Parshiyos Shel Yad on more than one piece of Klaf

I have checked a number of mehudar pairs of tefillin recently where the shel yad has been written on more than one piece of klaf.
My understanding based on the Mishnas Hasofer was that this is kosher lechatchila but not mehudar.
Looking again at the Mishnas Hasofer (Siman Chof - Biur Hasofer - Vehaminhag ledovkom) he concludes - Therefore it would appear that parshiyos that are glued are kosher lechatchila without any doubt, however they are lacking in hidur and mitzva min hamuvchar.

Searching the forum I came across the following post from Reb Moshe Weiner a couple of years ago. (July 17 2012)

Question:   Are parshiyot of yad on klaf that was glued from 2 pieces, [the kadesh, vehaya and shma, where on the first klaf, and the last parsha vehaya im shamoa was written on another klaf, and later glued to the first], are they kosher lechatchila?

Answer:   They are kosher lechatchila. Although it is a mitzva lechatchila to try to write all 4 parshiyot on 1 klaf as written in SA and poskim, this is a mitzva lechatchila for the sofer to try to produce the best yad, but if the sofer could not write all 4 on 1 piece for any reason, then the yad is kosher lechatchila as is [after the klafim are glued as written in Rema 32:47]. There is no pgam in the hidur because it isn't on one piece. (see Mishna Berura 32:219, Mishnat Hasofer  Biur Hasofer p. 236. Indeed the terms lechatchila and bdieved must be clarified, IE the oilam in general does not use these terms with the correct meaning. In our case, once the issue is bdieved for the sofer, then the parshiyos are kosher lechatchila to be used).

Therefore a client/socher may not return tefilin shel yad parshiyot if they are glued on claim they are not lechatchila (unless he specified beforehand that he will only take tefilin shel yad that are one original klaf, and not glued, as the rule "tnay sh'bmamon kayom"). 

My question is - if someone bought tefillin assuming that they were mehudar is he entitled to ask for a new set of parshiyos? Is Reb Moshe referring only to someone who bought a pair of lechatchila tefillin or is he also talking about a person who bought a mehudar pair?

Is there a difference if the klaf is not glued but simply slotted together as in the attached picture?

Somebody mentioned to me that they saw in a Sefer that there is actually a hiddur al pi kabollah to write the shel yad on two klafim. Has anybody since this written anywhere?


  1. I know that in Europe before the War it was par for the course to have the yad written on more than one piece. Many big sofrim seemed to do it like that without blinking. It could be good klaf was harder to get, esp if you were looking for shlil. Also they often wrote very large parshiyos, ie harder to fit on one piece.

  2. I ahve just seen in the Sefer Beis Hasofer by Menachem Mendel Shvimmer (Siman 32:2) he writes that if you have ordered new tefillin then the sofer would be expected to inform the client and the client is entitled to ask for a new set of parshiyos.
    He also quotes Shut Shevet Hakehosi 4:18 who writes that it is preferable to purchase parshiyos written on one klaf, however if the parshiyos on more than one klaf are a more mehudar ksav or a more choshuv sofer then it is preferable than a lowe quality ksav on a single piece of klaf.
    He also writes that slotting the klaf together is no good, it needs to be glued together.

  3. Me'ikar Ha'din, the four Parshiyos of Shel Yad must not even be attached altogether! So, I'm not sure what is meant by "slotting together is no good".
    Furthermore, it has become "the standard" to write on one piece. BUT, besides for the fact that R' Eli mentioned (that historically it wasn't upheld), moreover, I ask any Sofer: how's the quality of the klaf where you write Kadesh? In my experience, the klaf is almost always compromised over there (the neck). So, is writing on one piece really such a Hiddur? Or is writing on two pieces that are of a higher quality really more mehudar...?

  4. Hi R. Pink,
    The practice is to write the shel yad in one piece of parchment. However, if after the fact, the sofer writes it in separate pieces, the minhag is to properly join them; and this doesn't detract from it's HIDDUR.

    So, in answer to your question that if someone bought tefillin with sewn-up parchments assuming that they were MEHUDAR is he entitled to ask for a new set of parshiyos?

    The answer is NO, for tefillin as such are still MEHUDAR.

    Joining them is considered a MINHAG, because four SEPARATE parchments placed inside a single housing constitute a valid set of tefillin.

    Now, this joining can be embelished (CONSIDERED A HIDUR) if sewn with GIDDIM just like a Sefer Torah. After they are sewn, they are to be glued as well. However, glueing by itself suffices.

    So we see, that the Tefirah is considered a HIDDUR in a case where the parchments are to be joined by glue. Please refer to Zikhron Eliyahu Perek 21

    If possible, it also would be considered a proper practice to join the separate pieces of parchment prior to commencing to write. This way, they are considered to be written on one piece of parchment from the very beginning, instead of written afterwards.

    Slotting together as shown in the second picture is not considered HIBBUR (joining). The parchments must at least be glued.

  5. I think this is like the roshei hashitin issue...when selling a new pair, if I paid a lot I would send them back to the sofer and not put them into a new set of tefillin, esp if the customer wants a high end pair and is paying for such.

    But when checking a set belonging to someone, I would not make an issue.

    I would, however glue them together if they are just folded.

    (BTW, the revach at the end of vehoyah is a bit too small for a chabad parsha. In some ways, that iusan even bigger issue....)

  6. According to Rav Elyashiv via Rav Friedlander, since the norm is to write the shel yad on 1 piece, the sofer/dealer needs to inform the buyer (at least for mehudar parshios) if the parshios are written on more than 1 piece. While it may not affect the halachic hiddur, it would seem that the buyer has the right to receive "normal" parshios and can refuse them or ask for a discount. (I don't know what would be if the owner only became aware of this some years later after checking his tefillin.) In fact, it is the accepted practice for the sofer to take off from the price. (Usually around 10%).
    If the sofer lechatchila plans to write on more than 1 piece it is preferable to glue the pieces together before writing and even better to sew them together as well.

    Since parshios shel yad are in fact written on 1 piece, parshios held together with slotting would not suffice and they should be glued together.

    Not too long ago when the quality of klaf avodas yad was tenuous, many sofrim would write the shel yad on 2 pieces as the beginning of the yerios were often hairy. They would typically glue and even sew the pieces together before writing. You'll also occasionally find parshios shel yad written on shel rosh klaf. This was Rav Sheinberg's recommendation in order for the ksav to fit within the bayis. In this case, the sofer would use at least 2 pieces. In these situations, the customer is usually aware and davka prefers it so there'd be no Choshen Mishpat issue as it is being done to enhance the hiddur of the ksav/tefillin.

  7. I once heard from a Mumche in Sta"m that all of the Parshiyos written by the Tzadikim Talmidei HaBal Shem Tov ZY"A, the Shel Yad is written on 2 pieces glued or sewn together, or both.
    Therefore I would find it very difficult to say that their Tefillin were not Mehudar.


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