Paint on Tfillin straps

There is a Hallachic difference between paint and ink.
Paint צבע must soak into the leather.
Ink דיו must stay on the surface and not soak in.


  1. Rabbi Tzvi,
    I disagree with the simple assumption "Ink דיו must stay on the surface and not soak in".

    Ink that soaks into the klaf is not pasul. Maybe you meant "Ink דיו must stay on the surface and may not only be (totaly soaked) in the klaf"??

    1. Right. I missed the word "totally".

      פלותת הפוסקים בדיו עי' בני יונה דהעולה להלכה ולמעשה כי גדר הדיו הוא הצבע השחור המעובה שאינו נכנס בתוך עובי קלף מעבר לעבר כצביעת בגדים, וגם אינו כמיא בעלמא, אלא ע"ג הקלף ונדבק בו ויכולין למחקו ולהסירו ממנו. (חידושי חתם סופר, גיטין, יט, ע'א) י

  2. bais hastam brought this issue to our attention on this forum some months ago

  3. I just sat with Rav Friedlander to discuss this matter. He said the Edah (of which he is part) is planning to pasken today. I plan to update and clarify the matter in the comments section of Vois Iz Neias and hopefully here as well.

  4. The Edah has paskened. R. Akiva Oppen of New York is supposed to publicize the psak after consultation with Rav Friedlander. I am not sure that they intend to publicize the specific retzuos maker so I won't do so. The issue seems to have been with 1 production and is not an issue with the all black retzuos. The problematic retzuos seem to mainly be in NY and the maker is taking them back and stopped selling the remaining stock when he became aware of the issue.

  5. Something strange is going on here. Here are two letters that were publicized yesterday. Anyone knows more details?

  6. After consultation with Rav Friedlander, as late as this morning, here is the latest from him and the Edah (plus a few comments/suggestions of my own) and this is what I posted in response to the latest article on 5 Towns Jewish Times and yeshiva World.

    From reading the opinion of the Edah as presented (By Rabbi Yair Hoffman on the aforementioned websites), it seems a little unclear. I have spoken to my rebbi of 25 years, Rav Mordechai Friedlander, the day before and after the psak was issued and again today to make sure I had a clear understanding of the psak before I replied to a few dealers who contacted me. He said that the retzuos should be physically checked to see if the paint peels/lifts off (like tape). This should be done with a knife. (I’d suggest having a sofer do it.) If it peels then it is passul. If it doesn’t peel then it is ok. While on the phone with 2 dealers, one said he checked his roll and it was peeling and the other said his wasn’t. Rav Friedlander also said that the all black retzuos are not problematic since the surface underneath is black. (Make sure the sides and back are halachically black (and hence black through and through) otherwise there is no difference between these and the non all black retzuos.)
    Here in Israel, after talking with my colleagues, including a major supplier of the retzuos in question, we are not aware of retzuos with this problem. (We haven’t noticed the problem nor have people returned with peeling retzuos.) Nevertheless, the Edah hasn’t made a distinction between locations.
    The Edah chose not to identify the source to the public. However, since the article identifies them by initial, the correct initial would be K”Y.
    As an aside, some of us involved in STaM have been aware of the difference between the hechsherim. (the 2 hechsherim mentioned have a similar policy on batim. Not that all batim have a hechsher or that these are the only 2 sources that provide hechsherim for batim.) In fact, a number of years ago, a retzuos maker, who produces under both hechsherim, told me the difference, as mentioned in the article. My policy (besides to only offer avodas yad/with a hechsher-based on guidance from Rav Friedlander) [Machine made do not have a hechsher.] has generally been to make the customer of better quality tefillin aware of the differences so they can make an educated choice or consult their rav for guidance. The additional cost for Edah retzuos is relatively small compared to the overall cost of tefillin. The problem is that Edah retzuos are often in short supply.

    Rav Friedlander mentioned the new, potentially more serious, issue with the testing results. Obviously we’ll need to wait for the investigation to be completed and a psak rendered.

  7. R' Akiva Oppen was attacked unfairly by various people, as stated in the letters. The 2 letters clarify the facts, without publicizing more than necessary. In fact, a rav in NY who was one of main "opponents", met with Akiva Oppen yesterday and made shalom with him.
    As is well known and mentioned by Rav Ulman, this retzuos issue did happen a few years back by this same maker and the problem was dealt with.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Not a "khaf"

תיבה מיותרת במזוזה