Two letters touching in Tefillin make them not Kosher. The reason for this is that the Torah says Ukesavtom and we learn out that the letters have to be Kesivah Tama.
One of the ideas of Kesavah Tama is that the letters need to be separate from each other and be totally surrounded by Klaf.
Being that these letters which are touching do not loose their own letter status or together form a third letter this is an easy fix, it is only necessary to scrape the connection and it will then be Kosher.
Every letter needs to be surrounded by Klaf. Should the hole be along the letter it would make it not Kosher.
As you can see here the Mem has a hole inside. but the hole is not touching the letter itself therefore it is still kosher.
When two letters are touching form a different letter completely in most cases the Mezuzah can not be fixed.
There are two reasons for this:
1) The letters need to be written not scraped. it says in the Torah Uchesavtom "you shall write" not :you shall scrape: since the Reish and Vov lost their form in creating the Ches we cannot just separate them because we would be recreating these letters through scraping as opposed to writhing.
2) We cannot erase these letters completely to rewrite them because a Mezuzah needs to be written in order. It says “Vehoyu” and the Medresh explains “Behaviosom Yihiyu” which means that the order that the letters are in the Torah is the order that they have to be written in, so if for example the Sofer wrote the word of Shemah and then he realized that the shin was Possul he cannot just correct it he must first erase the Ayin and the Mem then correct the Shin and start again. (If Hashems name is written after the mistake it cannot be corrected, because in order to correct you would need to erase all written after the mistake and Hashems name cannot be erased) in this particular case the letters are technically not Reish and Vov but it is a Ches. If we were to separate them or even erase and rewrite them we would be creating a Reish and a Vov "out of order"
This is a broken letter ה it is considered Nifsak Nirah Lihedia. which means that this is a break in a letter which seen by the naked eye.
There is a Machlokes between Achronim what to do in such a scenario the more lenient opinion says that this should be shown to a child who knows the Alef Beis well but does not yet know how to read. For only he can judge the letters individually and not read it in the context of the word. I brought this Shaloh to Rabbi Vosner and he advised it be shown to a child, The child read it as a ה so this was able to be fixed (a little ink was added to reconnect the roof of the ה) however the Tefillin would no longer be considered Mehudar because according to the more stringent opinion this would be not Kosher.
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Many things can render Tefillin or Mezuzah not Kosher or at best minimally Kosher.
Some of these happen over time with aging and some unfortunately are Posul from the get go.
Letters, words and or Tagim that are missing, extra substituted, touching, Broken, Improperly Spaced, misshapen faded, cracked and weather damaged.
We document the problems we find and periodically upload them to the website.
We hope that this will educate and encourage the public to purchase only Tefillin and Mezuzas that are high quality from a reputable source, to take care of them properly and have them checked regularly.
Rabbi Kass was ordained by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Ashkenazik Chief Rabbi of Israel. He is certified as a Sofer for both Kesivah and Hagoah by one of the leading experts in Safrus, Rabbi Avrohom Tzvi Vosner, Rav of the Vad Mishmeres Sta”m.