Nov 13, 2007

this is a man with integrity

I am translating (not word for word, but most of it) a letter that was printed as an ad in the Hebrew Yated Ne'eman newspaper recently. The letter ad was placed by a man who is a sofer - a religious scribe - who feels he has wronged his clients inadvertently.

This is an announcement for people buying [tefillin, mezuzos, etc.] in Israel and abroad:

For many years I have written Sta"m [acronym for sefer torah, tefillin and mezuzos] on parchment with no hechsher. I have no found out that all these parchments were invalid because of halachik problems due to the merchant having been caught receiving from trucks filled with parchments from Arabs. There are more than half a million parchment factories [worldwide] owned by non-Jews and sofrim purchase from them 80% cheaper. There was already an issur from the Merkaz Sta"m in Poland in 1935 that was signed by 86 gedolim to write on parchment with no hechsher.

I, a simple person, believed in and relied upon my teacher and the merchant. As well, when I received my certification to write, nobody told me the parchment had to have a hechsher. When I sold items, the buyers never requested to see a hechsher. So I have stumbled.

I asked my Rav and he paskened that in order to fulfill my obligations towards heaven, I must return the money to all those who bought from me. They relied on me and bought from me paying for tefillin and mezuzos that were kosher l'mehadrin.

(the Rav told me as well that according to halacha merchants have no reliability unless they have a hechsher. He also said that if I do not return the money to my clients, and they do not go out and buy new tefillin/mezuzos because they do not have money to do so, and he continues to don the tefillin that I sold him for the rest of his life, and then gives it to his kids, grandkids, etc. I will be responsible for all those years of him and his kids who inherit it not putting on tefillin, theft, deception, invalid blessings, etc [he goes on to list a whole bunch of other things as well and quotes sources].

As a result of the above, I have sold my house and I am in the process of selling the houses of my seven children. The Rav told me to publicize this so people will know to not buy any Sta"m without a hechsher on the parchment, just as you would demand when buying a piece of meat.

Thank God now there are at least 10 parchment factories with a hechsher

Because I stumbled, I request from everyone to make others aware not to use parchment with no hechsher. That should be at least my partial kappara.

Anybody who bought from me should call me and I will return to them their money. And by that I will have saved my soul.

Signed by Asher Green sofer sta"m cellphone:0524025830


  1. Maybe this is an ad by one of the 10 parchment factories with a hechsher.


  2. Yes, I'm lazy. Please give us a mekor in the Shulchan Aruch.

  3. zevy - funny ad.. he is offering to give the customer money..

    anon - I do not know a specific mekor, but I do remember that the halacha is the parchment needs to be processed l'shma and a goy can only do the processing if a Jew is watching him and declaring the l'shem mitzva aspect.. it is in hichos tefillin...

    He quotes in the letter not the shulchan aruch but decisions from various batei din and rabbonim who said that hechsher would be required. It could be that the problem has become so prevalent that the rabbonim required a hechsher in order to solve the problem...

    or it could be similar to a hechsher on laundry detergent and this guy is a poor nebach wasting his money... I do not know.

  4. I have a problem with this. He was basically told that g-g will never forgive hime and he is to live the rest of his life with the knowledge that he has this on his shoulders because it is impossible to really repay every single person who might be using STA"M that he made. So in a nutshell, he is going to that right?

    And now he and his entire family must live in squalor so that he can attempt the impossible.

    I don't know, I think it smells.

  5. aren't we all going to hell? it is really just a matter of the temperature setting hell is set on for each of us.... Hopefully his attempt will bring it down from 450 degrees to 400 degrees.. :-)

  6. Rafi,
    call the phone number and then report back what is this all about?

  7. Remember the megalle amukos and the meat? dont be so quick to bash.


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