By Yossy Hecht – Crown Heights
My name is Yossy Hecht. My father was R’ Shlomo Zalman Hecht, the oldest of the Hecht brothers. He was the original Shliach sent to Chicago by the Frierdiker Rebbe, where he served in that capacity for nearly 40 years.
I have been reading everything that I could find that was published in regard to the debate over the Kashrus of the so-called “Mivtzoim” Mezuzahs. In my opinion, this whole issue has been subverted. Instead of trying to find solutions to the problem, everyone is doing their best to discredit everyone else.
A bright light has now been shown on the practices of the Sofrim and the Judaica dealers. In their effort to earn a livelihood and in their zeal to make Kosher Mezuzahs accessible to everyone they have lowered their standards to untenable levels. Irrespective of each parties’ individual positions, everyone does seem to be in agreement that such inexpensive Mezuzahs are riddled with problems.
It isn’t possible to pay a competent Sofer a living wage while using the best materials and procedures, and then sell the finished product at such low prices. Instead of recognizing this reality everyone is doing their utmost to discredit the “facts” that have been brought to light. Some endeavor to point out that even the Mezuzahs found to be Kosher have their problems too.
In the main though, their solution seems to be that they can find a Rabbi who will determine that regardless, all these errors are indeed Kosher. Others suggest that the person that brought all this to light must somehow be making money off of this, so we can therefore just ignore the facts and pretend that everything is fine.
We cannot so lower the standards of Kashrus to the extent that we must use extraordinary measures just to have these Mezuzahs considered Kosher. If a person receives these Mezuzahs from a Shliach, is the Shliach doing right by him? He tells him that this is the best security system in the world, produced to the specifications dictated by the Al-Mighty; is it really so? And when the Jewish consumer subsequently has them checked and he’s told that they aren’t even Kosher isn’t that then a “Chillul Hashem”?
We must do far more to ensure the Kashrus of these so-called “Mivtzoim” Mezuzahs. The Beis Din under Rabbi Kalmen Yehuda Marlow gave out guidelines. It doesn’t seem that even those guidelines are being adhered to. We must develop new standards to assure the Kashrus of these “Mivtzoim” Mezuzahs.
Kosher is a basic standard. Hiddurim can go on and on depending on the requirements of the purchaser. Still, if the Shliach explains to the consumer that these Mezuzahs are handwritten by a highly trained scribe, with a quill pen, on real parchment, their cost should in actuality be considered quite low.
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