Since there has been a spate of posts pertaining to fraud, I feel compelled to post this truly shocking case that just came my way. A good Jew from Melbourne who has been very ill (life threatening) asked his Rabbi to bring me his tefillin for checking. The tefillin were bought for $500 USD at a "Tashmishei Kedusha" store in the old city of Yerushalayim. The buyer met with the sofer himself (see attached card) who assured him the tefillin were strictly kosher and that he had put them together himself. The sofer  wore a beard and Yarmulkah and presented certification.

I recognised the "certification" that came with the tefillin as I had encountered problems before from this sofer. So I opened up the tefillin together with the rabbi, and what we found was mindboggling:

Please see the pictures below and note the following:

1) shel yad old mashuach possul letters, kav moshuch, cracks,  no tagin etc.
2) shel rosh - every parshah from a different sofer (no way it could be kesidran). Every parsha had some sort of tikun, some with pen, clearly not written halachadic or kesidran. Obviously these were bits taken from genizah.
3) The rosh had no parshas kadesh. Instead there 
were two vehoya ki yeviecha parshiyos. The second was cut out from a shel yad parsha.
4) Remember, this was from the Rova in the Old City, not a tourist shop in Tel Aviv who know no better. This was sold by a "frum" chareidi sofer!

It doesn't cease to anger me when I encounter these things.  To those of us in the industry including the many readers of this forum who put their "kishkes" into every detail and nuance, who drive themselves crazy if a yud is choser eiver or a ches has to be fixed to be thicker on the right, and then along comes a guy like this and desecrates all things holy about our work and violates the great responsibility involved in our work and shamelessly desecrates Hashems name, not once but repeatedly...such a person must be confronted and stopped, if not by the rabbinate then by the appropriate civil authorities on the basis of the criminal fraud he perpetrates.


  1. There is an aspect of Achzarius in some of these people. I was made aware - 25 years ago - of a person in my Brooklyn community who had a son with severe delays. By his later teen years, he had progressed B"H to the point that this person's Poskim directed him to get Tefillin for his son. He went to a Sofer (here) offering to pay for the best Parshioys. He was especially sensitive to the fact that the Tefillin sit on the brain (V'al Harosh Neged Hamo'ach...). 3 years later he had them checked. There were newspaper clippings inside. When confronted, it became apparent that the Sofer - or seller - had dismissed the entire venture because the boy "was just a shoteh". What was particularly painful was the tearful statement this father made to my Chaver: "What did he gain by doing this? $1,000? (1999). I would have PAID him the extra thousand - or ANY amount! - to get good Parshiyos for my son ...."

    1. What a horrible story. sickening. Hashem yerachem

  2. This is sickening. Do you have a picture of the certification as well as the guy's card?

    This is a very sensitive topic but did the yid who bought the tefillin look "charedi"? Sometimes people assume someone who looks "less frum" couldn't possibly care about getting good tefillin. I have a trimmed beard and wear a knitted kippa and have run into similar issues.

    1. Here's the thing: I've seen chareidim with trimmed beards, even some Chassidische Rebbe'im! How can we predicate frommkeit based on the length of someone's beard? I read on Wikipedia that when Irving Bunim visited R' Yoel Teitelbaum זצ”ל of Satmar, a chassid who made fun of him received the following reprimand: When Mr. Bunim goes before Hakodosh Boruch Hu, he will be asked "Jew, where is your beard?" However, when you go before הקב”ה, he will ask "Beard, where is your Jew?"

      FWIW, I switch between kippot serugot and suede (although for formal occasions I'd wear a velvet kippah, based on the dress-code such circles) and I had my beard trimmed last week.

  3. RABOSEI: I met the GARMA Family they live in beit shan hence the name סת"ם שאן.They do not wear long beards or look chareidi,they look like the typical israeli frum tzioni sfardi jew. They offered me mezuzos for 16$ about 5 years ago.the mezuzos were bad and definitely not more kosher than bdieved. My gut feeling is that this business card without a personal name or phone # is part of the fraud,the only way to track this guy down is by his email or phone #.

    1. Good to know. The buyer described him as charedi looking. The buyer was more modern.

      But they are frum? How could they do this? How could they justify it?

      Selling $16 bedieved mezuzos make them look like tzadikim compared to what they sold here

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Good to know. As more people ask me for recommendations/help them find stuff I'm going to need to build up a "To Avoid" list. Yasher Koach!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

shin in "Alter Rebbe" script

Not a "khaf"