Dear Chaya and Ronit,
Thank you for your response to my email. I have conveyed to Mr. Harris your kind offer to refund his payment for the problematic mezuzah scrolls. He is reluctant to return the mezuzot by mail and has asked me to bring them to Israel the next time I travel, which will be G-d willing for Passover. I hope that it will still be OK to bring them back in a few months.
Also, I noted in your email that you say you are aware that some people do not consider the mezuzot you sell as kosher. You also write that you are doing the sales only as a “service to your customers”. Please excuse me for saying this, but I cannot see any type of leniency that would render these mezuzot kosher. Many of them have blatant spelling mistakes and all had flaws that are completely and utterly unacceptable. Again, if you doubt the seriousness of my claims, I suggest you show them to an independent rabbi.
Furthermore, if you are doing this as a service to your customers and yet you know that these mezuzot are “considered by some as not kosher”, is this really a service to your customer? Why not sell mezuzot that are a little better in quality, written by a reputable sofer stam (of which there are thousands in Israel) that are kosher according to everyone? they need not be the large, expensively written ones, just a basic kosher product. I think that would be a far better service to your customers. Furthermore it would avoid this type of negative fallout which I hardly think is enjoyed by anyone, yourselves included.
I thank you again for your response and for refunding Mr. Harris his payment. I wish you and yours a happy Channukah and blessings for all good things.
Rabbi Eli Gutnick
UPDATE: RESPONSE FROM CHAYA
MY ORIGINAL EMAIL HERE
I write to you with great concern and dismay regarding a very serious issue. Recently, a trusting customer by the name of Mr. Josh Harris of Melbourne, Australia purchased mezuzah scrolls from your establishment. The scrolls were brought earlier today to my offices for examination and found to be entirely unkosher. Not only are they unkosher, but they seem to be completely fraudulent, with a fake (hechsher) seal. The writing is so far removed from anything acceptable that there is no other way to classify these mezuzot, other than being fraudulent in nature.
As you can understand, Mr. Harris is particularly upset about this incident. No one likes to be "duped", but it is particularly upsetting when the subject is of a religious nature, perpetrated by another Jew, in the holy city of Jerusalem.
I am unsure what action Mr Harris plans to take, legally or otherwise. I would certainly think that it is in his rights to receive a refund.
On a personal level (and this is the main reason for my writing), I strongly suggest you reconsider how and from where you source your mezuzot. I mean no disrespect, but aside from the moral and spiritual aspect of selling fraudulent mezuzot, I should think that your establishment’s reputation would eventually suffer (if it hasn’t already) if this practice continues. I, for one, will be forwarding a scan of these mezuzot with their false seals to a number of rabbinical agencies in Israel, of which I have regular contact with in my work with the Melbourne Beth Din.
I thank you for reading this email and I encourage you to seek independent advice if you somehow doubt the seriousness of my claims. This is not so much about religious law as it is about civil law.
Please refer to the attached image of the mezuzot. There were a total of 6 purchased by Mr. Harris.
With blessings for peace in the Holy Land,
Rabbi Eli Gutnick
Rabbi Eli Gutnick
Certified Sofer (Scribe)
Examinations, Repairs and Sales
of Mezuzot, Tefillin and Torah Scrolls
Dear Rabbi Eli,
Chag Sameach and Shavua Tov!
We appreciate your concern and understand your worries regarding this.
Our shops specialize in Judaica, art and jewelry and we sell the scrolls only as a service to our customers. The scrolls are purchased from a sofer stam here in Jerusalem and we already heard some consider them kosher and others don't. Therefore, we are not arguing about this and if your community member who mad this purchase in our shop will so wish, he can send us all scrolls back and we will refund him with what he paid for them.
Ronit and Chaya
13 Cardo St.
6 Yoel Salomon St., Jerusalem