2. In one of the most religious communities in canada, of the 1,018 Mezuzos examined for their validity, 95% were found to be unfit.
In another prestigious community in New York city, of the many hundreds of Mezuzos examined, 83% were declared unfit for use.
In a campaign conducted in one of the largest Yeshivos in Brooklyn, where each child brought a Mezuzah from his own bedroom, 81% were possul.
3. The majority of Torah Scrolls in American synayogues are from 50 to 100 years old and, with this passage of time, their lettering is apt to deteriorate A good many of these scrolls are not used, but had those in use been subjected to inspection, most would have been found unfit for use, sorely in need of repair.
4. The Halacha dictates that inspection be required once every 3.5 years (Yoreh De'ah 291:1)
5. The article was reprinted several times by Vaad Mishmeres STaM and is available through its offices.
6. The source of these Halachic prescriptions have their origins in Talmudic literature and their primary commentaries, Code of Jewish Law as well as Responsa, These laws are encapsulated in the modern day Mishna Brura Chapters 32 through 36 with the Mishnath Sofrim addendum authored by the renowned Chofetz Chaim.
7. It must be realized that the scribal art is a form of calligraphy that requires diligent concentration and any slight distraction is likely to cause errors.
8. Examples of this are (a) המשל - prior intention (see guide II B), (b) ןרדסכ - proper order (see guide II C), (c) תוכות קח - etching (see guide 11 E).
9. Rabbi Jacob Lande, chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, decried this situation and wrote, "I was appalled to see Mezuzos being sold in Bnei Brak as kosher which are in fact totally invalid and are not even worthy of being called Mezuzos."
10. See Keses HaSofer 1:1, Pri Megadim-EisheI Avrohom 32.
11. In a response to a European Rabbi's letter dated Elul 1838, the Chasam Sofer stated emphatically, "Your contention that the majority of contemporary scribes have Halachic expertise, is totally unfounded. Regrettably, they are destructive and cause the public to stray. In addition, the Rabbis cannot supervise them as they do shochtim (ritual slaughterers). There are multitudes of pious Jews who never wore kosher Tefillin in their lives..."
Rabbi Moshe Sofer of Frankfurt D.M. (םיטוקילב ג"פ 'יס ו"ח מ"וח ס"תח ת"וש)
12. The scribe produces the most sacred of artifacts in Jewish life to enable Jews to fulfill the Mitzvos of STaM according to Halacha. Because of the awesome responsibility placed on him, age-old traditional standards made it incumbent on the scribe to receive rabbinical sanction through testing his requisite knowledge and expertise in the scribal craft and ascertaining his good moral character and integrity (see Sefer Hazichronos 9:3 authored by Rabbi Shmuel Abuhab 1610 - 1694; Bais Ahron 7:7, Mishnas Avraham 18:8; T'nufah chaim 432; Responsa Ma'hari Assad 298).
The Chasam Sofer (in his introductory approval to the Keses HaSofer) commanded that no Rabbinical court give authority to any scribe unless he was proficient and well-versed in the minutiae of the Keses HaSofer. Any scribe who did not master this knowledge should be discharged from his craft.
13. Testimonies by Leading Authorities:
"....It Is known, that in a particular city there are, regrettably, hundreds of scribes, most of whom are not G-d fearing. Thence the plague has spread to all cities of our country. They take as apprentices lads who have no fear of G-d, selling Tefillin and Mezuzos for a pittance because they write so many every day. Undoubtedly, they do not sanctify the names of G-d and their writing is a profanity..."
Aruch Hashulchan Yoreh De'ah 281:9
"....There is a big city in Lithuania (Slonim) which produces tens of thousands of STaM. When I met the eminent Rabbi of Slonim and asked about the reliability of STaM in his city, he replied, "All the Torah-Scrolls, Tefillin and Mezuzos distributed throughout the world are not fit for use under Torah Law, as they are written by evildoers and heretics. Surely they don't sanctify G-d's names in writing them, for they do not believe in G-d at all. I was made aware that the most beautifully written Torah-Scrolls in Vienna and Budapest came only from there (Slonim)..."
Os Chayim V'sholom 39:1
14. 1594 letters per phylactery.
15. According to the Halachic commentary Mishnas Sofrim (of the Mishna Brura) the 27 letters of the Hehrew alphabet encompass 165 laws which govern them.
16. In order for a Mezuzah to be deemed valid in the first instance, 4649 laws must be fulfilled.
17. Yoreh De'ah 291:1.
18. The majority of consumers purchase sealed Tefillin without even seeing the contents (written parchments).
19. Understandably, this figure does not take into account the myriad of invalid mechanically printed Mezuzos in the United States and Toronto, canada which needn't be imported.
20. in generations past, when one sought to buy Tefillin or Mezuzos, he contacted the scribe of his community who was generally the only sofer in town and well-known to his local Rabbi who, himself, employed him for scribal writing. The Rabbi's association with him was sufficient approval regarding the scribe's integrity. Today, however, the origins of imported STaM are unknown to the consumer and are, thus, suspect.
21. Any individual can easily recognize the glossy smooth white finish that is visible on the written side of a smeared Mezuzah which differs markedly from the natural cream white color of unretouched parchment.
22. Many authorities invalidate smeared Mezuzos because the paint is an interposition between the written letter and the parchment. The Chasam Sofer compares this procedure to one writing on paper and pasting it to parchment. See Keses HaSofer 2:12.
23. If, perchance, a smeared Mezuzah withstood cracking when folded, it would inevitably succumb to the natural climatic elements. Summer heat inherently expands and winter cold inherently contracts pliant parchment while leaving the dry paint untouched, resulting in cracked letters. In the rare instance when the Mezuzah is thinly coated and the process of such coating results in the paint being ingrained in the parchment, then and only then is the Mezuzah likely to last longer.
24. Mishnas Chachamim chapter 228.
25. The essence of their detailed program, which was circulated throughout Europe, has been reprinted by the vaad and is available free of charge upon request through its offices.
26. A non-profit organization for the preservation of STaM.