Written by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Wolf
I am grateful to Rabbi Moskowitz for helping me bring important awareness and clarity to the public.
In our phone conversation, Rabbi Moskowitz shared with me that his esteemed shver had spoken about the major problem with the Kingston Avenue Sofrim. The same awareness that I am trying to bring to the public today concerned Harav Zirkind over 30 years ago.
HaRav Zirkind A”H, a Sofer with true Yiras Shomayim, maintained a very unique position regarding STA”M. In contrast to mainstream Poskim, he was known to be very meikil wherever possible in order to avoid having to bury Hashem’s name.
I thank Rabbi Moscowitz for clarifying that one (or two) of these mezuzos are thus indeed kosher according to HaRav Zirkind.
This only strengthens and underscores the severity of the problem at hand. Rabbi Moskowitz made it clear that he declares mezuzos posul only when he can find absolutely no heter to rely on – even according to his shver’s standards. Thus, the results seen in the video coming from Hasofer, Hamefitz, Merkaz Stam, and R’ Clapman don’t even pass according to Harav Zirkind. Even when judging by the guidelines of HaRav Zirkind, whose opinion on STA”M was more lenient than all other Poskim – 6 (or 7) of these mezuzos should have been considered Posul!
For the sake of openness and transparency, I would like to address specific assertions and questions raised in Rabbi Moscowitz’s letter:
1) “The zayin in the word “mezuzois” …. the mezuzah was switched to another mezuzah that was not shown on the deceitful video”.
Yes, it is true that this specific mezuzah was switched, but only after Merkaz Stam cut the mezuzah that was sent to them. The new mezuzah was clearly shown in the video at minute 10:09.
2) “If a Sofer kashered it according to his knowledge, then how can Rabbi Wolf make it posul again, thereby destroying kisvei kodesh? It is akin to burying Hashem’s name in the earth!”
This is a very important question. As I began this project, I was very concerned with this likely scenario, knowing that certain mezuzos could be corrected according to Halacha and tampering with them before sending them to another Sofer would then be problematic. It is for this reason that I deliberately chose mezuzos which were already irreparably posul with other p’sulim and “corrected” them. Thus, in a situation where it was halachically permitted for the Sofer to “kasher it”, unbeknownst to him, the mezuzah was actually still pasul. This means that there was never a point at which “burying Hashem’s name in the earth” was indeed a concern.
3) By tampering with the mezuzah each time anew, it will not be the same original shayloh!”
Only when a sofer fixed a p’sul did I have it reinstated. I did my best to ensure that the p’sul should look identical to the original defect sent to the previous stores. In addition, I had all changes displayed clearly on the video.
Once again, I thank Rabbi Moskowitz for his dedicated service to the Lubavitch community and his commitment to excellence in all matters related to STA”M. May our collective efforts bring about a lasting positive change in the quality of STA”M purchased and checked in the Rebbe’s shchunah. May the Zechus of Mivtza Tefillin and Mivtza Mezuza bring Klal Yisrael to the Geula Shleima with Malkeinu B’rosheinu!