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Chapter 7: The Kashrus of the Tefillin-Part 1-Essential laws for the consumer; buying and maintenance
The Kashrus of Tefillin is an enormous subject with myriads of detailed laws applicable towards each of its parts, including the Parshiyos, the Batim, and the straps. It is unrealistic to fully capture this subject in the short series of chapters that we have penned, and proper justice to this subject would require an entire volume of its own. The intricate knowledge of this subject is indeed reserved for those who practice Safrus and write and sell Tefillin, and it is incumbent upon them to learn the laws in detail and receive proper certification before engaging in writing Parshiyos or in any activity involving the Kashrus of the Tefillin. Nonetheless, even for the layman, it is important to have some basic background knowledge of the criteria’s necessary for Kosher Tefillin, so he be aware of when a question comes up with his own Tefillin, as well as so we can learn to Fact Check the reliability of his Tefillin product that he decides to purchase.
1. Purchasing Tefillin:
The first and most important subject for the layman and scholar alike who rely on others for their Tefillin products is who should they trust to purchase the Tefillin from. Both the knowledge of the scholar and ignorance of the layman play no role if they randomly purchase Tefillin without proper guidance and research as to whom they are trusting, and what they are asking to purchase. As in any major purchase, two matters need to be clarified prior to going through with the purchase: 1) knowing the quality of the product and 2) knowing what you want in the product, and doing research to know what it is that you should want in the product. We will tackle both of these aspects below.
*The below section was written based on practical experience, as well as the detailed findings of the renowned Sofer Mumcheh, Rabbi Reuvein Mendelowitz, and his must read Sefer for the consumer of Tefillin and Mezuzos called “Inside Stam.” Rabbi Mendelowitz in his Sefer, as well as in ensuing conversations with the author, expresses the various serious deficiencies found in today’s system of Safrus purchases, and the conclusions of the below section is based on his personal experience and recommendations.
* Regarding the details a which Sofer to choose for a Kosher and Mehadrin Parshiyos, see B!
The letter of the law: One is initially only allowed to purchase Parshiyos, and Tefillin from an expert Sofer, who is G-d fearing, and is valid to write Tefillin [i.e. certified, Orthodox Jew, above age 18], as explained in Chapter 8 Halacha 4A. Alternatively, one can purchase it from a G-d fearing seller, who claims to have purchased it from eligible Sofrim. Nonetheless, in the event they were purchased from a questionable Sofer, they may be checked and validated to be worn. [All the above is from the letter of the law of the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch, however practically today, the Poskim of the current and previous generation have come to terms with the new reality that the Tefillin market has become flooded by Sofrim and manufacturers who are far from G-d fearing, let alone knowledgeable in the laws, and have caused many people to stumble with wearing invalid Tefillin. Accordingly, they warn that one is not to purchase Tefillin from a random source even if the person appears to be observant, and he is to do research into the reliability of the seller or Sofer.]
The purchase options available in today’s market: There are three options available today in buying Tefillin: 1) Go directly to the Sofer and have him write your Parshiyos, purchase your Batim, and arrange for all the work to be done from beginning to end. 2) Purchase the Tefillin from a middleman, known as a Socher, who receives the Parshiyos from Sofrim that he works with, and Batim from the manufacturers that he works with, and sells you the complete set of Tefillin. A typical example of this would be a Judaica store who sells you Tefillin. 3) Purchase the Tefillin from a Safrus store or Safrus company which employs Sofrim and does all of the Safrus work in their premises. Within this 3rd option itself there are two options available: a) purchase it from a Safrus store/company which serves as its own Hashgacha without any external supervision. b) purchase it from a store or company which is under an external Rabbinical supervision. The former case where the company serves as its own supervision is similar to a restaurant in which the owner serves as his own Hashgacha and does not have any external Hashgacha to verify it’s kashrus, while the latter is similar to a restaurant which contains an external Hashgacha to certify its kashrus. We will now begin to analyze each of these options, and of which is the best for one to choose from. We will begin in the order of least recommended to most.
Purchasing from a Socher or Judaica store: From the letter of the law, it is permitted to purchase Tefillin from any G-d fearing businessmen who one can assume purchases his Tefillin from G-d fearing Jews who are expertise in the laws. [A typical G-d fearing Jew is believed to say that he bought it from a specific Sofer or company, and one is not required to verify this claim.] Nonetheless, purchasing from a businessman or Judaica store contains several deficiencies. In addition to all the deficiencies listed next regarding purchasing directly from a Sofer, it also contains the deficiency that one does not truly know if the Sofer is G-d fearing or qualified, and if the businessman has the Halachic knowledge to know who he should be working with and who he should not, and what products are invalid, plain Kosher, versus Mehudar. Accordingly, the concerns mentioned next regarding a Sofer become even more concerning when it goes through a third-party seller whose primary interest is income. There are many people who work as Sofrim and write Tefillin and some are both not qualified, and not G-d fearing. Occasionally, a businessman or Judaica store will work with these people who are not properly qualified to be Sofrim, either due to lack of their knowledge of what is truly required from a qualified Sofer, or due to their lack of being G-d fearing in which they choose to bend corners for the sake of making money. When purchasing from a Judaica store or businessman one in essence must trust them that they will put their fear of heaven before their income, and have the knowledge of who Halachically they can trust to provide them their product. Unfortunately, there are countless stories of businessmen and Judaica stores selling Pasul/invalid Tefillin and Mezuzos, or those that are only valid Bedieved. This is all due to the free market which they enjoy without any regulation or the need of any accreditation from their buyers. It is the buyer’s indifference, or lack of choice and knowledge, that allows them to enjoy this free market. In the event that one already purchased Tefillin from a store or middleman and he has doubts as to the quality of the work, then he is to send it to be checked.
Purchasing directly from a Sofer: One may only purchase Tefillin from an expert. If one purchased them from someone who is not an expert, then they are to be checked. Ideally, any Sofer who is considered to be a G-d fearing Jew and has certification for Safrus, may be trusted to order Tefillin from them. However, there are several deficiencies in doing so: 1) Perhaps he follows a personal Halachic opinion in his work, which is not accepted by the mainstream Poskim, and which the consumer will not agree with if he had the knowledge of the issue. 2) With the passing of time people forget basic laws. This especially applies to a most complex, intricate, and detailed subject such as Safrus, as can be seen from our two chapters 8-9 on this subject. Thus, there is absolutely no guarantee that the above mentioned G-d fearing and certified scribe is in truth currently knowledgeable of all the detailed laws that he must know in order to give you a kosher product, and a product on the level of Hiddur that you are ordering. The vast majority of purchasers don’t know the detailed laws of Safrus and Tefillin, and therefore would have no way of verifying whether or not the Sofer is currently qualified and knowledgeable. Furthermore, even if the purchaser is a Safrus expert, he will have no way of verifying the Sofer’s knowledge unless he gives him a thorough test. Thus, when going to a Sofer directly to purchase the Tefillin, you must have full trust in the above said individual that he is expertise in his knowledge and that it conforms to mainstream acceptable opinions. Unfortunately, experience shows that quite often this is not the case, as mistakes that are due to lack of knowledge are found all the time in works of Safrus, including of famously trusted Sofrim. Now, although for this reason the Parshiyos are given to an editor to check and verify, this does not suffice, as there are many Kashrus aspects outside of the bounds of a Magiah to be able to physically check, and regarding those aspects you must fully trust the Sofer. Likewise, as Chazal say “Arvecha Arva Tzarich” which means that your guarantor himself needs a guarantor, as there is no guarantee that in truth he is likewise up-to-date in his knowledge of the law, and that in truth he will invest the time and effort to do an efficient job. Practically, despite the accepted practice of all Sofrim always sending their Parshiyos to a Magiah, glaring mistakes are still found which at best deem the Tefillin Kosher Bedieved, and at times completely invalid. Accordingly, while purchasing from a Sofer who you know to be famous, or G-d fearing, certainly gives the Jewish conscience a greater security then simply purchasing from a random businessman or Judaica store, it is far from a guarantee that indeed one will be receiving a Kosher product, or a product on his level of Hiddur. A Sofer’s fame or recognition as being very G-d fearing is not a guarantee that he currently knows all the laws necessary, and that he abides to mainstream approaches. People who choose this option must be aware of the factual risks that it contains.
Purchasing from a Safrus store/company: The ideal advantage of purchasing Tefillin directly from a Safrus store or company which manufacturers its own Tefillin is that the products go through a Kashrus supervision system, and hence one can rely on the company to make sure that its Sofrim are up-to-date in their knowledge and will provide one with a product that follows mainstream opinions. While when purchasing directly from a Socher or Sofer one must rely on them individually, when purchasing from a store or company one has the protection of a public supervision process which oversees their work. Likewise, by nature of their larger market than an individual Sofer or Socher, they generally should tend to have more knowledge and expertise. The problem is, however, that not always are the above ideal advantages actually happening on the ground of the store or company. Some Safrus stores and companies have a very weak filtering system in terms of who they accept to receive Parshiyos from, which in essence makes them exposed to the same issues as does purchasing from a Socher. Now, although the products they receive usually go through a checking process by the employees’ of the company, nonetheless it cannot uncover all possible issues. Furthermore, anyone can decide to open up a Safrus company or store, which is under his own supervision. So in essence, he is supervising his own work as does a regular Sofer, but just on a more global scale then a private Sofer. Even if we can give the benefit of the doubt that those who are running the company and store are experts in Safrus, often they are not Rabbanim on the caliber to Paskin and are not accepted Moreh Hora’as and Rabbinical leaders. The disadvantage of this is clearly evident, and is synonymous to a Mashgiach who is not a recognized Rav to Paskin, opening his own restaurant and serving as its own Hashgacha without any external supervision. Whatever the case, the facts on the ground testify that problematic products and Tefillin come out of even such companies and stores, and therefore one cannot simply have blind faith that since it is being marketed by an acclaimed Safrus store that therefore it is free of issues. Now, this does not mean that all stores and Safrus companies are unreliable r”l, but rather that one needs to research who stands behind it and his Rabbinical stature.
Purchasing from a Hashgacha: The best option that is available on the market for purchasing Safrus products to the normal consumer is to purchase it from a Safrus company who has an external Hashgacha, run by accepted Rabbanim and Morei Hora’s, similar to that of a Kashrus certification to a food product. Currently, there are three major Hashgacha’s which provide certification to Safrus products, Rav Landau, the Eida Hachareidis, and the OK. There are other Hashgacha companies also available. [As per the testimony of one of the leading Safrus Rabbanim today, the only two companies that he could currently recommend as the most reliable on the market is of Rav Landau and the Eida Hachareidis.] Rav Landau of Bnei Brak has a Safrus store which is under the direct supervision of the Landau Hashgacha. They have built a vigorous system to make sure that the consumer will receive only the most Mehudar product. For example, every Sofer who they work with must have a personal face to face interview with the Rabbanim who evaluate if he is G-d fearing, and test his knowledge. Even the accepted Sofer is not given a lifetime license, and he is required to have an annual interview with a test of his knowledge to be accepted for the coming year. Likewise, the Magihim under the staff of the Hashgacha are not paid per product but rather per hour, and hence have no reason to hurry in their work. Each of their products is checked by two Magihim. The Sofrim are given directives by the Hashgacha as to things that are not acceptable, and they are not allowed to arbitrate on any Shaala on their own. These are some of the things implemented by a standard Rabbinical supervision to help the consumer make sure that he gets the highest quality Kashrus of a product.
While all Orthodox Jews who appear G-d fearing should enjoy a Chezkas Kashrus, that they can be relied upon to purchase Kosher and Mehudar Tefillin from them, practically the following is our suggestion to the consumer, in the order of preference from where he should purchase his product from:
1. Tefillin that is under a reputable Hashgacha, such as the Eida Hachareidis or Rav Landau, or the Ok and the like.
2. Tefillin from a Safrus store or company which is run by a reputable Sofer and Torah scholar, or from a renowned Sofer who is known for his quality and of being G-d fearing.
3. Tefillin from a random Sofer, Socher, or Judaica store.
We recommend following the first option, which is the safest option that you have available as a consumer. If worldwide consumers would demand external Hashgacha’s on their Safrus products, just as is demanded over the food industry, it would help clean and filter out many of the bad and invalid products that are on the market today due to the lack of regulation, accreditation, and external supervision.
B. Matters to look for in a pair of Tefillin for both Kashrus and Hiddur:
Beauty: It is a Mitzvah to make and buy beautiful Tefillin. It is a Mitzvah for it to be beautiful to the onlooker from the outside, and certainly from the inside.
The parchment: Obligation: The parchment used must be called Kelaf, which is tanned Lishma by an adult [religious] Jew who explicitly says that he is doing so for the sake of Tefillin. It is not to contain holes, and initially is not to contain scratches, although is to contain minimum Sirtut. Hiddur: It is a Hiddur to use the hide from a fetus for the parchment.
Order of writing Parshiyos: The widespread Chassidic custom, as well as the Chabad custom, is to first write the Parshiyos of the Shel Rosh. The widespread Ashkenazi custom is to first write the Shel Yad. Upon ordering the Parshiyos one is to request the order according to his custom.
Sofer: One is to choose a person valid to be a Sofer, who is above 18 years of age, G-d fearing, and certified as knowledgeable in the laws of writing Stam, who does not watch television, have unkosher internet, or listen to non-Jewish music. For Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam, one is to initially choose a Sofer who himself wears the Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam. Hiddur: One should choose a Sofer who immerses in a Mikveh, and grows a beard, and has beautiful script. According to Kabbalah, a lefty may not write Tefillin. Thus, in Mehudar Tefillin, one is to make sure that the scribe is right-handed and that writes with his right hand. The Sofer should not listen to music, or even classes, while writing.
Hagahos: The Parshiyos are to go through two editors [Magihim] and to also be checked by computer.
The ink: The Sofer is to use Mehudar ink that is made Lishma from Kosher ingredients and contains a Hashgacha for Safrus.
The quill: The Sofer uses a feather from a Kosher bird to write with.
Writing Lishma: Both the script and names of Hashem are written Lishma, with him verbalizing it before writing the script and before writing each name.
The lines of writing: The Sofer is to write the Parshiyos in the exact number of lines required according to tradition. One is to verify with the Sofer as to how he writes the first word of each line, and according to which custom.
The Setumos of Vehaya: There are a number of different ways of how the Setumos of the Parsha of Vehaya are written, including Ashkenazi-Taz, Sephardi-Rambam, and Chabad. Each individual must make sure to order Parshiyos that contain Setumos according to his community custom. Accordingly, upon purchasing Tefillin, a Sephardi must be careful to iterate that he needs Tefillin that are written according to the Sephardi ruling, and so on and so forth. In certain cases, he will not be allowed to wear them with a blessing if he receives Parshiyos according to a custom that he does not follow.
The Kesav: Today, there exists five types of scripts that are available on the market, and each community is to purchase the script that follows their custom:
- Kesav Beis Yosef: Followed by Ashkenazim
- Kesav Velish: Followed by Sephardim
- Kesav Arizal [with Setumos of Taz]: Followed by Chassidim
- Kesav Arizal-Chabad [with Setumos of Admur]: Followed by many Chabad Chassidim
- Kesav Hameyuchas of Admur Hazakein: Followed by some Chabad Chassidim.
Practically, should a Chabad Chassid purchase Kesav Admur Hazakein versus Kesav Arizal? This matter is under an un-arbitrated debate between Rabbanim and Sofrim, and practically, each person is to follow his Rav in this matter, although those who purchase Kesav Hameyuchas are to especially be careful to purchase it from Sofrim and Magihim Mumchim, such as those sold under the Hashgacha of Harav Landau of Bnei Brak, and are not to purchase it from random Sofrim, as many have been found to contain even invalidating issues.
The Batim: The hide used for the Batim is to be Gassos [or Peshutos Mehudaros-Miksha Achas], from an adult cow, and be tanned Lishma by an adult [religious] Jew who explicitly says that he is doing so for the sake of Tefillin. Hiddur: The entire Bayis is to be made from a single piece of leather, including the Ketzitza, upper and lower Titura, and Mabarta. The Chabad custom is to make the Batim/Ketzitza 4×4 centimeters. This applies for both the Shel Yad and Shel Rosh, although some are accustomed to get a smaller size for the Shel Yad so it properly fit on the bicep of a Bar Mitzvah boy. The Chabad custom is to make the height equal to the width.
The Shel Rosh: The four compartments of the Shel Rosh are to be fully separated until the area of the sewing. One is to make sure that the four compartments are not glued to each other at all throughout their entire length until the area of the sewing [i.e. Perudos Legamri]. The four compartments are to be visible to one looking at the Tefillin from the outside. It is forbidden to paint over the indentations between the compartments, and make new fake indentation lines in other areas. The Shinin on the Tefillin Shel Rosh is to be made according to one’s custom. Accordingly, a Chabad custom is to order Chabad Batim made with the Shinin according to the Alter Rebbe.
The straps: The straps must be made from the hides of Kosher species of animals which are tanned and dyed black Lishma by an adult [religious] Jew who explicitly says that he is doing so for the sake of Tefillin. The custom today is to make the strap a width of 1.5 centimeters/15 mm. The custom is to leave the back and side of the strap plane and clean without any color, other than the natural color of the skin. However, there is no issue with purchasing straps that have been dyed so well that their blackness penetrates to all sides.
The knots of the Yud and Daled: There exists different customs of how to make the knots of the Yud and Daled, and each community is to follow his custom. Accordingly, a Chabad Chassid is to ask for the knots to be made according to the Chabad tradition. A left is to request the knot of the Shel Yad to be made in a way for lefty Tefillin.
Entering the Parshiyos into the Tefillin: Is to be done by an adult religious male Jew, Lishma, making sure that no part of the Parsha enters into the area of the Titura.
Is it better to purchase Parshiyos which are a nicer script but from a less G-d fearing individual versus a more G-d fearing individual with not as nice as a script?
It is better to purchase Parshiyos which contain script that is less nice, but from a G-d fearing individual, versus Parshiyos that are nicer but from an individual who is not so G-d fearing.
Is there a Mitzvah for one to write his own Tefillin?
From the simple implication of most Poskim, it is understood that there is no Mitzvah in its own right to actually write the Parshiyos of the Tefillin, and the Mitzvah is simply to wear them. However, from the wording of Admur in his Shulchan Aruch and Siddur, as well as from other Poskim, it is implied that there is an actual Mitzvah to write the four paragraphs of the Tefillin. Meaning, that in addition to the command for a boy who reaches age of Bar Mitzvah to wear Tefillin, there is also an independent obligation for him to write them starting from that age. Furthermore, Admur implies that every single day upon wearing them one is to intend on both of these Mitzvos. This implication is a great novelty in Halacha. Nonetheless, even according to this novelty, the Mitzvah can be fulfilled by hiring a Sofer to write the Tefillin on one’s behalf, and hence have him be one’s emissary to fulfill this Mitzvah. Accordingly, some Poskim suggest that one is to tell the Sofer upon hiring him to write ones Parshiyos, that he should do so as his personal emissary. Nonetheless, in truth, even simply through altering the knot of the Yud or Daled one can fulfill this Mitzvah of writing the Tefillin. [Hence, there is no need to be particular to hire a Sofer to write on one’s behalf, and one can simply purchase the Tefillin and then alternate the knot to fulfill one’s Mitzvah even according to this new novel approach. However, perhaps according to this understanding, a Bar Mitzvah boy should undo and redo his knot for this purpose on the day of his Bar Mitzvah.]
Is it better to write one’s own Tefillin rather than purchase it from another who has nicer script?
As in all Mitzvos, there is certainly an advantage of one writing his own Parshiyos, if he is capable of doing so. However, if his script is sloppy, then it is better to purchase Parshiyos from a G-d fearing Sofer who writes beautiful script rather than for him to write it himself.
Hiring a Sofer to write Parshiyos on one’s behalf versus purchasing already written Parshiyos:
Some Poskim suggest that one is to tell the Sofer upon hiring him to write ones Parshiyos, that he should do so as his personal emissary. Other Poskim, however, completely negate this. Practically, It is not necessary to be particular in this matter, and so is the widespread custom.
Must a Sofer or seller inform the buyer of any Halachic issues or Bedieved’s of his writing?
It is forbidden for the Sofer/Seller to trick his client and sell him a product that is not valid according to all opinions, or that contains any deficiency that he knows the client may not want if he was truly aware of the issue. In this case, the Sofer cannot say ignorant is bliss, and excuse himself with the claim that in any event the client does not have any understanding of this issue, which is usually the case, as nonetheless the buyer is trusting the Sofer to provide him with the most Kosher and Mehudar product for which he is paying for. A normal G-d fearing client must be assumed to desire, when he makes his order, the most Kosher and Mehudar product available, and selling him anything less without his explicit knowledge can be considered a Mekach Taus. Nonetheless, the Sofer/seller is not obligated to make mention of every detail of Hiddur that is product may not have, if they are not required according to mainstream Halacha, and has not become the accepted custom for the mainstream. However, it is certainly forbidden for him to exaggerate and say that the Tefillin is Mehudar all around, when there are issues that can compromise on its Hiddur, even though he’s not obligated to mention them. Likewise, if the buyer asked for a specific Hiddur to be fulfilled it is forbidden for the seller to trick him and not fulfill it, even though it is not required. Some suggest that for Jews who are visibly not so meticulous in Mitzvos [such as for Jews on Mivtzaim] it is permitted even initially to sell them Tefillin that contain Halachic issues according to some opinions. Nevertheless, even in such a case the price may not be the same as that of a Mehudar pair.
Examples of matters to mention: A Sofer or seller must mention to the buyer if the parchment he uses is not tanned Lishma according to all opinions, such as if it’s manufactured by gentiles with a Jew standing overhead. Likewise if you forgot to explicitly say Lisheim Kedushas Hasheim by one of the names of Hashem, in which case at best it is only valid Bedieved, he must inform him. Certainly, he must inform the buyer if the Setumos of Shema and Vehaya were written in a way different than his accepted tradition. By Batim, he is required to mention if the compartments of the Shel Rosh we’re not completely separated. It is questionable if he is also required to mention if a letter was not written in a clear way and required the reading of a child to validate it.
Examples of matters not required to mention: A Sofer or seller is not required to mention if the Tefillin were written by a lefty, whether or not the Sofer goes to Mikveh, or matters relating to the letters which are simply due to Hiddur.
C. Purchasing one’s own pair of Tefillin and the law if one can’t afford it:
One is obligated to purchase his own pair of Tefillin and is not to rely on borrowing from others. If he can afford it, he is to purchase Mehadrin Tefillin [as explained in B]. However, if one cannot afford to buy Tefillin he is not required to beg on doors for charity in order so he can purchase it, and may rely on borrowing from others.
Can’t afford-Tefillin versus Mezuzah: If one cannot afford to buy both a Mezuzah and Tefillin, he should buy Tefillin rather than a Mezuzah, being that Tefillin is a Mitzvah fulfilled with one’s body and thus holds greater importance. However, this only applied during times that one would wear Tefillin throughout the entire day, or even today, if one is unable to borrow a pair of Tefillin for the time of Davening. However, if one is able to borrow a pair of Tefillin for Davening, then in today’s time’s purchasing the Mezuzah receives precedence, as one cannot borrow a Mezuzah.
Identification: One should have his contact information written in a visible area by his Tefillin bag, just in case they get lost in order so they can be returned.
Traveling: Whenever one travels with his Tefillin he is to be very careful to guard them so they do not get stolen or lost. One should even enter with them into a bathroom for this purpose as explained in Chapter 6 Halacha 11B.
Drying hair: One is to be very careful not to wear Tefillin with wet hair, whether due to water or sweat, as eventually this can cause the squareness of the Tefillin to lose shape, as explained in Chapter 9 Halacha 7. One who sweats a lot on his way to Shul should preferably use a towel to dry his hair prior to putting on his Tefillin.
Periodically checking the squareness: If ones Tefillin banged into an object, he should verify to make sure that the squareness has not been affected. One should periodically look at the bottom of his Tefillin to verify that the sewing’s squareness has not been altered.
Dyeing black: Any areas of the Tefillin or straps which have begun to lose their blackness should be dyed Lishma [i.e. Lisheim Kedushas Tefillin] using Kosher ink. For this purpose, it is good to purchase and carry Kosher ink in ones Tefillin bag. One should periodically check his straps and Batim to make sure that they’re black. See Chapter 9 Halacha 2 and 11B!
The width of the straps: With time, the width of the straps can begin to erode and become less than the minimum required measurement of one centimeter. This especially occurs near the knots. Therefore, one is to periodically check the straps especially near the knots to make sure they maintain their minimum width, and if not then they are to be switched. See Chapter 9 Halacha 11E!
Altering the knots: Whenever one alters the knot of the Daled or Yud he is to recite Lisheim Kedushas Tefillin prior to doing so, as explained in Chapter 9 Halacha 13 in Q&A.
The protruding strap of the Yud: One must be careful that the strap which protrudes from the Yud is not too long, or too short. It is to extend a minimum measurement of one centimeter. One is to glance at this part of the knot daily prior to putting on Tefillin to make sure that it extends for this length. See Chapter 9 Halacha 12 in Q&A!
3. Checking one’s Tefillin:
Worn daily: From the letter of the law, once the Tefillin have been validated to be Kosher even one time there is no obligation to recheck them ever, and they retain their Chezkas Kashrus for eternity. Nevertheless, it is proper to have them checked [periodically] being that they can possibly get ruined due to sweat. [Often, sweat can penetrate through the Batim and ruin the letters of the Parshiyos. Even more common, the sweat can expand the leather of the Batim and destroy the shape of the Bayis. Nonetheless, some of today’s Poskim suggest that in today’s times where the quality of the Batim is much better than back then, there is no need to suspect for sweat penetrating or ruining the Batim today. On the contrary, they argue, reopening them and closing them itself contains considerable risks and does not outweigh the gain of checking them.]
Worn occasionally: Tefillin which are worn only on occasion [such as by one who owns a special pair which he only wears on special occasions] are required to be checked twice every seven years [i.e. every 3.5 years]. [Thus, if one received Tefillin as an inheritance and they have not been worn for a while, then they are to be checked prior to being worn.]
Batim tore: If the Batim have torn [cracked or received a hole], the Parshiyos [and Batim] must be checked to ensure their validity.
Fell into water or remained in sun or fire: If Tefillin fell into water and soaked in them [or were rained on and soaked in the water], then they must be checked to ensure their validity. [Likewise, if ones Tefillin were very close to a fire, or remained in the heat of the sun for a long time, they should be checked.]
What to do if there is no Tefillin checker available: If in the above three cases where checking is required there is no Tefillin checker available, then one may continue to wear them [if there are no other Tefillin available] in order so he does not nullify the Mitzvah. [However, in the case where the Tefillin has fallen in water, or any other case of the like which creates a vivid worry of its Kashrus, then he is to wear them without a blessing. However, if there’s nothing wrong with the Tefillin and it is simply worn on occasion, then seemingly it may be worn with a blessing if there is no one available to check it.]
B. The custom:
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]. One is to publicize this matter to others. Doing so helps draw down a Kesiva Vechasima Tova for the coming year. The Rebbe would advise people to check their Tefillin annually, as stated above.]
Matters that a person should periodically check on his own regarding the Batim and straps:
· Squareness of the Batim and Titura. [Moisture of one’s hair, whether due to sweat or showering, penetrates the Tefillin’s leather and with time begins to expand it. Eventually this can cause the squareness of the sewn area on the bottom of the Tefillin to lose shape and become invalid.]
· Squareness of the sewing, especially under the Titura.
Directives to the consumer when sending Tefillin for checking:
· Verify the person is a certified Magiah. [Not every Sofer is certified to also be a Magiah.]
· It is advisable to have the Tefillin checked annually by different Magihim, rather than to use the same one each year.
· Verify that the Magiah will also examine the straps and Batim to verify their Kashrus status.
· If the Sofer states that the Tefillin are Pasul, one should right away put on a Kosher pair of Tefillin that day before sunset. The blessing is to be repeated. This applies even if only the Shel Yad or Shel Rosh were invalid.
Directives to the Magiah/Bodek to be followed when checking Tefillin:
· When checking the Tefillin, one is the pay attention the sinews and verify that they have not torn.
· Check the straps and make sure they are the correct length, width, and color.
· Check the squareness of the Bayis, Titura, and sewing.
May one own Pasul Tefillin, or Tefillin that are only Kosher Bedieved and may only be worn without a blessing?
Pasul Tefillin are to be placed in Geniza and not held at home, in order so someone does not come to by mistake wear them, thinking that they are Kosher. Tefillin which have an invalidation which require them to be worn without a blessing may be owned, although are to be clearly marked as to their status.
Tikkun for wearing Pasul Tefillin:
Did he fulfill the Mitzvah? From the simple implication of the Poskim, it is implied that one who wore invalid Tefillin does not fulfill the Mitzvah and has said a blessing in vain, and thus does not receive any reward for his attempted Mitzvah. However, some Poskim suggest that one whose Tefillin was discovered to be invalid due to no fault of his own, is nonetheless considered to have fulfilled the Mitzvah retroactively, and his blessings are not considered to have been in vain. This applies even if they were found to be missing a word or letter and hence to be invalid to begin with.
The Tikkun: Practically, the Poskim suggest several Tikkunim to be done if it was discovered that one was wearing invalid Tefillin. These include:
1. Study the practical laws of Tefillin until he becomes expert in them. As well, he is to study the Mamar of the Tzemach Tzedek in Derech Mitzvosecha, or Shaar Hatefillin in the Siddur Im Dach. There is no need to study those laws that are relevant only to a Sofer.
2. Adding in general Torah learning for no ulterior motives.
3. To wear the Tefillin with greater concentration.
4. Start wearing Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam if you have yet to do so.
5. Say the Parshas Olah for nullifying a positive command.
6. Remain wearing Tefillin from that day and onwards for a longer amount of time that he was used to until then.
7. Give money to charity.
8. Purchase Mehadrin Tefillin for a poor person.
Tikkun for writing Pasul Tefillin or making Pasul Batim:
A sofer or Batim maker who wrote invalid Parshiyos, or made invalid Batim, then if this is due to negligence then he is to fast for three consecutive days and give charity as an atonement.
Must one perform a computer check on the Parshiyos to verify their Kashrus status?
Some Poskim rule that in today’s times one is to also have the Tefillin pass through a computer editing in the available Safrus editing programs, which contains 99% accuracy for spelling errors. Other Poskim, however, rule that while it is definitely something that should be done, it is not an obligation. All the above is only in addition to having a physical Magiah personally check the Sefer Torah himself, as the computer program is only accurate in detecting spelling errors, and not in detecting other invalidations, such as split words/letters, touching letters, and a myriad of other issues.
Must one send his Tefillin to be checked if they fell on the floor?
No. However, some are accustomed to do so, especially if the Tefillin had not been checked for a while.
Must one send his Tefillin to be checked if he dreamed that they are not Kosher?
No. However, some are write that it is proper to do so.
A Story with Reb Zushe of Anipoli:
One time, during the travels of the holy brothers Rav Zusha of Anipoli and Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk, they visited an inn. Rav Zusha began crying over the fact that his Tefillin had never been checked in a very long time. As is known, whenever they would see a fault in another they would bemoan it aloud as if it were their own fault. Here too, after the innkeeper heard his loud sighs of remorse of Rav Zusha, he too admitted that he had never checked his Tefillin his entire life since his Bar Mitzvah, and he was already 70 years old. They immediately opened his Tefillin, and saw that it was filled with blocks of wood instead of Parshiyos. The innkeeper shouted in pain over the fact that it was now discovered that he had never worn Tefillin his whole life, and he was a Karkafta. Rav Zusha said to his brother Rav Elimelech that he should immerse in the Mikveh and write for him new Parshiyos and draw into them Mochin for all the years that he had missed wearing them. Practically, the elderly man never had a chance to wear them [as he shortly passed away thereafter. Eventually, these Tefillin made it into the hands of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchiv and were worn by him.
4. The status of Tefillin that is found with a gentile [or in random, or Geniza]:
Tefillin which are found in the hands of a gentile are assumed to be Kosher even though one does not know who actually wrote them. [Nonetheless, one is to send them to be checked, and only use them if they are estimated to have been made in a valid manner.]
Redeeming Tefillin from the hands of gentiles: If one desires to redeem Tefillin from the hands of gentiles he should not pay much more than their market value. However, one is obligated to redeem them for slightly more money than their market value, in order so they not become desecrated. One should not try to bargain the gentile down to too low of a price, as you may become angry and throw them away.
The status of randomly found Tefillin:
The status of Tefillin found lying in random or found in Geniza in their full state, follows the same status as Tefillin found in the hands of a gentile and thus are not to be worn until they are checked to be Kosher, and estimated to have been made in a valid manner.
May one sell Tefillin to a gentile?
It is forbidden to sell Tefillin to gentiles even if they say that they will house it with honor respect, such as in a museum.
May one sell Tefillin to conservative or reform shuls?
The Poskim oppose selling Sifrei Torah [and Tefillin] to conservative and reform synagogues, who will use it in a way that is contrary to Jewish law, and belittles the Tefillin. [Nonetheless, certainly it is permitted to sell them to an individual male Jew who desires to keep this Mitzvah even if he personally is affiliated with a conservative or reform synagogue. Obviously, it may not be sold to females who desired to wear them as is customary in conservative and reform temples r”l.]
 See Admur chapters 32-33, and 36; Ketzos Hashulchan 8:24
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:1
 See Eiruvin 13a that a Sofer who is not careful can cause destruction to befall the world; The learning curriculum for a Sofer includes the studying of Chapters 32-33 and 36 in the Shulchan Aruch, as well as the Sefer Keses Hasofer of Rav Gantzfried, the author of the Kitzur SHU”A. [The Chasam Sofer states in his introduction to the above mentioned Sefer that he instructed all of his students and followers that one who was not an expert in the book of Keses Hasofer cannot be certified as a Sofer, and his license must be revoked.] Likewise, he is to try to study from the other various compilations on the subject, as instructs the Sefer Baruch Sheamar.
 See Shem Olam 7 of Chofetz Chaim that it is proper for every G-d fearing Jew to personally know the laws of Stam, in order so he can supervise the Kashrus status of his Tefillin.
 See Admur 39:8 and Michaber 39:8 and Menachos 42b that one is not to purchase Tefillin from anyone who is not an expert in the proper spelling of the words [and all other invalidating matters]. This applies even if he plans to check them independently to make sure that they are valid.
 Admur 32:33; Michaber 32:20; Taz 32:19
 See Admur 39:10; Michaber 39:9
 See Admur 39:6 and Michaber 39:6 that general pair of Tefillin is assumed to be Kosher even if found in the hands of a gentile, and certainly when purchased from another Jew, unless proven otherwise.
 See Miasef Lekol Hamachanos 39; Leket Hakemach Hachadash 39; Os Chaim Veshalom 39:1; Mateh Yehuda, brought in Mishnas Hasofer on Keses Hasofer 1:4
 Some examples: There was a case discovered in the 1980’s of a seller from Jerusalem who sold parchment made by gentiles which is invalid due to not being tanned Lishma. [See Piseki Rav Z.S. Dworkin 30-33 that even the Rebbe’s Sefer Torah was held in question as a result] See Os Chaim Veshalom ibid
 See Admur 38:7; Michaber 38:8; Sukkah 26a; Chapter 1 Halacha 7E that also the retailers and middlemen are considered to be doing in Mitzvah
 See Admur Admur 39:6 and Michaber 39:6 that general pair of Tefillin is assumed to be Kosher even if found in the hands of a gentile, and certainly when purchased from another Jew, unless proven otherwise. Nonetheless, initially the businessman must purchase it from someone who is an expert as stated in Admur 39:8 and brought next
 See Admur 39:10; Michaber 39:9
The reason: As Eid Echad Neman Beissurin. [Admur ibid]
 So rules Admur 39:9 that if one purchased it from someone who is not an expert, then he is to send it to be checked, and if the Parshiyos is found to be Kosher, then it is Kosher and there is no need to worry that the skins were tanned not for the sake of the Mitzvah as all are knowledgeable of this requirement.
 See Admur 39:8 and Michaber 39:8 and Menachos 42b that one is not to purchase Tefillin from anyone who is not an expert in the proper spelling of the words [and all other invalidating matters], and that this applies even if he plans to check them independently to make sure that they are valid.
 See Admur 39:9; Michaber 39:9
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4A.
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 Admur 32:6; Rama 32:4
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6-1
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 2D; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6-6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6-6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4C; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4D; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4E; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4E-F; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 6; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 8; Piskeiy Teshuvos 36:6
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 1
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 6
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 4
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 13
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 14-15
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 10
 Kol Yaakov 32:115; Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:34
 See Sichos Kodesh 5728 1:382, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:22; Ohalei Sheim 6:192; Siddur Raskin p. 68
 See wording in Michaber 25:5 and Tur 25 “Hashem commanded us to wear these four Parshiyos”; Elya Raba 32:37 in name of Levush that there is no need to tell the Sofer to write it for his sake.
 Admur 25:11; Sidur Admur [letter 2 in Raskin] “Upon putting on the Tefillin one is to have in mind that Hashem commanded us to write the four paragraphs of Tefillin which contain the unification of Hashem’s name and the exodus in order to remember the miracles and wonders that Hashem did for us. These miracles express His unity and that He has the power and sovereignty to do in the upper and lower worlds as He sees fit. We were commanded to place the Tefillin by the arm corresponding to the heart, and by the head corresponding to the brain in order to subjugate the soul that is in the mind and also the desires and thoughts within the heart towards, the service of Hashem, as through donning Tefillin one remembers the creator and diminishes his pleasures.”
 See Chinuch Mitzvah 422 “We are commanded to write the four Parshiyos and wear them”; Rambam Brachos 11:8 who implies that the writing of the Tefillin is the beginning of the Mitzvah; Daas Kedoshim 288:7 “By Tefillin perhaps it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to have a Sofer write it as his Shliach.”;
 Likkutei Sichos 17:188 and Sichos Kodesh 1968 1:382; See regarding Sefer Torah that buying it is considered to fulfill the Mitzvah of writing it: Rashi Menachos 30a, and Nimukeiy Yosef Reish Hilchos Sefer Torah, brought in Taz 270:1; Biur Hagra 270:9 rules like Rashi; Pischeiy Teshuvah 270:9 The Rebbe concludes like this approach. [See Sichos Kodesh 5728 1:382, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:22; Likkutei Sichos 23:21]
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one who buys a Kosher Sefer Torah and did not fix anything in it, then it is like he has grabbed a Mitzvah from the marketplace, and he does not fulfill his obligation. [Rama Y.D. 270:2; Rambam Sefer Torah 6:1; Tosafus Menachos]
 Daas Kedoshim ibid
 Rebbe ibid
 See Biur Halacha 39:2 “Bechol Tikkun” that there is no issue with a child above the age of Bar Mitzvah making the knot Lishma even though he has not yet reached the age of 18 or grown a beard. Practically, however, seemingly the child should only do so if he knows that he already has grown 2 pubic hairs, or if he altered the knot prior to turning Bar Mitzvah. See Chapter 9 Halacha 13.
 See Chayeh Adam 68:6; Daas Kedoshim 288:7; Dovev Meisharim 1:47; Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:34; Sichos Kodesh 5728 1:382, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:22
 The reason: As Mitzvah Bo Yoser Mibishluchos and according to some Poskim there is an actual Mitzvah to write the Parshiyos oneself, as explained in the previous Q&A!
 Daas Kedoshim ibid
 Elya Raba 32:37 in name of Levush
 See conclusion of Rebbe in Sichos Kodesh 5728 1:382, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:22, brought in previous Q&A!
 See Shevet Halevi 1:7; Lehoros Nasan 2:8 Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:35; Many of these details were heard also from Harav Yaakov Yosef z”l
 See Shevet Halevi ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 241
 Rav Yaakov Yosef z”l
 See Admur 32:12 and Chapter 8 Halacha 3 that such a case is under dispute
 See Admur 32:31 and Chapter 8 Halacha 4E for the cases that it is valid Bedieved and the cases in which even Bedieved it is invalid
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 6
 See Chapter 9 Halacha 4
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 10
 See Chapter 8 Halacha 4A-B
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 25:5
 Bach, brought in M”B 25:2 that one who relies on borrowing from others his punishment is great
 See Michaber 656:1 that one must add up until 1/3 of the price for a Hiddur Mitzvah; See M”B 656:4; Biur Halacha 656:1
 M”B 25:2; See Biur Halacha 656:1 “Afilu” that from the letter of the law he is obligated just like Ner Chanukah; Ashel Avraham Butchach in Nefesh Chayah 25;
 Admur 38:11; Michaber 38:12; Rama Y.D. 285:1; Yerushalmi Megillah;
 Admur ibid; M”A 38/15
 See Admur 39:11; Ketzos Hashulchan 8:26: Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:7
 Admur ibid; Michaber 39:10; Rambam Tefillin 2:11; Tosafus Menachos 42b; Rosh 3:5; Yerushalmi Eiruvin 10:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 8:26]
The reason: As so long as the Parshiyos are cased within their Batim there’s no reason to suspect that something happened to one of the letters. [Admur ibid]
Other opinions: 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 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. The Kneses Hagedola 39 also writes in the name of Geonim that one is to be stringent by Tefillin just like by Mezuzos, which is every 3.5 years, and so rules Chayeh Adam 14:20. Furthermore, some Poskim rule that in today’s times that we only wear the Tefillin for Davening, perhaps one is required to check them once every three half years. [See Ashel Avraham Butchach 39; Shulchan Hatahos 39; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 35]
 Admur ibid; M”A 39:14; Kneses Hagedola 39; See however Mur Uketzia 39 who disagrees
 See Halichos Shlomo 4:36 in name of Rav SZ”A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:7
 Admur ibid; Michaber ibid; Poskim ibid
 The reason: As we suspect that perhaps they have worn out. [Admur ibid; M”A 39:15]
 See Os Chaim Vehsalom 39:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39 footnote 36
 Admur ibid; Taz 39:6
 Admur ibid; M”A 39:15; Taz 39:6
 Leket Hakemach Hachadash 39:31; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:7
 Admur ibid; Rama 39:10; Orchos Chaim
 P”M 39 M”Z 6; M”B 39:26
 Implication of P”M ibid; M”B 39:28 in name of Chayeh Ada, although he concludes with a Tzaruch Iyun
 Mateh Efraim 581:10 “There are meticulous men who check their Mitzvos and check to make sure their Tefillin and Mezuzos are Kosher. This is a good custom”; P”M 39 A”A 15 “Whoever increases in checking them is praised”; Kerem Shlomo 291; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:3; Rebbe in Toras Menachem 1988 4:209 [printed in Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 5:67; Shulchan Menachem 3:74]; 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 just like by Mezuzos, which is every 3.5 years, and so rules Chayeh Adam 14:20. Furthermore, some Poskim rule that in today’s times that we only wear the Tefillin for Davening, perhaps one is required to check them once every three half years. [See Ashel Avraham Butchach 39; Shulchan Hatahos 39; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 35]
See Chikrei Minhagim 3:84; See Sefer “Inside Stam” by Harav Reuvein Mendelowitz chapters 13-14; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:7
 See Igros Kodesh 20:302 and 11:248 which basis himself on the Mechilta ibid which states to check every 12 months.
 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]
 Rebbe in Toras Menachem ibid
 Rebbe in Toras Menachem ibid
 See Sefer “Inside Stam” by Harav Reuvein Mendelowitz chapters 13
 See P”M 39 A”A 15 that it is to be sent to an expert Sofer for checking.
May a woman be a Magiha? See Shevet Hakehasi 1:25; Piskeiy Teshuvos 32 footnote 250
 See Inside Stam footnote 600-601
 See Igros Moshe 4:12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:36
 See Mechzeh Avraham 5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:37
 See Admur 32:33 and Michaber 32:20 that one must be very careful not to misspell a Chaser and Yasir, as if he does so the Tefillin are invalid and it is found that the person wearing them is saying a blessing in vain every single day and is also nullifying the Mitzvah of Tefillin daily, and hence the punishment of the scribe is great; See Yaavetz, quoted in Rav Poalim 1:2 who says he does not receive any reward at all
 See Peri Hasadeh 3:117; Daas Kedoshim 39; Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 3; Rav Poalim 4:2 that although it was discovered in his community in Baghdad that the squareness of the Tefillin of the entire city was done in an invalid method nonetheless certainly they receive reward as if they wore valid Tefillin, as is proven from the Chida in Devash Lefi 4:4 and Lev Chaim 2:10 who write regarding Rebbe Chiya that although he wore Tefillin sewed with flax, certainly he receives reward for the mitzvah, as he intended on fulfilling it and thought he was doing so; See Lev Chaim 2:10; Har Tzevi 1:35; Devar Yehoshua 2:5; 5:2; Vayan Yosef 1:12-13
The reason: This is similar to a Kohen who served in the Temple and was later discovered to be a Challal, in which we rule that his service is valid. [Daas Kedoshim ibid] In addition, since he did all in his power to fulfill the Mitzvah, therefore it is considered fulfilled and not considered a blessing in vain. [Poskim ibid] This is proven from the fact that the Talmud [Horiyos 10b] states that even a sin which is done for the sake of heaven receives reward more than a mitzvah done not for the sake of heaven. [Rav Poalim ibid]
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid
 Igros Kodesh 18:67
 Igros Kodesh 16:80
 Igros Kodesh 23:418; Yabia Omer 7:5
 See Admur Basra 1:9
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:37
 See “Inside Stam” chapter 15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 32:38; 143:6
 Shevet Halevi 7:2-3; Rav Yaakov Yosef
 Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:99; 3:326; Kinyan Torah 5:106; Mishneh Halachos 11:115
 Minchas Yitzchak 10:89; Inside Stam ibid footnote 626 that so was signed on a letter Rav Elyashiv, Rav Wozner, and Rav SZ”A
 Afrasakta Deanya 3:194
 Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:7
 Sefer Hasichos Toras Shalom p.7
 Admur 39:6; Michaber 39:6
 The reason: As it is not common for a gentile to write Tefillin enhance written by a Jew. [Admur ibid]
 See Admur 39:11 that if they’re only worn on occasion they need to be checked and certainly this would apply here when they sat by the gentle; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:5 but since today there are many people who are not qualified to write Tefillin, either due to being lack of G-d fearing, or lack of knowledge, therefore even after checking it is only to be used if the experts estimate that it was written properly.
 Admur 39:7; Michaber 39:7; Mishneh Gittin 45a; See Shevet Hakehasi 6:17; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:5
 The reason: In order so they do not become encouraged to continue stealing them. [Admur ibid; Michaber ibid]
 See M”B 39:28; Mishneh Halachos 4:4; 4:6; 6:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:5
 See M”B ibid that if found closed, they are assumed to be valid while if found opened, then we suspect that something about them became invalid. Practically, it is not uncommon for loved ones to place Tefillin of the deceased in Geniza even though they’re perfectly valid.
 Maharitz Chayus 32; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:6; So rule regarding Mezuzos: Rama 291:2; Shut Maharil 123; Radbaz on Rambam Melachim 10:10; See however: Yerushalmi Peah 1:1; Likkutei Sichos 19:121, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:234-236 that one may give him a Mezuzah as a Segula; So rule regarding Tzitzis: Admur 20:6; Menachos 43a; Michaber 20:2 as perhaps the gentile will wear it and appear like a Jew, and a Jew who sees him will think he is Jewish being that he is wearing Tzitzis, and the Jew will thus join him on the road. This can lead to his murder by the gentile, as the gentiles are suspected for murder
 The reason: As he may belittle the Mezuzah, and it is not respectful towards the Mezuzah to have it be in the hands of a gentile. [See Radbaz ibid; Sheilas Yaavetz 2:122]
 See regarding Sifrei Torah: Birkeiy Yosef Y.D. 281:2 regarding prohibition to sell to Karites; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:174 [validates to sell new Sifrei Torah to them and not old]; Yaskil Avdi 7:1; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 4:236; Piskeiy Teshuvos 39:6; Halacha Berurah 39:17 in name of Rav Ovadia Yosef