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Saturday, December 3, 2011

How do you define "Top Quality ksav"????

One of the challenges I have as a vendor of Sta"m is when people come to me saying they want to buy a product that is "Top Quality". I am always very careful to say it as it is, and before any sale I always make sure people understand what they are getting, even if it is not warranted. For example even if I am selling something from one of my better sofrim (but not the absolute best) , I will say " even though it is mehudar and you are getting a good price, it still isn't top quality". I feel the need to emphasize this primarily because I know that there is a good probability that within a few years another sofer/magiha will be looking at the product, and judging it, and if I somehow gave the impression that it is better than it is, it would end up reflecting badly on me. And I know plenty of sochrim who have received bad reputations for "overselling".

The problem is what happens when someone comes along and says he wants "the best" or "the top quality". I can guarantee that every person here has a different opinion on what defines the "best" or "nicest ksav". I'm not talking about the gavra now, I'm talking about the cheftzah. How can one truly protect themselves from potential criticisim by selling an item to a customer who's only requirement is that "they want the best"?

(I'm not talking about value for money. Obviously I will try to get him the nicest ksav for what he is paying. Nor am I talking about halachic hiddur, obviously I will try to make sure that it is 100% lechatchilla leksivah.)

"Halevay" this should happen more often but when it does I find it challenging. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I'd appreciate it. I am currently in this exact situation for a sefer Torah and after much deliberation I have selected a sofer but I am still uneasy. I have posted a sample of his ksav below. If anyone has any feedback, I would love to hear it.

 

2 comments:

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  2. I think that the issue at large (once the ksav is halachikly 100% good and mehudar) on how beutiful the ksav is, is very subjective.
    It is impossible nor smart to guarantee anyone that they are getting the best possible ksav out there. You can tell them that this of the best that you can find (they understand that you are a professional and you know the market well), no one can blame you if one day some sofer/ magiah will say other wise.
    One reason why the customer is going to you in the first place is because they trust your expertise and yiras shamayim.
    In general I am very careful when grading someone's stam when they ask me to. Often someone paid $50 for a mezuza and they are expecting me to tell them that it is the nicest mezuza I have ever seen in my life?! I never downgrade stam (unless there is a halachik problem (or posul) and even then I try to give the benefit of the doubt and limud zechus). I usually tell people (if they want to know) its general status (basic kosher,lechatchila, mehudar etc...). Only if they really want to know I will tell them my personal opinion (definitely there is no obligation on the magiah to do this, the shavet halevy discusses this issue).
    Concerning your question, I could not imagine that someone could potentially hurt your reputation in the long run for selling a ksav like that if you tell them that it was the best one that you could currently find.
    What I find to be a bigger problem, is when someone wants a inexpensive mezuza and you explain to them that it is. the problem can be that years later, maybe when there religious commitment has grown and it is checked by another sofer, they might downgrade the sofer who sold it to them and the mezuza. Sometimes people tell me they want the cheapest available at a very low price. I think that it is better to always explain very well to the person to try not to buy cheap kosher mezuzas for one day they might regret it.

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