B'dieved Mezuzahs

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    I saw the Hamodia article this past Shabbos (regarding how many many Mezuzas are treif or b’dieved), and I have a neighbor who writes Mezuzahs. I figured okay, it’s a Mitzva d’oraysa, I may as well have him take a look and see if there’s anything to the article or if it’s just baseless chumras. I started with one Mezuzah… every Mezuzah I had was not Mehudar (one he told me is called a “chinese mezuzah” which means they just photocopied it. But that one I wasn’t so surprised, someone gave it to me as a gift inside some artsy mezuzah case). It was rather surprising because I bought them from a store in NY (I’m unsure if it’s lashon hara to tell the name, if I get a psak that I should, I will publicize the name) and the guy told me every mezuzah was checked in Israel and by the sofer in the store. I asked him what’s the difference between Mezuzah’s and he told me they’re all the same it’s just a handwriting difference. L’maysa I think it is a mitzva to be mefarseim and I am very thankful to Zichron olam and Hamodia for publicizing the issue. (The issue then becomes, where can I buy REALLY trustworthy Mezuzos asap? My neighbor doesn’t have time to write Mezuzos, he has a different job). I think it is a mitzvah to tell everyone you know to have their mezuzos looked at, I was very disappointed.


    Guess I should have labeled this: YOUR MEZUZOS ARE PASSUL!!!!! to get people’s attention


    When my husband and I bought our first mezuzah, we asked the man at the store if we could inspect the klaf and he said sure and handed us a stack of them. We looked at all of them and chose the one that we thought looked neatest and most painstakingly written. (Obviously neither of us is a sofer, but we used our own judgment).


    It seems to me that the best way to buy trustworthy STAM is to ask your Rav to recommend a sofer.


    When I rented an apartment, we had the mezuzos we inherited from the previous tenant. We had them inspected and found they were kosher but not mehudar at all. The sofer said he’d say 2 of them were kosher b’dieved. We replaced all the mezuzos with mehudar ones.

    Shortly after, we bought a house. We got lucky that while a Jewish tenant was taking over our apartment, the landlord wanted to do a lot of work there first, so we were told to take the mezuzos with us. We needed more than what we had in the apartment, so I called my uncle who is a sofer and asked him to get me some. He lives pretty far from me, but luckily, we moved in May, and a co-worker of mine was visiting his in-laws for Pesach, who live near my uncle. He brought them back for me.

    It turned out we mis-counted the number we’d need, and were one short. I put up one of the old non-mehudar ones temporarily, and ordered one more mehudar one. When it came, I switched it. I gave the others to a Rav who told me he could use them to give to people sometimes when they needed them quickly.


    A yarei shomayim obeys rules and doesnt shout.


    I am a ba’al korei, so I looked through plenty of mezuzos before I purchased mine. The issue is that I didn’t know the details. Apparently none of my Lamed’s had tagin (the crowns) and that’s a clear Halacha in the Shulchan Aruch (that I didn’t know about, cause I never learned Hilchos Mezuzah). Once I bought them and I didn’t know better then it becomes a machlokes whether it’s considered l’chatchila or b’dieved etc. etc… And I bought mine from a person whose sofer seems to be a total yarei shamayim! (the sofer didn’t write them, he just looked them over). The point is, just cause the seller is an honest person, doesn’t mean that the person who wrote your Mezuzah is honest (or knowledgable!) As the article said “50% of STAM are written by people who do not have a ksav kabbalah”. I’m not embarrassed to say that I ordered 10 Mezuzos from zichronolam, it’s a mitzvah d’oraysa, i’d rather buy one with a hechsher and not have to worry it was written by an Arab or someone writing it “l’shem kedushas kesef” (to make money)


    Oh, my friend told me, (I’ll need to ask him the exact number he said cause I don’t recall for certain), that if you’re not paying 90 or 100 per Mezuzah they’re probably b’dieved. – That was a chiddush to me, but if you don’t work in the business you don’t know these things. So yeah if you paid for a proper one I hope/assume yours are fine


    am also a seasoned baal koreh, and have seen ksav from ancient to new, from east to west, and I understand how letters spring, fade, crack, and wear. Buy mehudar, but never have it checked without planning to replace, because given the qualities of the ink and the klaf, when unrolled from that tight wrap, the letters will have vertical cracks. This is also somewhat of a problem with parshiyos shel rosh. A hardedned liquid applique to a flexible base, it does not fold well.



    I am surprised at what you wrote.

    I have not seen a decent mezuzah crack in a long time.

    if this were a real chashash you would be mechuyav to immediately check it after rolling, which would make it impossible to ever put up a mezuzah.

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit

    If you have a gentle touch you should be able to unroll a mezuzah without cracking it

    Menachem Melamed

    I strongly suggest that if you want to fulfill the mitzvos of tefillin and mezuzah properly that you follow a few prudent steps:

    Purchase your mezuzos and tefillin from someone that you or your Rav know well. Tell the seller that you want high quality without any compromise – and that you are not looking for something “cheap”. If you cannot afford top quality for all of your rooms, you can save some money by asking your Rav which rooms are “questionable” as to their need of a mezuzah. You might be able to save some money by buying a lower grade of l’chatchila mezuzos for those rooms. Please pay as much as you can afford for top notch tefillin. Tefillin are forever. Make sure to take your son with you when you buy his tefillin. If he sees that there is nothing as important to you as his tefillin his Yiddishkeit and that of your future grandchildren will be given a major push in the right direction.


    ryaakovweinbergztlfan: As someone who is also in the business, that number sounds a little high. You can get lechatchilah mezuzos for as low as $35 if you know where to look (not factoring in checking because at that price it’s a mixed bag). Mehudar start at 55, 60 or so.

    twisted: That is simply not true. Sta”m ink can last for decades, sometimes centuries without cracking. Also, many sofrim (I haven’t but I don’t write for sochrim) have switched to a flexible ink called dyo lanetzach that doesn’t crack at all.


    Twisted: I think that’s mostly if you have old/cheap klaf

    Meneachem Melamed: Well said. (I think the only issue is sometimes the seller might not know the sofer.) I am happy with ZichronOlam.com cause I know the Star K has checked out the Soferim and they are giving their hechsher that the Mezuzos/Tefillin/sefer torah are Mehudar and written by “Mehudar” people.

    ItcheSrulik: You’re right. My friend thinks Mehudar start at $65 in NY; so I’m sure there are slightly cheaper places (I guess it might also depend on the shekel rate etc?). I live “out of town” so I prices are usually slightly higher.


    In E”Y, after talking with many avreichim and after moving into many apartments that have had previous kollel families living in them, and myself trying to be careful about mezuzos, I have more than once found that the people before you are “relying on the people before them.” And, many times, it traces back to someone who wasn’t the biggest yarei shomayim, and, at times, even someone who wasn’t really frum! One guy told me, “we don’t even use those doors!” and, lo and behold, the mezuzos were pasul. I found a mezuza was even put in UPSIDE DOWN in an apartment: TWICE. So many b’nei Torah don’t even think about it – and they after all told me excuses.

    Then, ESPECIALLY after talking with sofer friends, about checking their friends mezuzos in rentals in E”Y, DO NOT trust what came before you. ALWAYS check. Besides the fact you need to check twice in seven years. Call your local gemach to borrow to go and check. If you don’t have one, make one. If you can’t make one, take some maaser and donate to one.


    I never updated, and I was reminded I should have:

    The Mezuzos arrived from Zichron Olam, all were beautiful and extremely Mehudar. I was very pleased.


    A person could inspect the klaf against a reputable tikkun sofrim.


    I am skeptical of any field in which the examiners are the same as the service providers, and in which the customers are completely unsophisticated.


    Reb Doniel – I don’t think most people are aware what it is they need to be looking for, and what makes something mehudar. Also, as you said, it has to be a “reputable” tikkun sofrim.

    Veltz- Yes. That’s not exactly the problem. But, yes, that’s the point of this post, to make sure people are aware of the issues and purchase from a reputable source.


    I hope people who spend hundreds of dollars (every year) on lulavim and esrogim [where you can go around showing everyone how great yours looks] are also spending hundreds of dollars for the finest Mezuzos [where no one can see how great your mezuzah looks, just how great the silver case you bought for it looks].


    I have seen a handful of mezuzah cases that are partially glass, so you can see a bit of the klaf. So far I haven’t found one I like, which is a shame, since I do think the klaf should be displayed if possible.


    Oppen Scrolls in Far Rockaway


    Oppen Scrolls is off Rockaway Turnpike in Lawrence, not Far Rockaway. It is in the parking lot right on the block between the LIRR tracks and the BOGO Pizza place.


    oomis…so….wanna go out for a coffee one day?:)

    when yom tov life settles down a little…

    I’m still trying to figure out where one town ends and the next one begins, Cedarhurst starts by Washington Ave….all that.

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