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Monday, March 24, 2014

HOW TO DEAL WITH THE FORGED MEZUZAH CRISIS???

I have received a number of emails from resellers of STa"M in the United States since my post last Wednesday,  where I wrote a warning about forged mezuzos.  I also included a picture of the forged mezuzos, which I received by email from a reseller in the United States (who asked me to publicise on the forum that they are forged.)
One of the forum members posted the associated news story in the comments section of that post - namely that they had come from a forger's ring in Ashkelon. There may be other forgers doing the same thing.
Through the emails I received, I now know that quite a number of Frum / Heimishe American sofrim and dealers were unsuspectingly sold this mezuzah under the name "Weiss" or "Viess"- and possibly some other names. There may also be other forged mezuzos from the same source.




Some of the questions I have been asked include :


1) Do I have to recall these mezuzos if I sold them?
2) If yes, do I have to recall only this particular mezuzah or also others I bought from the same distributor?
3) Should I stop buying from the distributor I got them from, as he may have other forged items he is selling me (knowingly or unknowingly)?
4) Am I obligated to tell others in the industry who I got the forged mezuzos from and what they may look like?




I don't know how the situation is being dealt with in Eretz Yisroel since I run a forum in English and  all my emails came from English speaking  sofrim in the US. This mezuzah never made it to Australia, so B"H I did not have to deal with these questions personally.




I was therefore wondering if any one knows how this is being dealt with by Daas Torah and what the correct answers are for the questions raised above.


Thanks



11 comments:

  1. THE FOLLOWING IS MY SOLE OPININON
    1) yes
    2) no
    3)if the distributor repents and works with you to recall all of these (and returns as much money is he can)+he undertakes new measures for double checking kashrus then he does not loose his chezkas kashrus
    4) yes

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    Replies
    1. Who would be the apt posek I could refer people to in the US? This is a very serious issue and no doubt requires a posek / psak

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    2. Who would be the apt posek I could refer people to in the US? This is a very serious issue and no doubt requires a posek / psak

      Delete
  2. I KNOW A SOFER WHO BOUGHT 10 WIESS MEZUZOS FROM A DEALER IN CROWN HEIGHTS IN KSAV ARIZAL WHICH MATCH THE KSAV IN TEH PICTURE THAT HAS BEEN CIRCULATING.

    WHAT IS THE DIN? DOES HE HAVE TO RECALL? HE SOLD 7. IT WOULD BE VERY DAMAGING TO HIM IF HE HAD TO RECALL.

    COULD SOMEONE PLEASE POST A PSAK ? IF NO ONE HAS, MAYBE BEIS HASTAM CAN ASK THE MORAY ZEDEK OF MISHMERET STAM HOW THIS SHOULD BE HANDLED.

    TODAH

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  3. I simply cannot understand why you should not have to recall, it was not written the way mezuzas are written and if produced in a different way there is no hechsher. If you sold meet and found out the shochet used a new technology electric circular knife and put neck of animal to it -would you recall the meat?
    In any case I can have Vaad Mishmeres Stam issue a statement, however who can clarify exactly how the mezuzus were made.?

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    Replies
    1. They were printed. See all the articles online, there were a lot of them.

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  4. The halacha is clear. If one knows that the mezuzot are not kasher, then they must be recalled. They may look like and feel like a mezuzah, but they are not mezuzot. They are just plain forgeries. Whoever, was hurt by this mis-representation, either knowingly or unknowingly, must be righted... especially after we know the facts.

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  5. I've been asked by R' Eli to consult with Rav Friedlander on behalf of those who sold these forgeries. Bli neder I will meet with him tomorrow. There's no doubt that you must recall the forgeries.The question is how far must you go to recall them. If you don't know who bought them then must you start calling all customers (starting with the most likely ones) who may have bought them (putting your business and reputation at greater risk than if calling the few customers who you know bought them? If you don't have contact information for (all) your customers and you haven't been successful if finding (all of) them must you pay for an ad to inform the public? At any cost? Even though it could damage your business/reputation? Perhaps the recent articles suffice to not require individual dealers to publicize their own recalls? If not, Perhaps, to protect the dealers affected, it will suffice to ask the Mishmeres Stam or local vaad rabanim to publicize a recall or maybe dealers affected should get together to put out a recall signed by concerned sofrim or the like? Of course as much detailed information would need to be included such as a picture of ksav, which ksavim they came in, size of klaf, approximate retail price range and time period these were sold).

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  6. Rav Friedlander said the mezuzahs must be recalled. However, he felt the sochrim should speak to Rav Greenfeld at the Mishmeres STaM in Brooklyn and he should speak to one of the gedolei haposkim in the US (he specifically mentioned Rav Yechezekel Roth) as to how the matter should be handled.
    He said, l'hefech, that it would only enhance the reputation of those that do whatever is necessary to recall these mezuzahs. His concern was how to go about it without creating further public havoc. If the sochrim in Israel were duped and are otherwise reliable and careful with whom they choose to buy from then there's no reason not to rely on them. (This is an entire discussion in itself as there is a full spectrum of sochrim ranging from from true experts who know what they are buying and are careful with whom they deal with to those who are in it to make a buck and no little about STaM so you must choose your sources wisely.)

    The rav had no problem with sochrim telling other sochrim by word of mouth only where they got these mezuzahs from, even if the source is confirmed as reliable, if there's a toeles. For example, in case other sochrim deal with these sources as well and they may have unknowingly have bought these fraudulent mezuzahs. (Of course, any reliable socher would make very effort to contact those sochrim he may have sold them to.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I will notify the sofrim who emailed me

      Delete
  7. I have informed those who contacted me and referred them to the psak of Rav Friedlander.

    Thank you Rabbi Askotzky for taking the time to speak with the Rav.

    I have no further interest in this issue from a personal level, since these mezuzos did not make it to Australia. If anyone wants to take it further by consulting with Rabbi Roth or otherwise, feel free to post any updates.

    ReplyDelete

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