A question from someone typesetting a ketubah:
“I’m using typefaces that have a hand-done feel to them, but obviously they are mechanical. There are some typefaces (Guttman Stam and Guttman Stam 1) that recreate a sofrut look. One of these uses taggin and one is plain. I have no pretension to be following sofrut laws, but I’d prefer to use a typeface that won’t look completely ridiculous or pretentious to somebody familiar with the customs of how these documents are traditionally written… Is it appropriate to use the font with the taggin as the general typeface, or are those letters with taggin only reserved for special instances of letters?”
That is…instead of going for something instantly identifiable as “font that came with your computer,” like this:
she’s going for something that is both prettier and evokes some of our more cherished solemn traditions, like this:
“I just had this nightmare scenario in mind where I had my beatuiful, tag-saturated ketubah on my wall and then became friends with someone savvy in sofrut who looked at it and saw the equivalent of an entire contract composed entirely of those giant gothic storybook letters that are supposed to come at the beginning of a paragraph in an illuminated manuscript”
Like this, that is to say:
where it ought to look like this:
The answer: in our days, tagin are letter-specific, not context-specific; they generally occur on the letters שעטנז גץ only. You can use a font with tagin without looking like an utter chump.
Now, some people do hold that since this is the script used for sifrei torah, tefillin, and mezuzot, it should be reserved exclusively for use on those documents; that using sta”m script on things such as ketubot isn’t appropriate. I don’t hold that way personally, and this isn’t even a script we’re talking, it’s a font, so it’s not really even the same thing since you basically can’t use it for sta”m anyway.* Still, something to bear in mind; if one’s community fetishises the script, best not to use it for a ketubah.
I’ve even heard the view that since this is the script used for gittin, tagin aren’t appropriate for ketubot – gittin being divorce documents and tagin apparently being a kind of bad-luck talisman when employed in wedding contexts. Except that we don’t put tagin on the letters in gittin, so that one kind of falls down at the starting post, but underneath what it’s saying, again, is that there’s a desire to keep these letters apart and special – “gittin” is just the language used to clothe that concept.
But some people** take it in the other direction, and say that since this is the script used for our most important and significant documents, it makes sense to use it for a ketubah.
Which is fair enough, so long as one does it with awareness.
* Not without some innovative responsa, anyway
** I haven’t got published sources for either of these views. This is just “I talked to some rabbi, and he said…” territory.
Mirrored from hasoferet.com.