STAM 101: Hakafas Gevil

Each letter in STAM must be “mukaf gevil” – surrounded by gevil (i.e. klaf). If even one letter is not mukaf gevil, the whole item is pasul. A letter could be considered not mukaf gevil in one of two ways: Either it touches another letter – at any point in time; or if it was originally written so that it touches any existing edge of the klaf. However, if the letter was written without touching any edge, and then the klaf was ripped (or cut or developed a hole) afterwards, and the letter is now touching an edge, it is still kosher as is. In the event that a letter is pasul due to a lack of hakafas gevil, it can usually be fixed and made kosher by erasing a small part of the problematic letter so that it will be surrounded by klaf. As long as this repair did not change the ikar tzura of the letter it can be done even in tefilin and mezuzos (without presenting a problem of shelo kisidran).

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