Story from the Beis Horah

There are a few things to learn from this story so I'll share it... Especially what was said by R' Shammai Gross afterwards.

A nice American Avreich came today with his friend to the Beis Horah to ask a few shailos on his Tefillin that had just been checked. The megia found 3 problem. A reish that had a small amount of dio on the bottom and a small mark on the klaf that perhaps turned it into a Beis (this R' Shammai said shailos tinnok.) As well a Vav that was a little short (this wasn't so much of a shailo just the megia had marked it off, R' Shammai said kosher.) And then the real shailo, a yud that was missing dio between the rosh and the right regel (seemingly was there and peeled off over time.) This R' Shammai said was pasul. The megia had brought the shailo to begin with to R' Mordechai Friedlander who of course also pasuled it and said "chalilah" to wear such Tefillin. However this Avreich also (before R' Shammai and after R' Friedlander) had asked a VERY big Rov (Talmud Chacham gadol and mafursam) in Yerushalayim that was machshir (!!) R' Shammai is a tzaddik and said perhaps it had changed since they showed this first Rov. Unfortunately it hadn't changed (R' Friedlander pasuled it first) and they had asked this other Rov TWICE (!!) They told me this whole story and said they only reason they came to R' Shammai is because they heard he is more makil and figured he would be macria between R' Friedlander and the other Rov. He said of course he was going to buy new tefillin but wanted to see what he had to say. Someone told him if R' Shammai isn't machshir then no one can be. V'cach haveh that R' Shammai wasn't machshir. I asked the Avreich and his friend if this rov is mumcha in STaM. He said he doesn't know but has seen people bring him mezuzos to look at. Of course he is a big Talmud Chacham and knows a lot of Torah, however perhaps in this inyun he doesn't know, or even if he does, doesn't have shimush. Which R' Shammai always says is the most important thing. This needs more shimush than anything else -- more than mares hadamim.

What's to learn from this? Not everyone can pasken in STaM, even very big people and as well STaM needs a lot of Shimush...And as big as a person is they have to be able to say "I don't know..." (this is what R' Shammai added.) I related a story when my cousin went to R' Shlomo Zalman over 30 years ago with shailos in treifos in a chicken. R' Shlomo Zalman said "I know what it says in Shulchan Aruch, but I don't have shimush l'maseh in this -- go to 'HaRav so and so'" (then it was another big rov in the area who had shimush in treifos.) R' Shammai said "See, even R' Shlomo Zalman could admit this!" It takes a lot for a person to give in however when it comes to these shailos it's very important...


  1. I remember when first starting shimush showing a shaila to three different rababnnim and getting three different answers.

    All three rabannim were known in stam.

    From memory it was a safek kav mashuch on a yud elyonah of an aleph.

    one said it was possul and ossur to fix

    one said it was fixable but would not be lechatchillah after tikkun

    one said it was fixable and would be mehudar after tikkun

    Now I generally go with whatever the first rov says and thats how I leave it. It says when a rov makes a psak, such becomes the metziyus hadavar, provided of course the rav is competent and a yiras shomayim. Thats good enough for me.


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