Soon after I started selling inexpensive tefillin peshutim, I stopped for a period of six months. I live in an area with a very large number of top sofrim and high-end tefillin makers (i.e. the kind of tefillin that will run you at least $1,100 if you live in the neighborhood, and a lot more if you were to buy them elsewhere), and I regularly engaged them in conversation. Whenever I told them most of my customers are looking for a complete set of kosher tefillin gassot for under $500, or kosher tefillin peshutim for under $250, they would raise a brow and start telling me how dubious tefillin at that price level can be. They described parchments that, to cut costs, are not checked and could easily have a letter missing or two letters touching, which renders the tefillin non-kosher by all standards.
Then a very skilled tefillin maker (I once overheard the neighborhood rabbi say he “has hands of gold”) began telling me about how many times he has seen inexpensive tefillin battim made by upstanding Jews, but whose kashrus was highly questionable.
And all of the tefillin professionals I spoke to said the same thing: “You don’t want to make your living selling cheap tefillin that aren’t kosher, which means a Jew somewhere out there is laying unfit tefillin for years – thanks to you!”
And their words hit home. Soon I stopped dealing with both of my tefillin suppliers because I wasn’t 100% confident in their wares. After a few months I decided to resume looking for kosher tefillin makers I could rely on, but nobody I spoke to dealt with tefillin gassot under $800.
Eventually I heard about Pe’er HaStam, a reputable tefillin dealer in Bnei Brak for over a decade. Priced very reasonably, they are headed by Rabbi Yossi Belz, who has some 16 years experience in the tefillin industry.
Tefillin Peshutim – 100% Kosher
When I spoke with Rabbi Belz, I discovered he was all too familiar with my concerns and that he is able to make inexpensive tefillin – including tefillin peshutim – that are 100% kosher. Having worked for over a decade as a sofer, he knows tefillin “from the inside out,” and is wary of the potential pitfalls.
All of the tefillin we sell are certified kosher, and the parchments are checked twice – by Mishmeret HaStam using a special computer program and by a certified magihah (parchment proofreader).