Oct 19, 2015

free mezuza checking app

a new app will make it easier, and cheaper, to regularly check your mezuzot. Instead of checking twice in 7 years, at no cost and little effort, people can now check their mezuzot every time someone sprains their ankle or catches a cold.

The mezuzon is an app that will let you take a picture of your mezuza and send it in to the system. The people behind the app will have your mezuza looked over, free of charge, by their sofrim. They say that you will have a response about the kashrut of your mezuza within two days.

The work you have to do is take the mezuza out of the case, take the picture and put the mezuza back in.

I've downloaded the app, but have not yet used it. If you use it quickly and send them two mezuza scans by the 7th of Cheshvan (tomorrow), or until supply lasts, they have a stock of mezuzot that have been donated for free distribution among their users.

So, not only is it free to check your mezuza, but you might also get a free mezuza out of it! Can't get a better deal than that.

I wonder if this will hurt the sofer stam industry, or if it will last at all - for how long will sofrim be willing to work for free, or more likely - how long will the donations last to keep this in business?

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  1. doesnt seem to be

    the comforting part about it is that this isnt an automatic check by the app. it just submits it to the system and then they have sofrim look it over

  2. There is no way that a responsible magiah is going to say something is kosher or not, without the actual item in front of him. I certainly wouldn't do so.

  3. An inexperienced person who takes the Mezuza out of the case and unrolls it has a strong possibility of causing problems, especially if the Mezuza is old.

  4. Here is a partial list of why IMHO this innovation is both flawed and potentially misleading:

    1) Even in a clear, high resolution image, not all halachically relevant detail will be available to the examiner. The best example of this is a hole or cut in the parchment. Examiners often encounter areas of mechikot (places where corrections have been made) and the weakened parchment in that area may have have affected the kashrut of the letters. There is no way for this to be seen or properly appraised in even the clearest digital image.

    2) Digital images I have seen, even taken on good smart phones, do often come out a little blurry or dark. This is the case even by examiners who use top cameras with their computer checking systems and have proper settings in place. The image will often show letters touching when they are not, and the like. How can someone confirm this if they don't have the actual mezuzah in front of them?

    3) Repairs. Most mezuzot, even expensive ones, are touched up by the examiner during a routine examination. A crown that has faded, a cracked letter, or something that was overlooked previously such as a negiya (touching letters). How can this be done remotely?

    It has already long been established by the halachic leadership in this industry that even the best images can only be used remotely for "chaser veyater" ie confirmation of spelling, ie that there are no extra or missing letters and words, and that all spelling is correct. (In some circumstances one can also rule on cases of questionably formed letters, but this only under special circumstances, see www.stamforum.com . A simple search there on this topic will show much discussions on this issue)

    I hope the powers that be take a stance on this innovation and call it for what it is, before it leads to too many "michshalim". I would like to know what the rabbonim of Vaad Mishmeret Stam and others have to say about this. If anyone has seen anything official released on this matter, please email me at melbournesofer@gmail.com

  5. But what happens halachically while you wait 2 days for a reply? You put the mezuza back up meanwhile - with or without a bracha? You keep it off and wait - but in Israel the requirement is immediate. You put it up and take it down again in 2 days to get it fixed - and cause a lot more wear and tear to it than a one-time trip to a sofer.


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