we can sanctify at completion as we said above in 10:8); here too he must cut it out completely. One cannot fix it, in case he did sanctify it, in which case yud-hey may not be erased, and therefore he cannot fix it except by removing the entire sheet or cutting out the word (see Excursus 13).

6. And vice versa: if it was supposed to say Yehudah but actually someone had written the Blessed Name (and the sofer is not available), it seems to me that one should write in the dalet above, or erase the hey and write dalet-hey. But if one found a Tetragrammaton in a place where it should have read “yihyeh,” in my opinion one should be stringent (see the aforementioned Excursus, where I shall, God willing, also explain what happens if, in a place where it should read “l’eloheihem,” a non-holy word, it actually read “l’elohim”).

7. If one erred and added a letter to the Name. For example, if one wrote the first hey of the Tetragrammaton twice, he may erase the repetition and the letters after it, since as soon as one writes a letter which is not part of the Name, it loses its holiness from there and onwards, so far as erasing is concerned (Benei Yonah). If one added at the beginning of the Name, for instance if he wrote two yuds, he may erase the first and the Name continues in holiness (Rama`).

8. If one found “adonai” spelled with a vav, he should cut out the vav and extend the dalet up to the nun; this does not count as erasing the Name, because that vav had no sanctity since the Name is only four letters (א”ר, 142:3, citing גליון מג”א, it seems that he means the same as Ateret Z’kenim in 143). This is also the case if one wrote the Tetragrammaton with two vavs; he should cut out the second vav and extend the first vav and the final hey slightly.

9. So too if one omitted a letter from the Name – subsequent letters have no sanctity. For instance, if one forgot the yud in aleph-lamed-hey-yud-mem, he may erase the mem and write yud-mem, because there is no relevance or meaning whatsoever to putting mem after the word “aleph-lamed-hey,” and scraping it is better than appending it to the Name (Zikharon Yosef, 16, 17) (and if one finds this in a sefer Torah and the sofer is not available, see Excursus 13). So too if one accidentally wrote “elohnu,” missing the yud, he may scrape off the “nu,” and write “einu,” since the “nu” did not acquire the holiness of the Name, the Name not being complete without the yud (Mahara”m of Lublin, and most aḥronim); see above, 11:7. [Err.] And if one found the Name “Elohim” or “Eloheinu” without the hey, so that it reads “elim” or “eleinu,” it seems to me that he should erase the mem, and with intent that it be holy make a hey from the yud, and then write “im,” and likewise erase the “nu,” make a hey from the yud, and then write “einu,” and so too in similar cases (see Excursus 14).

10. If one found “eloha” without the vav, he cannot fix it, but must bury the sheet or cut it out.

11. If one was supposed to write “eloheikhem” and forgot to write the khaph, so that it read “elohim,” it is forbidden, in my opinion, to erase the mem and write “khem.”

12. If the yud in a Name was bigger than it should be, so that it looked like a little reish, and a child read it as reish, it seems to me that he may erase it and write yud, provided that while he is scraping he is extremely careful that at no point it takes the form of yud (see below, para. 16). It is better that he should fix it with ink, with intent that it be holy, until it takes the form of yud, such that the whole Name is sanctified. So too if one found a yud whose points were elongated such that a child read it as ḥet (see 8:7); if he can fix it with ink, he should. If he must scrape it, he must scrape it in such a way that it never takes the form of yud (if the yuds of the aleph touch its roof more than appropriate, see Excursus 5).

13. If the khaph in “eloheikha” had a roof which was longer than appropriate, ideally one would extend the leg until it is twice as long as the roof. If he cannot, he should scrape from the roof, see 8:9, and he should be very careful not to start by scraping a little bit of the roof, but should start from the point closest to the leg. The reason for this will be explained, God willing, in paragraph 17.

14. If ink dropped onto a letter of the Name, or if it became invalid in some other way, and one needed to scrape some of it away, or could not scrape only part because that would be ḥak tokhot and so he must scrape it all, he may scrape or erase in order to fix the Name; this is not erasure but emendation (see below, para. 17, for how one should scrape).

15. Likewise, if one letter became stuck to another, he may scrape between them (provided this does not constitute ḥak tokhot; see above, 8:15-16). He should be extremely careful, absolutely as much as he can, to scrape only the join, and not the letter itself (Malekhet Shlomo/Shamayim). He need not go over the Name with a pen afterwards to sanctify it (Rosh).

16. So too, if one found a hole in the side of a letter of the Name, such that it was invalidated (see chap. 7), he should scrape a little bit from the letter, so that it is surrounded by parchment, and then he should put a patch on the back of the parchment so that the hole is not visible. The little bit he scrapes from the letter does not count as erasure, but as repair, since before this it was not valid, and now he has made it valid (see Excursus 14).

17. A hey in the Name whose leg became stuck to the roof. If the join is wide enough that anyone would read it as ḥet, whether it was made like that or whether it became like that afterwards, one may erase the leg and amend it (Ria”m), since we explained in chapter 8 that one must erase the entire leg, erasing the join alone not being sufficient because of ḥak tokhot. Therefore, if one started to scrape the leg from top to bottom, as soon as he has separated them just a little, it assumes the form of hey, and it is then forbidden to scrape it further (and if a Name was made by ḥak tokhot, it is forbidden to scrape it, as we have explained in 11:1), but it is still invalid, now because of ḥak tokhot. Therefore, one must take care to scrape from bottom to top, and to write it afresh afterwards with the intent that it be holy (Rema`). Always, when one needs to scrape from a letter of the Name, he must be careful of this (and if many heys are stuck in this way, see Excursus 15).

18. If it was not completely stuck, but touched only a little bit such that it still resembled hey – there are two courses of action. If it happened at the time of writing, it is also permitted to scrape, as we have explained. But if they were separate at the time of writing, and later came into contact, since it was a valid Name and still resembles hey, it is not clear whether one may scrape it or not (see Excursus 15).

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