Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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6 Elul 5759 - August 18, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Gedolei Haposkim Say Buy Certified Stam Items

by Betzalel Kahn

The great poskim of our times have issued a heartfelt appeal to those in the Stam (Sifrei Torah, Tefillin, Mezuzos) field, as well as to the entire chareidi public, not to purchase Stam items lacking certification from a rabbinical body.

A call signed by the gedolei haTorah, Maranan HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav Nissim Karelitz and additional rabbonim, requests that sofrei Stam as well as those who check mezuzos undergo certification examinations and to commit themselves to following the guidelines of gedolei Yisroel in this field.

The appeal was issued in order to correct the serious breaches in this area which have long disturbed all those involved in Stam.

Various organizations, both veteran and recently organized, are trying to arouse the public at large as well as morei horo'oh and communal leaders to take steps to correct the existing, serious breaches in the area of Stam.

The lack of rabbinical supervision in this area has given rise to situations in which non-Jews as well as Shabbos desecraters work in the field in order to supplement their income. Activists involved say that the situation is grave enough and there may be additional breaches, whose scope is still unknown.

Alongside this, it is clear even that among accepted sofrei Stam there are still many who lack proficiency in the field. In addition, there are those whose writing may appear excellent, but in essence they lack understanding of the laws of safrus and are the cause of many obstacles, such as tefillin or mezuzos or even sifrei Torah which are posul.. These errors include the failure to write the letters according to the halocho or the writing of parshiyos in incorrect order.

In addition, the BaDaTz of the Eida HaChareidis in Jerusalem has issued a call to the public to be careful about the kashrus of their mezuzos and other products of sofrei Stam, and to purchase them only from sofrim that have been certified by authorized rabbonim.

Organizations for Stam, such as the Machon Mishmeres Stam, the Va'adas Kedushas Stam in Bnei Brak, the Vaad Mefakchei Stam in Jerusalem and the Mercaz Lishkas Hasofrim, have been training sofrim for a long time. Now, in light of the appeal of gedolei Yisroel, in addition to in-depth study programs, they will organize his'orerus rallies and explanatory meetings for the public at large, especially for those who write parshiyos of tefillin and mezuzos, as well as for those who examine and proofread them, an area in which considerable improvement is also needed.

Gedolei Yisroel have received appalling testimonies about the current situation. They have issued the above- mentioned letter in hope to alert the community to the issue, and begin to demand certification testifying to the kashrus of each and every item involving safrus Stam.

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