Does Ritual Parchment (Klaf) Require a Hechsher?

Sofer Offers Refund or Free Replacement

As a Sofer, I have always used certain types of klaf that were easier to write on, in the belief that certification made the klaf of a higher standard, yet was not essential. I relied on the factories to use only G-d fearing, Jewish labor when processing hides designed for use as STaM klaf.

Upon hearing of the Elul 5766 scandal, I turned to leading Rabbinic authorities from both Israel and the Diaspora, all of whom ruled that the “regular” parchment was of doubtful validity. There’s a high probability that the lime-soakage was done by Gentiles who are always considered to lack the needed intention (lishma), rendering the parchment completely unkosher.

I must now either fully reimburse my customers, or rewrite all my work on hechsher-bearing klaf. My customers can reach me at the number below. In the meantime, none of my work may be used, including tefillin, mezuzos, etc. I hope this notice suffices.

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Clarification
Regarding the overwhelming response to my previous notice entitled “Sofer Offers Refund or Free Replacement”, I’d like to clarify a few points:

(a) It has been brought to my attention that quite a few prominent Poskim, among them Av Beis Din Zichron Meir Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, Badatz Eidah Hachareidis and tens of Rabbis from America had by Teves 5761 already issued a ruling to the effect that the use of unsupervised klaf is absolutely forbidden and that 86 well known Rabbis had said the same thing a hundred years ago.

(b) Distinguished rabbis have contacted me to offer encouragement in withstanding this trial of great monetary loss.

(c) In the wake of this scandal, I confronted the person who’d instructed me in the art of writing upon certain klaf that is easier to write on even though it lacks Kosher certification. We asked a great Posek who should be responsible for the free refunds. The ruling was that my teacher, the sellers, and I all should share the reimbursement expenses. The Posek also showed us no less than six pamphlets concerning this very subject. My teacher was shocked and agreed to help pay my customers.

Shmuel Nesanel Blum, Sofer STaM, Bet Shemesh

(Formerly of Kiryat Yoel, NY)

Grandson of the Kashoi Gaon zatzal

011-972-2-991-0591

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