A local Sofer was asked to check someone's Tefillin and as he was examining the Batim, he noticed two scratches very close to each other in the paint. He had the paint removed and discovered glue. He had the glue removed and this gap was revealed.
As a Magia, the question is: How far is one meant to go? Examine the Batim if there are any scratches? And if yes, to go remove the paint...



  1. Heshy, great question - one that I have asked a lot of advice on over the years...

    The answer I have always received is that it is NOT a magiha's obligation to check batim. If there is something obvious like the ribua is off or the corners are very round, fine, it's obvious that you need to inform the customer and / or to have it fixed. So too retzuos which need attention (ie they have white cracks or are too thin).

    However to pulling apart people's batim is not necessary in the role of a magiha who is brought tefillin for routine checking. We rely on a chezkas kashrus that the batim were made correctly.

    Having said that, if there is something very suspicious like in Hershy's case - where its LIKELY to be problematic, the customer should be consulted as to wether he wants to take it to a batim macher for further investigation. An example when I refer someone to a batim macher is when we see a fine line next to the charitz of the batim shel rosh - which could indicate a false charitz.

  2. The sofer/magia should also be a batim expert or work with one and the batim should be given an expert outer review when having tefillin checked. Otherwise it is negligent. If a problem is found and there is more than a small additional cost the customer needs to be informed.

    For those who don't have their tefillin checked for many years at a time should consider at least a cursory batim inspection by an expert every number of years.

    When I visit a yeshiva, shul or community I offer this as a free service and plenty of issues are found in the batim and retzuos that affect the kashrus or level of kashrus.

    The chazaka is in place for what can't be seen, such as the parshios or under the paint of the batim. What can't be seen is assumed to be fine unless there is reason to suspect otherwise and in that case further inspection is required.


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