web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



The Art of the Scribe

There are thousands of unqualified soferim in both America and Israel who sell items that, far from being first-rate, are not even kosher.
f130630ns18

Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

There are thousands of unqualified soferim in both America and Israel who sell items that, far from being first-rate, are not even kosher. There is hardly any oversight of the ancient profession of the Jewish scribe, leading to untold chaos in the marketplace. Just imagine going to the trouble of actually putting on tefillin every day, and having mezuzos on your doors, without even knowing that they are not kosher and are spiritually illegitimate. And tefillin and mezuzos which are pumped out by scribes quickly and in their thousands to make the scribe more money are likely not even kosher because if the writing is even off even just a little, let alone illegible in its sloppiness, like many I’ve seen, then the entire item is unkosher. In Jewish law 99% kosher is 100% not kosher. It’s like having a computer code or even an e-mail address that’s missing just a single letter and throws the code off completely.

In the course of looking for the best tefillin for my son Yosef, I discovered Rabbi Yitzchok Raskin in Crown Heights, who had helped our shule in Englewood acquire its sefer torah. Rabbi Raskin impressed me immediately when he shared the following observation. When a person goes for open-heart surgery, they research the surgeon extensively in order to ascertain that he knows the most competent professional. By contrast, people travel by air all the time without doing any research about whether or not the pilot is responsible. You just walk on the plane and expect it to easily cross the Atlantic. What gives? The difference between the two, Rabbi Raskin argued, is that the airline pilot travels with his passengers, putting his life in as much risk as theirs. Since he shares in the risk he gains an added level of credibility. From a spiritual perspective, tefillin and mezuzahs need to follow the open-heart surgery model. The scribe is simply selling you a product. He is not putting them on with you and his credibility should be ascertained before you walk out his door with your new mezuzah.

Rabbi Raskin developed a unique business model, bringing the most modern technology to bear upon the ancient art of the Jewish scribe, like employing computer checks of parchment scrolls. I was especially impressed by their “Mezuzah Guide App,” meant to afford people the ease of checking a mezuzah’s quality by snapping a photo of the mezuzah to be sent directly to the scribes at Machon Stam. This is a quick, high-tech antidote to rampant mezuzah fraud. No longer can a store owner waive a parchment and claim that it’s kosher with no method for the consumer to verify his claim. Now, with a picture and an email a consumer can discover the truth of his mezuzah.

The app was developed by Shmuel Aber, who developed vital tool in memory of his daughter Sheina Bracha. The app is now available for free download for Apple, Android, and Blackberry.

A new Tefillin Guide was just released with detailed instructions for laying tefillin. The prayers can be read in seven languages, use the Tefillin mirror, navigate with the Jerusalem compass, and read and watch tutorials, all with the design interface of Apple’s new operating system. You can also use the app to acquire a new pair of quality authentic tefillin through Machon Stam.

While speaking to Rabbi Raskin, I was impressed at his eagerness to bring professional market considerations, like quality and customer support, to the often-neglected art of safrus. The greater the professionalism when it comes to things of Jewish ritual observance the higher the integrity and quality of the product.

Likewise, when you hand over Tefillin to be checked, you need to know that punctuality will be respected. After all, you need your tefillin on your arm and heart, not sitting in someone’s store being checked. When we purchased our sefer Torah, Machon Stam was able to show us that top experts in the field had inspected it, both the quality of the parchment and every single one of hundreds of thousands of letters. Rabbi Raskin’s work has considerably raised the bar of the ancient art of the scribe, ensuring high quality Torahs, tefillin, and mezuzas at competitive prices that do not compromise quality.

About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The Art of the Scribe”

  1. Basha Kline says:

    We have been blessed with so many articles to prove our past and reasoning for our existence, most of which we take for granted but it will take a non-Jew to remind us who we are!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ayala Shapira, 11, is fighting for her life after suffering burn wounds when an Arab terrorist threw a Molotov cocktail at the car in which she was riding.
‘Slight Improvement’ in Life-threatening Condition of Firebomb Victim
Latest Indepth Stories
Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

Cohen-122614

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

Obama’s comments calling Israeli settlements “unhelpful”are harsher than prior US administrations’

More Articles from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

On the one hand, Putin has been a friend to Chabad and to Israel. On the other hand, Putin is a brutal dictator.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the American Jewish public.

Rabbi Schochet wrote the Johannesburg Beis Din: It is totally prohibited and unacceptable to hear someone like Boteach.

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

The world and the United State continue to give Rouhani a pass.

American Jews – especially those working on campus – don’t accept that we have a battle on our hands.

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/the-art-of-the-scribe/2013/10/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: