Since the Mezuza Fraud Saga has blown onto the Chabad world stage, ChabadInfo.com has been at the forefront of reporting on the developing story. ChabandInfo.com is continuing to closely monitor for additional updates and feedback, as well as responses from the Mezuza retailers and establishments. ChabadInfo.com will update the story as additional information becomes available.
Following is a letter sent by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Wolf, Chicago IL. to Rabbi Moishe Veiner Shlita, Rov of Chabad in Ramot Jerusalem, Poisek & Moiroh Hoiro’oh in the laws of Sta”m. He is an expert on the Alter Rebbe’s opinions and rulings on laws and formation of the letters, and author of the Sefer “Oitiyoit Horav” – A Halachik Authority by Anash and Shluchim in Eretz Yisroel.
The responses are inserted in the letter and highlighted by a different font.
Free Translation, original letter below:
I trust this letter finds the Rav in good health
I would like to relate a very painful occurrence.
I purchased 80 Mezuzos from a number of stores and when I ordered them I specifically said that I want Mezuzos that are Kosher L’chatchilah. I then took the Mezuzos to a qualified sofer (Magiah), who I personally know well, to check them. When he began examining them, he said that many can’t even be checked for they are completely improperly written according to Halacha.
He checked over the Mezuzohs and found many Psulim such as letters touching, letters split, excessive gaps between letters in a word, insufficient space between words, and a number of crowns on the letters that were missing.
I then took the Mezuzos to a second certified and reliable sofer (Magiah), whom I know, like the first sofer he too was shocked and amazed (at the quality or lack of).
There are some who tell me that all these flaws that I am presenting are not really disqualifying flaws and don’t even render the Mezuzos to be B’dieved and they are Kosher L’chatchila.
Therefore I respectfully ask (the Rav) 5 primary questions on these Mezuzos.
- What is the Din (ruling) on a Mezuzah that has an evident split in a letter?
- And what is the Din of a Mezuzah that has a split in a letter that is not discernible at first glance but only upon closer scrutiny.
Is such a Mezuzah considered Kosher Lichatchila with out any corrections needed to be made, or are they only kosher Bdieved, or are they Posul.
Reply: Any letter that has an easily discernable split anywhere in the body of the letter is Posul. There are some splits that are permissible to be repaired by Teffilin and Mezuzot, even after subsequent words have been written, and some (split words) that cannot be repaired after subsequent words have been written, as is explained in Shulchan Aruch Chapter 32, paragraphs 16 and 30.
A break (in a letter) that is not discernable (just is seen only with a magnifying glass) is not considered a split and is Kosher. (Based on the ruling found in the Responsa Doivev Meishorim From the Rav of Tshebin)
If however the split is evident after close (unaided) scrutiny then (the Mezuzah) is not considered Kosher Lichatchila. And must be corrected.
Concerning words that are written close to each other, or excessive space gaps between letters in a word which cause a child to read the word incorrectly. Is such a Mezuzah considered Kosher Lichatchila, or is it only (Kosher) Bedieved, or is it Posul?
Reply: It is posul (Invalid) as explained in Shulchan Aruch Chapter 32, paragraph 46
Mezuzos that are missing the Crowns on the letters shatna’z get’z, are they Kosher Lichatchila, as they are, or (are they) only (kosher) Bedieved, or are the Posul.
Reply: They are Kosher Bedieved, and Lichatchilah they should be corrected.
Shulchan Aruch Chapter 36, paragraph 5
A mezuzah where two letters are touching each other, and the Alter Rebbe writes about this situation that “ there are those that say it is kosher even without scraping off (the extra ink) but one should be more strict and scrape off (the extra ink)”. Does this mean that it is Kosher Lichatchila as is with the letters touching, or it is (only Kosher) Bedieved, or is it Posul as long as the letters are touching.
Reply: Any letter touching another letter should be considered Posul even Bedieved till he scrapes off the extra ink. As is explained in The Alter Rebbe Shulchon Aruch Chapter 32, paragraph 19 concerning a Chof Sofit that extends to the end of the parchment, that is ruled to be posul till he scrapes off (the extra ink). Based on the ruling of the Shu”a and the Magen Avraham there. That in fact is the custom to disqualify any letter that is not surrounded with (clear) parchment till he scrapes off (the extra ink)
5) I would also like to clarify on all the above if there would be a difference (in law) between a Mezuzah that someone purchases for himself to a Mezuzah that someone purchase for the Mivtzaim.
Reply: No difference
I am imploring the distinguished Rav to answer unambiguously and in detail since many shluchim and individuals do not understand the detailed laws of (writing) Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos, and are seeking clear practical Halachic rulings in these matters.
I would like to emphasize that I am not looking to create a Din Torah, arguments, or divisiveness and disagreements with the venders (selling Mezuzos) On the contrary, my intension is to make the general public aware and encouraged to purchase Mezuzos that are kosher Lichatchila. This will be of benefit to all as the venders will also be happy to sell only Mezuzos that are unquestionably and unambiguously Kosher.