From the Tablets to the Tablet

הרבה מהגדולים פסקו דמעשה הדפוס הוה ככתיבה (ט"ז סעיף קטן ח, ומגן אברהם סימן ל"ב סעיף קטן ל"ז, וב"ש סימן קכ"ה סעיף קטן ג, ומ"ב). ויש מהגדולים שפסלו (חו"י סימן קפ"ד, ובני יונה, ורשד"ם סימן קפ"ד). והנה כפי שאנו רואים, מעשה הדפוס כן הוא: שמעמידים אותיות כדי הדף, ומושחין האותיות של כל הדף בדיו שחור, ואחר כך משימין הנייר על כל הדף, ונדבק בהנייר הדיו של האותיות על כל הדף בבת אחת. והוי ככתיבה ממש, דמה לי אם כותב בהדיו על הקלף, או משים הקלף על הדיו? [...] עתה שעושים במוכני שמגלגל הנייר על האותיות, והמוכני הולכת מעצמה בלי שהאדם יניע אותה – וודאי אין זה "כתיבה", דזהו פשיטא דהאדם צריך שיכתוב, ולא כשנכתב מעצמו. ופשיטא שבדפוס אין שום כוונה לקדושה כמובן. ומכל מקום הוא וודאי קדוש, אם לא כקדושת ספר תורה. אבל קדושה מיהא יש בהם, ואסור לשורפן ולהשתמש בתשמיש בזוי, ואין ספק בזה.

Many of the greats determined that printing is indeed like writing (See references in Hebrew). There are also those who disqualified it (see references in Hebrew). As we see it, the act of printing is such: you place the letters on the sheet, drag black ink onto the letters of the whole sheet, and then you place the paper on the sheet and the ink of each letter sticks to the paper, all at once. And this is like true writing, because what is the difference if one writes with ink onto parchment, as opposed to placing the parchment on the ink?

[However] These days, when we have a machine that rolls the paper onto letters, and the machine works by itself without a person operating it, this is definitively not "writing," for it is clear that a person needs to write, rather than the writing happening of its own accord. And it is clear that printing has no intentionality (kavana) for sanctity. Still, it does have sanctity, just not the same sanctity as a Sefer Torah.

The screen printing process is quite simple. The fabric or mesh of which the screen is made is similar to a window screen but is much finer. Although the screen was originally made of silk, it can also be made of nylon, wire, cotton or, even more commonly at present, polyester. The stencil placed over the screen consists of a thin lacquer sheet. Ink or a coloring agent is deposited onto the screen and pressure is applied by means of a squeegee in order to pull the ink or dye over those parts of the screen not blocked by the stencil. The ink or coloring agent then passes to the surface below the screen known as the substrate. Thus, the letter or design formed on the substrate is defined by the stencil.

Rabbi Gross suggests that the concept formulated by Ritva and Rabbenu Crescas is rooted in a discussion of the Palestinian Talmud, Gittin 2:3 and Shabbat 12:4. Citing the verse "and he shall write her a bill of divorcement" (Deuteronomy 24:1) the Palestinian Talmud declares: " 'He shall write,' but not gouge (ve-lo ha-ḥokek); 'he shall write,' but not drip (ve-lo ha-matif); 'he shall write,' but not spill (ve-lo ha-shofekh)."

(יח) וַיִּתֵּ֣ן אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה כְּכַלֹּתוֹ֙ לְדַבֵּ֤ר אִתּוֹ֙ בְּהַ֣ר סִינַ֔י שְׁנֵ֖י לֻחֹ֣ת הָעֵדֻ֑ת לֻחֹ֣ת אֶ֔בֶן כְּתֻבִ֖ים בְּאֶצְבַּ֥ע אֱלֹהִֽים׃
(18) When He finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the Pact, stone tablets inscribed with the finger of God.

תניא רבי אומר בתחלה בכתב זה ניתנה תורה לישראל כיון שחטאו נהפך להן לרועץ כיון שחזרו בהן החזירו להם

It is taught in a baraita (Tosefta 4:5): Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Initially, the Torah was given to the Jewish people in this script, Ashurit, which is in use today. Once the Jewish people sinned, it turned into an impairment for them and they began writing with a different script, Libona’a. Once they repented, the first script was returned to them, and they resumed writing with Ashurit script