Friday, 15 Kislev, 5782
  |  November 19, 2021

Safrus Expert Claims Ksav Chabad is “Extremely Problematic”

Melbourne sofer Rabbi Eli Gutnick responds to Rabbi Reuvain Mendlowitz who claimed in a lecture that the Alter Rebbe's ksav is "extremely problematic" and disqualified tefillin, mezuzos and Sifrei Torah used for centuries. Full Story, Audio

Mrs. Shula Hartstein, 86, OBM

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The Rambam in my back pocket
October 19, 2021 11:04 am

Oy! I guess I’ll only use Chabad around the world for food. Will have to refuse an Aliyah.

Do Chabad a favor and dont come for the food
Reply to  The Rambam in my back pocket
October 21, 2021 1:57 am

I can’t tell if this is sarcastic. If it isn’t then why would you trust the food. I am sure there is also an ignorant rov you can find to call that treif. But… I guess you can call on a snag to host you in hoopitzville. Oh wait….

מהרסיך ומחריביך ממך יצאו
October 19, 2021 11:12 am

As not a single of our “Rabonim” spoke up when a “Chabad” individual (back by his “Chabad Mashpia” from Cincinnati) falsely accused and slandered tens of our local senior and expert Chabad Sofrim.

Then what’s the wonder that someone from the outside can do the same and even better.

There is a major difference.
Reply to  מהרסיך ומחריביך ממך יצאו
October 20, 2021 5:02 am

The individual involved in the “Mezuzagate” from Chicago was pointing out flaws which are universally problematic. It doesn’t matter if you are Chabad, Litvish or Sefardi, things like touching letters are problematic by everyone and he was alleging that they weren’t being checked properly.

Here on the other hand, the guy seems to be saying that Chabad script is inherently problematic, no matter how well you write it and no matter how well you check it.

Big Difference.

Same thing same boat
Reply to  There is a major difference.
October 20, 2021 8:31 pm

They both criticized and pointing out issues which are not necessarily an issue according to the OUR Poskim Alter rebbi Tzemach Tzedek, and the way Lubavhich veteran Sofrim wrote and treated STa”M since.

Thank you
October 19, 2021 11:13 am

Thank you rabbi Gutnik for taking a stand

It's important to respond publicly
October 19, 2021 11:13 am

Even though this is one rabbi at one shiur, the fact is that the Alter Rebbe ksav gets criticism outside Chabad from rabbis and poskim who should know better.

Mitzvah lefarsem, and to set the record straight once and for all….

Very disappointed
October 19, 2021 11:44 am

How can one be so simple to think it is ok to go ahead and say this as a ruling ,besides playing with fire ,it is simply not normal (unless you come from certain backgrounds) to speak with such brazenness and generality about an eida kedosha.

Ask mechila
October 19, 2021 11:44 am

This man needs to fly to haditch to ask mechila from the Alter Rebbe
Mamosh a rachmonus on someone who thinks he can ask questions on the alter rebbe

Thank you for this article
October 19, 2021 11:56 am

I have given balebatim in my community alter rebbe tefillin and then they go off to Israel and are told by typical non chabad sofrim that they are problematic. Most shluchim have no clue how to respond. This is very educational. Thank you!

October 19, 2021 11:56 am

As soon as I heard him say I don’t want to get into politics I know there’s something buried over here and had it not been For other issues Etc he would not have felt the freedom to express this interesting views.
Thank you Rabbi gutnik for the good article.

Kariano deigarto....
October 19, 2021 12:33 pm

Please Rabbi be the one that takes care of this .start by calling yeshiva university and ask for answering those false allegations.

mr. meir schwabinger
October 19, 2021 12:50 pm

as a 20 year baal teshuva I feel that issues like this are ridiculous , promotes division and ill feelings amongst yidden

Reply to  mr. meir schwabinger
October 20, 2021 7:17 am

Schwabinger, did you go to Georgen Shul?

Friend from Down Under
October 19, 2021 1:26 pm

Thank you Rabbi Eli Gutnick for your thorough and comprehensive responsa, and for rightfully and justifiably defending the ‘Alter’ Rebbe’s honor and dignity in such an articulate and dignified manner.

This article should maybe have an introduction
October 19, 2021 1:33 pm

The Rebbe would start letters to these kind of people with: מסופקני האם לענות על שאלותיו כיון שכנראה רק בא לקנתר אבל אעמידו בחזקת כשרות. This person isn’t even asking, he’s simply attacking and “passeling” The Alter Rebbe, Rebbe Maharash (who was a sofer and wrote obviously with Ksav Chabad) and the other five Rebbeim. Plus thousands of Jews and Sofrim for tens of years with a zilzul that is not worthy of being answered. The Russian (not only Chabad) way of making a beis is not lechatchila?? This is a posek of Stam worthy of recognition? By the way… Read more »

Thank you
October 19, 2021 2:02 pm

Thank you Rabbi Gutnick for this well written and informative article.

Well written
October 19, 2021 2:36 pm

Thank you.

Levi Rapoport
October 19, 2021 2:39 pm

Some Lubavitcher Rabonim have reservations about Alter Rebbe ksav. R’ Landau made his Sofrim change the back of the Bais so it’s clearly not a Chof. Also, there’s an issue of lack of Mesorah Ish M’pi ish. V’yesh lharich.

Bnei Brak
Reply to  Levi Rapoport
October 19, 2021 9:20 pm

Correct that’s a result of a Rabbi living in Bnei Brak…

Rabbanim with reservations
Reply to  Levi Rapoport
October 20, 2021 9:43 am

there are sofrim out there that aren’t experienced enough and write the alter rebbe’s ksav with errors that make shailos. For example the left yerech of the ches if not done correctly can make it look like a tov etc.

Rabbi Gutnick is the best Sofer!
October 19, 2021 3:00 pm

Thank you Rabbi Gutnick for your clear & elaquente explaination!

not right
October 19, 2021 3:57 pm

to put it simply he should be carefull the way he speaks about the alter rebbe in general i hope he thinks again on what he said it was very unrespectfull.

Chabad K'sav
October 19, 2021 4:10 pm

I was trained by an expert Bobover sofer. He demonstrated that the Chabad k’sav is essentially Arizal but its appearance is due to the cut of the pen – creating a curved edge. This was done mainly by Russian sofrim and I have seen a Beis Yosef sefer Torah that at first glance looked like it was Chabad. The thick heel of the beis is in accordance with the Si’ach Sofer where all the differences between Beis Yosef and Arizal are listed. Many years ago, I was shown parshios from the time if the Tzemach Tzedek and the strokes had… Read more »

Thank You
October 19, 2021 4:21 pm

Rabbi Gutnick truly is a leader in this industry!

Oldest scam in the books
October 19, 2021 5:37 pm

If you claim tefillin or mezuzos are not kosher cause they are admz….than you get to sell a new pair of tefillin as well as sell the old kosher one again.

October 19, 2021 5:48 pm

here is a link to a bais yosef sefer torah with the alter rebbe”s letter beis


October 19, 2021 8:26 pm

We actually have in our shul where I live a older Sefaradi Sefer Torah that I noticed has a very similar ekev to the Alter Rebbe Beis.

The Scam of Ksav Arizal !!!
October 19, 2021 9:30 pm

The described Beis with a “Thick heel” is the way it is and was in “Ksav ArizaI”.

How nowadays do “Sofrim” and “Sochrim” sell Sta”m with a different Beis shape calling it “Arizal”, when in fact this Beis is adopted in Isreal about 150 years ago???

October 19, 2021 9:30 pm

An expert Sofer brought to my attention that the Mishneh Brura claims that the letter פ written in Stam for generations universally is a פ שבורה and makes up his own style of a פ

This expert Sofer also informed me that according to the Alter Rebbe in Hilchos Teffillin סי’ ל”ב סעי’ נ”ב בסופה all Teffilin written by all Sofrim (including this Sofer who mocks Chabad Ksav) are posul bedieved פסול בדיעבד! only
Chabad Sofrim write them correctly like the Alter Rebbe.

Conclusion: one must follow with the Alter Rebbe and not deviate an iota from his holy rulings.

Chidush Sofrim - Rabbi Yakov Zilberman
October 20, 2021 1:05 am

Rabbi yakov zilberman was an expert sofer in Montreal who knew a lot about this topic.Much can be written about this man.
He wrote a sefer on the alter rebbe’s hilchos sta”m which was finally published about a year ago, 30 years after his passing. Kehot sells it.
He discusses the alter rebbe’s ksav at length.

It's a secret 🤫
October 20, 2021 9:47 am

But guess what?
He writes there things that almost all Chabad veteran Sofrim say however Rabbi Gutnik himself and his fellow “Today’s modern Sochrim and Sofrim” don’t like it!!!

For example:
The heel of the Beis is perfectly okay and might even be intentionally rounded on the bottom right!

The YUD does not necessarily have to have the Kotz protruding down and square is perfectly Kosher!

But the Rabbi Gutnik when trying to stick up for his “Alter Rebbe’s Ksav”, (possibly unintentionally) slanders the traditional Lubavhich Ksav!!

Look for yourself….

A sofer
Reply to  It's a secret 🤫
October 21, 2021 12:35 pm

I have read this 3 times snd I have no idea what you are trying to say….

What’s our issue
October 20, 2021 2:28 pm

1) how come anyone even slightly criticizes chabad we go into super victim mode? So he doesn’t like us, who cares? 2) even within chabad so from there are many who will claim that such and such other chabad so from are doing it wrong. So the alter rebbes ksav being complicated is nothing new. 3) he was very respectful. He said it’s a beautiful ksav. That it’s an issue for NON chabad people. The same way chabad people don’t rely on the OU for kashering because we have a different halachik opinion. Litvish Ashkanazim have a different halachik opinion… Read more »

October 21, 2021 2:40 am

I had Alte rebbe ksav in my Tefillin and R.Marlow ah, didn’t like the ksav. I switched to Ari zl.

Nothing new here
October 24, 2021 7:00 pm

This Rabbi is just keeping the Mesorah he received where he grew up which is to bash Chabad. It’s been going on for a long time and won’t end anytime soon. Chabad is very successful and public and is an easy target. Yiddishkeit is fading in Y.U. where Yiddishkeit is taught in a way to blend with the goyim. Yiddishkeit is flourishing in Chabad and they are jealous of how proud we are to be yidden. In Y.U. they teach that you don’t really need to wear a yarmulke, and other such leniencies. You can barely tell a Y.U. bochur… Read more »