There are Many things that can render Tefillin or Mezuzah not Kosher or at best minimally Kosher.
Some of which 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.
This Sefer Torah was brought to me by one of the local Shuls in Monsey. They discovered this problem when they were reading it on Shabbos. What you see here is corrosion of the ink, this is common with older Sifrei Torah due to the oxidation of the ink . Traditional ink has Kankantom in it, Kankantom is an ingredient that causes corrosion, the Shulchan Arucha actually says that it is an ingredient that should preferably not be used in the making of the ink for Tefillin, Mezuzah and Sefer Torah. and indeed in the times of the Gemorah they did not use Kankantom in the ink. However through Galus the secret to making the ink was lost and today all traditional inks included Kankantom.
Lesson: If your Shul has an older Sefer Torah it is advisable to have a Sofer look it over the parshah before every Shabbos to assure all the letters and words are black.
This Mezuzah was written sloppily and and as you can see here there is a very interesting scenario.
What is the problem?
We have the Yud of ידכם and the Vov of והיו and they are practically the same length.
A short vov (depending how short) is technically a Yud and a long Yud (depending on length) is a vov.
Usually each Shaloh is presented individually and judged accordingly and in context to the Ksav... However here we have a Vov and a Yud practically the same length and one after the other. This makes it a bit more difficult because they can't both be Kosher.
I bought this to a Rav who Paskend that the Vov was to short and this Mezuzah is not Kosher.
Q.What should you do if you bought or received as a gift a nice Stone Mezuzah case from Israel and you discover your Mezuzah does not fit in the case?
Either buy a new smaller Mezuzah, or put this case in your breakfront for display and purchase a new case the correct size. Folding a Mezuzah and inserting it sideways is not the solution. A Kosher Mezuzah needs to be rolled upright from left to right like a scroll, so that if we were to open it from the right we would be able to read the text.
In addition the fold in this particular Mezuzah was so sharply creased that it broke all the letters on the crease and the Mezuzah was no longer Kosher.
Lesson: Have a certified Sofer insert your Mezuzos in your case for you, to ensure that it will be done correctly.
These Retzuos started out as 15mm (as you can see the one on the left) and were stretched to the point where they are now less then 9mm (Retzuah on the right),
The preferable width is 11mm according to the Chazon Ish and 10mm according to Rav Chaim Naeh. The minimal width for making a Brachah is 9mm. If a Retzuah has been squeezed together at one spot making it less than the minimal width but it can be pulled back in to the minimal width it is acceptable . If however it has been stretched out and is narrower than the minimal width at any spot it must be replaced.
The end of the Retzuos may be cut on an angle even though they will be less than the minimal width.
Lesson: Do not tie the straps on very tight or wrap them on the box very tightly as this will lead to eventual stretching and invalidating the Tefillin straps
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.