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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cardboard/plastic in batim

Today, when I was learning how to assemble/disassemble tefillin with my sofrus tutor, we opened an old pair of my tefillin and found that the batim were lined with what appears to be posterboard or plastic of some sort, glued into the bayis.  The only part of the batim that was exposed leather/klaf was the flap of the titura, and, on the shel rosh, the klaf separating the compartments (the tefillin are peshutim mehudarim.)  My tutor had never seen anything like it before.

Has anyone seen this sort of thing before?  Thoughts on the kashrus of the batim?  My tutor was of the opinion that this would constitute a chatzizah, but allowed that there might be a kulah of which he was not aware.

Pictures below, for those who are interested.  I apologize for the quality, as I was shooting the pictures with my phone's camera, which is not quite designed for this sort of work.



10 comments:

  1. Cardboard lining inside of the peshutim - is not considered chatziza, and are kosher [albeit "peshutim"] as long as it is covered correctly and complete with kosher leather outside.
    The cardboard is there in order to keep the thin leather in place. Plastic should be the same as cardboard, although I never heard of a plastic insert.

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  2. Are you certain its not klaf? I've been doing this may years and don't recall seeing cardboard in peshutim or peshutim mehudarim.

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    1. It's difficult to see in the pictures, but whatever it is is about 1mm thick and doesn't look like klaf. We thought possibly mashuach, but it's not shiny, and obviously, it's too thick. It looks like posterboard, but when I tapped it, it clicked like it was made of plastic.

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    2. Hi Dov,
      At this junction there is only one way to tell. Please take it apart and let us know what you found.

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    3. Hi Dov,
      At this junction there is only one way to tell. Please take it apart and let us know what you found.

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    4. It's pretty clearly posterboard of some sort - too thick to be klaf, and in the shel rosh you can see the cardboard middle of the board; the only way to get it out would be to entirely wreck the bayis, which I am loath to do.

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  3. Rav Moshe says its kosher. Whether that is an across aboard opinion I don't know. You should ask your expert STaM posek. If he holds it is a problem then show it to your batim expert. I've seen thick, heavily coated mashuach klaf in cheap batim quite a few times so I wouldn't easily assume it is otherwise. It not being shiny doesn't mean its not klaf mashuach.

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    1. I said it's kosher if the outer layer is leather and complete. Any insert is acceptable, but the outer cover must be kosher leather. The issue of leather thickened by meshicha wasn't brought up here, and although problematic - for peshutim this is also kosher - again only if we can verify that the outer leather is kosher and complete.

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  4. it is interesting to note that there used to be a custom to put in hard leather to stiffen the batim and reb yosef shaul natenzohn in his haskama to keset hasofer addresse the issue "it is a bad custom in my eyes" a point to discuss is if we stuff retzuos into a shel yad to keep it from shaking is it the same or not=please answer only after you review the haskama in keset

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