Buying tefillin online. Need help.

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  • #609157
    Hrolfr
    Member

    I need new tefillin. Received 3 recommendations; Tefillin BeitE-L, hasofer.com and stam.net.

    Any opinions? I contacted all 3 via email, but only Hasofer.com responded. Which one are Litvish most inclined to purchase from?

    #985150
    zalman
    Participant

    good advice: DON’T. At best you’ll get ripped off, at worst they will be pasul

    #985151
    squeak
    Participant

    I agree with the title.

    #985152
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Squeak, not nice. Funny, but not nice.

    #985153
    yehudayona
    Participant

    Any reason you can’t buy locally from a reliable sofer? Are you in North Dakota or something like that?

    #985154
    dafyomi2711
    Member

    would you buy a car online without seeing it first and getting a mechanics opinion so why would you buy something as choshuv as teffilin?!!!

    #985155
    dafyomi2711
    Member

    on line — sorry

    #985156
    WIY
    Member

    Hrolfr

    Go to a local sofer who is reliable and someone you can trust.

    #985157
    Hrolfr
    Member

    @zalman – even those sold by R’ Yerachmiel Askotzky, etc?


    @yehudayona
    – No soferim in Scandinavia, as far as I know.


    @dafyomi2711
    – dont have much of a choice really.

    @WIY – a local sofer would be the first choice, if it were an option.

    #985158
    twisted
    Participant

    Tefilin BetEl is a truly quality product, unless the level of mechanization and technology they use bothers you, and the company supports a community of yir’ei shomayim. They also have a transparent operation, open to the public. I am sure they have an operating website from which you can order.

    #985159
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    My advice is to find a reliable sofer through the regular channels; a trusted rav, family, friends, etc. Speak to him on the phone, and have him ship it.

    #985160
    WIY
    Member

    Hrolfr

    My first pair of tefillin were made in EY and shipped to NY. I second DY have someone you know either your Rav or a Rav or Rosh Kollel or someone you know who is connected make a recommendatio for you of a sofer he knows or put you in touch with someone who can help you.

    #985161
    be good
    Participant

    I can vouch for Hasofer.com I know the owner and some of the sofrim there personally and they are very frum, and do high quality safrus. I know many very chashuva people (including my own father and brothers) who get their tefillin and tashmishei kdusha there.

    But as you don’t know me, I don’t know if that is worth much… you can call them and talk to the owner R’Moshe Flumenbaum. He is american and speaks English.

    #985163
    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    There is no reason not to buy tefillin online if you do your due diligence. There are a number of reliable soferim who have websites you can purchase from. I have no affiliation with any of the sites as a customer to some of them.

    I too can vouch for hasofer.com. The owner is a talmid chochom as well as a professional and known as an authority on STA”M shailos.

    Tefillin Beit El is a relatively (safrus is by it’s nature a cottage industry) large operation with an excellent reputation for quality. They also offer free shipping which is a significant bonus if you’re in Scandinavia. A word of professional advice: though Beit-El recommends the “chofetz chaim” knot, most soferim and batim-machers don’t because it puts heavy stress on the ma’abarta. Ask them to fasten the knot with a gid instead.

    torahscroll.com is the website of a senior sofer named Yitzchok Reisman. My own STA”M teacher remembers hearing of him as a veteran magiha 30+ years ago. There is no order form on his website and the site is kind of thin in general but he does have contact information.

    #985164
    Hrolfr
    Member

    @ItcheSrulik – thank you for the advice (as well as the 3rd stamp of approval for hasofer I’ve received now).

    You mentioned that Tefillin Beit El has free shipping, which explains why I saw no shipping charge anywhere which i thought would be calculated later or have some astronomical shipping cost. Do you happen to know how Tefillin Beitel ships? I know hasofer has a UPS option, which is great because it’s trackable + UPS will clear international customs, as opposed to local mail which requires me to do it myself.

    #985166
    Menachem Melamed
    Participant

    It is certainly best if you can get assistance from a Rav that you know. If you cannot – Tefillin Bet El is a good option. They have a web-site and e-mail. They have always been very helpful when I contacted them. They have a various qualities available. I suggest going for the best that you can afford. I agree with the previous poster who suggest having them fasted the “yud” with a “gid” rather than using what is called a “Chofetz Chaim Knot”. Many soferim are not favoraible inclined to using the “kesher” called the “Chofetz Chaim Knot”.

    #985167
    Hrolfr
    Member

    @Menachem Melamed – how long did they take to revert to your emails?

    #985168
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    Shalom!

    I am Yerachmiel Askotzky, owner of stam.net. If you e-mailed us then we’d have replied within hours, if that, unless it was after hours. Apparently we didn’t receive your e-mail or you didn’t receive our reply. Sorry about that. Feel free to call or e-mail again and we’d be happy to assist you.

    Had I not seen this discussion and set the facts straight, it may have been assumed that we were not a serious source since we didn’t respond to hrolfr. Havei dan es kol adam lekav zechus!

    Zalman’s comment is nothing more that than motzei shem ra and should never have been accepted by the moderator! This is one of the few frum sites I read or comment on, as comments allowed on most other so called frum sites are filled with lashon hara and motze shem ra and are far from daas Torah and I don’t want to be associated with them. I suggest that the moderator be more responsible.

    We and hasofer among some other online sources (most of whom are actual businesses with an online presence) are as or more reliable, experienced, highly recommended and reasonable than most of your local neighborhood sofrim. A reliable website like ours, provides information about ourselves and what we offer, our standards and letters of approval from rabbanim. We are also accessible by phone, e-mail and in person and everything is transparent and can be confirmed.

    We are not fly by night sources but have been doing this for years and are respected experts and well published (go to the kashrus Korner of this website).

    As i write this, a rosh yeshiva came by to pick up mezuzahs he brought to have checked and to purchase some more. This is besides the shul rav who ordered a new pair of tefillin for himself a few hours ago after we checked his tefillin and uncovered problems overlooked by others and another shul rav who is deciding which parshios to choose for his son….

    Choosing a source for STAM requires research and consulting with rabbanim, particularly those who are experts in STAM.

    I do agree that Gid (or a synthetic string, which is acceptable according to most) works better to hold the kesher against the bayis.

    #985169
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    Most sources in Israel ship with EMS and it is delivered in the US via the USPS (signature required) or worldwide by your local postal service. It usually takes 3-5 days and can be tracked. I’ve never heard of any custom charges by customs of any country, whether it be a pair of tefillin or expensive sterling silver Torah ornaments. At most there will be a delay in customs of a few days, no matter which shipping service is used. UPS and FED EX are expensive hence most use the post office express option, which is very reliable and costs around $25 for a pair of tefillin.

    #985171
    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Reb Yerachmiel: While I haven’t (yet) done business with you, I’d like to compliment you on your site. The educational materials are a very nice touch.

    Regarding holding the knot in place, another trick I’ve seen is to stuff a small piece of retzua into the ma’abarta. Never done it though because I’m always afraid it will fall out.

    #985172
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I have met Rabbi Askotzky personally, and was impressed.

    #985173
    147
    Participant

    I need new tefillin. Received 3 recommendations; Tefillin BeitE-L, hasofer.com and stam.net.

    Hrolfr:- Unequivocally & without any hesitation nor 2nd thought:- Absolutely procure your Tefillin from Tefillin Bet-El.

    They are great & superb, and I have dealt with them for over 3 decades, and there simply is no looking back.

    When I was in Yeshiva in Israel over 3 deacdes ago, the Posek there told me to only go to Tefillin Bet-El and no-where else, and I have been on board with them, ever since.

    I recently had a pair of their Tefillin checked at a well known Sofer in Brooklyn NY, and they were in awe at the high quality of the Parshiyos & Tefillin.

    Hrolfr:- This is an absolute no-brainer:- Acquire your Tefillin from Tefillin Bet-El.

    #985174
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    The piece of retzuah (it can’t be a used piece since it has kedusha) may keep the retzuah from moving around within the maavarta but it usually doesn’t keep the Yud against the bayis so I don’t recommend it.

    Please note that I didn’t specifically mention Beit El by name as a reliable online source, as while I’m sure they are very reliable, if I don’t know them personally then I can’t honestly mention them by name. I do know Hasofer so can mention them by name. Besides the 3 sources mentioned, there are a number of others that I understand are highly regarded.

    #985175
    Ctrl Alt Del
    Participant

    Itche, I use that trick and I have never had a problem. If its large enough it will wedge nice and tight.

    #985176
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    I know Rabbi Askotzky and can vouch for his kashrus 100%, but I don’t necessarily agree with his post (if that really was him). I think it is fair warning to tell someone not to buy tefillin online, and if you don’t have good reason to know that it is kosher (word of mouth, recommendations etc) than you have NO CLUE if anything you are seeing or reading is true. If you buy from his website it will be because you hear nothing but good things about him, not because it looks kosher.

    #985177
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    If it works for you that’s great! However, when i receive tefillin for checking I usually find that it isn’t holding the kesher against the bayis, even if the retzuah is snugly in place within the maavarta, which is also not always the case.

    #985178
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    Syag,

    If it sounded like I was suggesting that online sources are fine without exception or you can judge the website by how nice it looks then I apologize. What I am saying is that there are some excellent online sources, most of whom are regular businesses with an online presence. The sofrim or proprietors are known to be reliable or can be easily confirmed. You need to see if the website provides information about who they are, what their standards are and if they have recommendations from rabbanim and then you should do your due diligence and confirm that they are reliable. To repeat, choosing a source for STAM, whether online, out of town (ordering by phone) or a local source, requires research and consulting with rabbanim, particularly those who are experts in STAM.

    #985179
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    how did you answer a post that has not yet gone up?

    it possibly went up and was later unapproved by mistake

    #985180
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Mod – coooool!

    TR – I appreciate your apology because, to be honest, I thought this thread was a joke and had no idea there were legitimate sofrim online. I had the exact same response as Zalman prepared and was very surprised to read subsequent posts stating that you and others have an online presence. Even still, I would be very surprised to find sofrim of your caliber actually posting and if I didn’t know your name as trustworthy (and my house is filled with your mezuzos) I would find that weird.

    #985181
    Hrolfr
    Member

    @Tefillin Rabbi – In many cases there’s some amount of import tax for shipments that cost more than 300 USD or so, depending on the region. UPS/FedEx clears those for the recipient, and then collects the money upon delivery, whereas local mail generally holds the package at the local customs HQ, and requires you to make the payment yourself.

    So in the case of tefillin, ranging to over a thousand, import tax is almost definitely going to be incurred in quite a number of countries.

    #985182
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    I personally don’t know any anyone who was charged anything by customs for packages they received from us.

    The cost to ship with UPS, DHL and Fed Ex is much more expensive hence, most prefer to use EMS.

    #985183
    tefillin rabbi
    Participant

    There are many legitimate dealers of STAM selling online or at least have some sort of online presence. Most are US or Israel based businesses that have expanded to the Internet sometime in the last 20 years to reach a wider audience. I don’t typically spend more time on this site other than to check out the news a few times a week. I saw the thread on tefillin and posted. I am an educator as much as a dealer of STAM and felt I had what to offer to this discussion and I’m glad it has been enlightening.

    I recommend going to page 2 of kashrus Korner of this site to read 4 helpful articles that I was invited to write a few months ago.

    #985184
    BSlobodkin
    Participant

    I can also vouch for HaSofer. I have dealt with the staff, and they are extremely ehrlich and knowledgeable. Another highly reputed tefillin dealer to add to the list is Rabbi Shmuel Rosenfeld (Min HaSTam). He has a shop in Geula/Meah Shearim. He doesn’t sell online, but you can order his tefillin gassos online at Ben’s Tallit Shop, which is also based in Yerushalayim.

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