Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried
The inkwell of a sofer (1835),
translated from Hebrew by Ewa Gordon
Krakow 2019, Scriptum Publishing House
The publication was financed by CHABAD Lubavitch - Kraków
This book is a manual for learning the basics of Hebrew calligraphy for artistic purposes. It also provides general information about the profession of a sofer (copyist of the Sefer Torah).
The first part is a practical calligraphy textbook, the second part contains a translation of one of the classic works for sofers - Keset Hasofer - The inkwell of a sofer, written by rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (1804-1886), a Hungarian rabbi and dayan, known for his famous textbook of Jewish law Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.
Keset Hasofer was first published in 1835 and soon it became an indispensable book in the education of every Ashkenazi sofer. In his introduction to the first issue, Chatam Sofer (rabbi Moshe Schreiber 1762-1839) expressed his great approval for this work, stating: "from now on no permit or certificate will be issued for any sofer if he is not fluent in this book".
Keset Hasofer datails halachic laws associated with preparing and copying Sefer Torah, tefillin, mezuzah and Megillat Esther:
Who may be a professional sofer. On what kind of skin sofer may write. Ink, lines, quill, writing with right or left hand. Intention (kavanah) during the work. Spacing between the words and letters. Proper shape of each letter and its ornamentations. Holiness of The Divine Name. Layout of Sefer Torah, the measure of its columns. Sewing Sefer Torah. Correction of the sofer’s errors. Tefillin and its housings, tefillin of Rabeinu Tam. Writing mezuzot. Writing Megillat Esther.