Checking Mezuzos and Tefillin in Elul

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Checking ones Mezuzos and Tefillin:[1] 

It is customary to check one’s Tefillin and Mezuzos during the month of Elul [if they have not been checked within the previous 12 months[2]].[3] One is to publicize this matter to others.[4] Doing so helps draw down a Kesiva Vechasima Tova for the coming year.[5]

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[1] Mateh Efraim 581:10 [“There are meticulous men that are check their Mitzvos and check to make sure their Tefillin and Mezuzos are Kosher. This is a good custom”]; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3; Rebbe in Toras Menachem 1988 4:209 [printed in Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 5:67; Shulchan Menachem 3:74]; See also sources in next footnote and Chikrei Halachos 1:171

Background:

From the letter of the law one is never required to check his Tefillin if he wears them every day. [Admur 39:11; Ketzos Hashulchan 8:26] From the letter of the law one is only required to check the Mezuzah twice every seven years if it is privately owned and twice every fifty years if it is publicly owned. [Michaber Yoreh Deah 291:1] Nevertheless, in the following sources checking Tefillin and Mezuzahs more often is mentioned: Mechilta Shemos 13:10 and Tanchuma end of Bo both state in the name of Beis Hillel: “From the words Meyamim Yamima we learn that one must check his Tefillin every 12 months”; The Kneses Hagedola 39 also writes in the name of Geonim that one is to be stringent by Tefillin like by Mezuzos. The Kerem Shlomo 291 writes even according to the above Poskim it is still proper to check it every year in Elul and it’s just that it’s not obligatory.

[2] See Igros Kodesh 20:302 and 11:248 which basis himself on the Mechilta ibid which states to check every 12 months.

[3] The reason: This is done as a Segula for additional blessing. Likewise in today’s times forged parchments are common. [Rebbe in Sichas 20th Menachem Av 1974 brought in Shulchan Menachem ibid]

[4] Rebbe in Toras Menachem ibid

[5] Rebbe in Toras Menachem ibid

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