Prudos in Chabad

I'm sure many in the industry are aware that Chabad are makpid that the batim shel rosh should be prudos legamri (no glue between the rosh batim). This is based primarily on the Shulchan Oruch Harav.

I was discussing this issue with another sofer in NY over shabbos and we were discussing that while obviously when selling new tefillin to Chabad we should ensure that the batim are prudos (and check them as such), what would be the accepted practise when it comes to used tefillin that are brought in for checking? Is the checker chayyev to start sticking knives or other instruments between the batim, potentially damaging the persons tefillin, in order to check the prudos? By doing this is he going over and above what is required when someone brings him tefillin for checking?

We were interested in Reb Moshe's opinion on this matter.


  1. It seems pashut that checking tefilin includes all issues that render a tefilin kosher or pasul, so the batim should be checked.
    I know that many magihim don't look at the batim or retzuos, only at the parshiyot, but the simple person wants an over-all check, to be assured his tefilin are kosher for him to put on.

    There is a psak mentioned in the name of R. Zalman Shimon zatzal, that up to 25% glued from the bottom is kosher. The chumra of chabad is from the Alter Rebbe's sidur, and it doesn't say there that if the batim aren't prudos all the way, it is pasul.
    Seemingly from the Shulchan Aruch of AR we can conclude that if the batim are glued the bottom minority [up to 49%] they should be kosher, as understood from 32:61, but if they are 50% [from the bottom up] glued they probably are pasul, because the majority of the visual charitz is actualy not a true charitz.

    1. Obviously lemaasah we do not pasken that beli prudos is possul, virtually all cheaper batim as well as dakos and pshutim mehudarim are not prudos.

      My personal policy, after discussing this matter in my early days of practice with a number of noteworthy rabonnim and sofrim, is that there is a difference in this regard with new batim you are selling and used batim from pairs that you are checking.

      With regards to new batim, I always pull from the sides to see if there is movement between the batim. While they could still be prudos without movement, I only take and sell those that move, because this is indicative that the batim are prudos without ruining the paint on brand new batim by inserting instruments.

      However my discussions led me to believe that once the tefillin belong to someone you do not need to poke and prod since they have a chezkas kashrus. This is different to checking ribuah, which could change over time. Likewise you don't need to remove the paint to check for holes or tiach etc, again, relying on chezkas kashrus.

      Retzuos is a different story altogether and must be checked and painted 100% black.

      I often do the prudos anyway, particularly if someone asks me to. But I still maintain that there is no chiyuv to do this in all cases, particularly when one can cause damage to the batim.

    2. when i say dakkos i mean the cheap commercial ones, not the high quality prudos ones made by the likes of R' Yossi Altien.

    3. "There is a psak mentioned in the name of R. Zalman Shimon zatzal, that up to 25% glued from the bottom is kosher"
      can you please tell were you heard of this psak?

    4. I have a PDF including 39 brief psakim of Rabbi Zalman Shimon, put out by
      איגוד כותבי סת"ם קראון הייטס, תשמ"ה
      this is one of the psakim mentioned there.
      If you are interested I can send you the file

  2. I asked this same question to Rabbi Zirkind, and his exact answer was "Why are they poking around with a knife? You ruin Tefillin that way"

    I guess it depends on your minhag, but I do know of a lot of Tefillin that were ruined through putting knives or something else through them.

  3. I think a person should ask a Rov in his community regarding "policy" issues such as these.

    I also think that it's not outrageous to say that each case should be judged differently.

  4. With regards to prudos, outside of chabad, most poskim consider rov prudos to be mehudar while all prudos to be a higher level of hiddur. Hence, unless requested, I don't check the prudos.

    Perhaps we should be concerned for a psul, such as a fake charitz and since it can be checked it should be done? I agree that it should be checked for visual signs of a fake charitz but not to risk the ribua by checking with a knife. of course if one sees visual signs of a potantial problem it would then need to be checked. Also,if one finds signs of other problems in the making of the batim it may be worthwhile to check them. The problem is that where do you draw the line since there's no way to know if the Shins are ok, etc.

    If I were checking tefillin for someone who is makpid to follow minhagei Chabad then I'd likely explain to him that they should be prudos and explain the pros/cons of checking and suggest they ask their rav.

    For new batim, if I buy all prudos batim, I am confident that this is what my batim maker is offering me. Hence, I do a full visual exam and maybe check the ribua with a caliper. I'd also do the manual exam to test the prudos but this is not so reliable as sme prudis batim won't easily budge.

    There is a special homemade tool that some people make of very thin metal that is quite safe to use to check for prudos but when you stick anything between the batim, there is always some risk.

  5. With regards to tefillin checking:
    When someone hires you to check tefillin that means that he expects you to make sure his tefillin are kosher. If you only check the parshios then it is impossible to verify that the tefillin are kosher and you have cheated the customer. This problem is far too common.
    Now, in order to be able to check the parshios, they must be checked by someone/s who is properly trained and preferably certified to check ksav. Just because one has learned safrus and even if he is a certified sofer, doesn't empower him to be an examiner. There are many additional halachos and more importantly, extensive shimush by an expert posek or magia is required. As well, One takes a test to receive certification for hagaah.

    As we all know, the halachos of batim and retzuos and knowledge/skill to fix and assemble have nothing to do with learning to be a sofer. They are 2 separate trades. In order to check tefillin you must either be fully knowledgeable and capable to check, assemble and fix batim or have someone who is.


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