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Hilchos Tefillin 36 (page 125)
מאות כ עד אות מ

An Improperly Formed Chaf
Similarities Between a Tes and a Lamed
Forming the Long Letters

An improperly formed chaf 
The upper and lower right hand corners of the chaf should be rounded. It is pasul if either one is squared. If the upper corner is squared and the lower one is rounded, the letter can probably be fixed if a qualified child reads it as a chaf. This is true even in tefillin and mezuzos, where there is a k'sidron requirement, because the letter conforms to the basic form. A second opinion permits repair even when the bottom corner is squared [and a child reads it correctly]. There is a machlokes as to whether a chaf written like this > -- i.e without a right side -- is kosher.
( משנת סופרים אות כ וביה"ל ד"ה אם; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1, 3 ו־5)
Similarities between a tes and a lamed 
The lamed is formed from a chaf and a vav; the lower right side is a chaf, and attached to the upper left corner of the chaf is a vav. Two tips rise from the top of the vav and point upwards. The tip to the right is longer than the tip to the left. In keeping with the comparison to a chaf, there is an opinion that holds that the the chaf-like base of the lamed should be extended to match the roof. A second opinion, based on the Zohar, is that the lamed should be shaped like an inverted tes, with its bottom shortened just like the cap on the right side of the tes. The custom follows this opinion.
( משנת סופרים אות ל; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2; עם הרחבה לפי המקורות)
Forming the long letters
The length of the longer letters that appear at the end of words ( chaf, nun, tzadi and fay) should be twice their width. These ending letters are written as though the regular letters opened from below and then extended downwards (e.g. as if the base of the chaf or tzadi opened up and a leg pointed out). Since the base of a letter is typically as long as its roof is wide, when a leg extends down from the bottom of a letter, the length of the letter becomes double its width. This is particularly important with the long chaf, because if the leg is not long enough, the letter could look like a reish.
( משנת סופרים אות ך וביה"ל ד"ה אם)


  • The tes is composed a chaf combined with a zayin (crowned with three tagim). The left side of the roof should curve into the interior of the letter (but not bend into it like a fay).
  • The yud is composed of four parts: the roof (a short, thick line), the leg (shorter than that of a vav, but not too short, and rounded on the right side), the tag (a short line which extends from the upper left corner) and the ukatz (a short tip that extends from the lower left corner).
  • The Gemara teaches that a yud without an ukatz is pasul. According to Rashi, the ukatz refers to the right leg. According to Rabbeinu Tam and many more Rishonim, it refers to the lower left tip as described above. There is also an opinion which defines the ukatz as the upper tag.

  • The components of the mem

  • Slanting the nun towards the right

  • How to write the word pen