What Are Tefillin?
The mitzva of tefillin is Biblical and we are commanded to put on tefillin every weekday. Tefillin are two boxes made of animal hide. Inside is parchment on which are written the parshiyos of Shema. One box is placed on the head and the other box on the arm. The source of the mitzva is the first and second paragraphs of the Shema (Devarim 6:8), “Bind them as a sign on your hand and as totafos between your eyes.” Details of the mitzva such as the color of the boxes and straps and the square shape are part of the Oral Torah going back to Moshe Rabeinu.
HOW CAN ONE KNOW THAT THE TEFILLIN ARE OF HIGH QUALITY?
The quality of tefillin depends on many variables such as: who wrote them, the quality of the tanning process, the quality of the parchment, quality control etc. There are many aspects to the manufacturing of the tefillin which is why tefillin should be bought only from a reliable source. One should be skeptical about unusual, cheap offers.
WHAT IS MEANT BY “BEHEIMA DAKA”?
These are tefillin made from the skin of a goat or sheep which are called beheimos dakos. A beheima daka is considered kosher from a halachic standpoint but is less mehudar and of lesser quality than beheima gassa.
WHAT IS MEANT BY “BEHEIMA GASSA”?
These are tefillin made out of single piece of leather from an ox. It is very thick and undergoes a complicated process which includes soaking it in water, softening the leather. They are long-lasting and are considered higher quality than tefillin from a beheima daka which is why they are more expensive.
WHEN IS IT RECOMMENDED TO BUY TEFILLIN FROM A BEHEIMA DAKA AND WHEN FROM A BEHEIMA GASSA?
Tefillin from a beheima daka are of lesser quality than tefillin from a beheima gassa and are suitable for once in a long while and for people who don't put on tefillin every day. If you put tefillin on every day or it is important to you to buy tefillin that will be long-lasting, it is recommended that you purchase tefillin from a beheima gassa.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TEFILLIN NUSACH ASHKENAZ AND NUSACH SEFARD?
Tefillin nusach sefard are based on the Rambam's view in which there are three open parshiyos and the fourth parsha is closed. Tefillin nusach ashkenaz are based on the Rosh (Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel) whose view is that all four parshiyos need to be open. Also, ashkenazim wrap the tefillin straps from outside-in while sefardim wind them outward.
WHAT AFFECTS THE PRICE OF TEFILLIN?
The quality, of course, is the name of the game … There are several main components that affect the price including the sofer, the parchment the parshiyos are written on, how the leather is made and quality control. At Machon STa'M we are particular about high quality whether in tefillin from a beheima gassa or a beheima daka.
If you have any question or concerns about your Tefillin, we are happy to help! You can contact us via whatsapp (at the bottom of the website), by email: email@example.com or phone: 718-778-7826.