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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Are Pshutim Mehudarim Kosher Lechatchillah?

Almost all mochrei stam I know sell pshutim mehudarim tefillin (batim). Many of these vendors try to keep a minimunm standard of Kosher lechatchillah, including myself. While the parshiyos they put into the pshutim mehudarim batim may be kosher lechatchillah, are the batim (and consequently the finished pair of tefillin) kosher lechatchillah?

I have asked numerous poskim this question. They are certainly not mehudar. And the old style pshutim are definitely bedieved.  But some poskim seem to be reluctant to call pshutim mehudarim kosher lechatchillah, because the bayis is glued at the edges.

On the other hand many of the older style pre- war batim, worn by may chosheve yidden (including notable rabbonim) were essentially made in the same way as pshutim mehudarim are made today. Furthermore pshutim mehudarim have some advantages over cheap commercial gassos that have all sorts of serious problems such as false charitzim, tiach, holes etc, problems which which do not exist in opshutim mehudarim.

I think therefore it is acceptable to sell good quality pshutim mehudarim as a basic pair of tefillin, provided that the buyer understands that they are only entry level and that the parshiyos are decent and kosher lechatchillah leksivah.

Furthermore, one should try to buy only pshutim mehudarim with a)"knafayim", b)mechitzos that come down to the titurah and c)the outer shin on the shel rosh which comes down to the titurah. Without these three features, it is very hard to say they are not definitely bedieved.

6 comments:

  1. There is a fellow sofer on this board who sells Peshutim Mehudarim that are much better than what I have seen from other sochrim (I will let this member volunteer himself as such, if he should wish). I only carry what I get from him.

    Nevertheless - I have opened several sets and found that the quality is never consistent enough such that I can blanket call them "Kosher Lechatchilah."

    When we sell them, I disclose to the customer that these are not the best tefillin and the kashrus, while there, may not be ideal.

    Unfortunately, the customers who buy these types are usually indifferent as to issues of kashrus anyway. Sigh...

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  2. could you please tell what are the halachic advantages of the "better" pshutim mehudarim you refer to?

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  3. Eli: Rabbi Bloomensteil's point is: 1) although we order pshutim mehudarim with the 3 hidurim mentioned in your article,since the price is low and there is no "real" hashgacha,very often there are minor bdieveds which on gasos we would not count it lechatchila. IE the ribua is off .60-.80,walls are barely long enough,shin that is a drop off etc.
    point being when a sofer purchases a $50 product how much can you check and choose,return and replace.
    as with elyon no Rabbi signs off pshutim mehudarim as lechatchila

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  4. Eli - R' Shmiel pretty much hit the nail on the head. The issue is not as much the presence or absence of the hiddurim mentioned, but the overall consistency/quality of everything else. A cheap set of tefillin will be cheap overall - i.e. I have yet to see a set of peshutos with avodas yad elyon retzuos or with an $1200 set parshios inside.

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  5. yes, but I'm very much into putting things into gedarim. so if i sell a set of pshutim mehudarim with decent lechatchillah parshiyos, I want to be able to know that i have sold a lechatchillah pair of tefillin. And if the only way to do that is by selling gassos then it must be noted that for those aspiring to sell stam only which is kosher lechatchillah- they should not be selling pshutim mehudarim period

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  6. I gave up on peshutim mehudarim a number of years ago. I found that the quality dropped over the years and that on the vast majority the bayis/ketzitza wasn't properly set into the titura so they were visibly not parallel to each other or the ketzita looked like the tower of piza - on an angle due to not being correctly set into the tutura again.

    PM do not have chut hatefira bein habatim so those that consider such batim to be bedieved this already makes them not lechatchila.

    BTW, I am one who provided avodas yad retzuos with my PM. I was advised by Rav Friedlander years ago to only deal with retzuos with a hechsher and since that excluded machine retzuos, my customers were getting avodas yad with their PM tefillin.

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