By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Yosef Braun, a member of the Crown Heights Beis Din (Badatz), has questioned the recent effort by sofrim (scribes) and Judaica stores to promote the sales of Tefillin retuzos (straps) that are painted black on both sides.
Traditionally, only one side of retuzos, the outer side, is painted black,” he said in a new audio lesson posted on his question and answer website halacha2go.com.
He said the promotion was “apparently based on a minority view of the Rishonim that they are more beautiful that way, and thus constitute a hiddur mitzvah (beautification of a mitzvah).”
Rabbi Braun notes that this view may have a basis in Kabbalah, the esoteric teachings that are the base of Chassidus.
“However,” he states, “it seems untoward to adopt a practice which follows a view that wasn’t practiced in the past. Indeed, poskim clearly state that the prevailing custom isn’t in accordance with this view.”
The rabbi added that purchasing retzuos that are painted on both sides “shouldn’t be a problem” so long “one doesn’t do it on principle but rather for practical considerations” (since the paint on these retzuos adheres better).