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Checking Tefillin


Opening the Batim
Opening the Batim
This sofer uses a drill to open the batim. He says it is easier and faster than cutting the giddim.
Opening the Batim
Opening the Batim
The drill goes through the giddim and cleans out the holes used to sew the Tefillin closed as well.
Inside the Shel Yad
Inside the Shel Yad
There is one compartment inside the shel yad containing one klaf.
Klaf Shel Yad
Klaf Shel Yad
The klaf shel yad contains all four parshiyot. It is wrapped with the hair of a kosher animal, then encased in another piece of klaf which is tied with more hair.
Klaf Shel Yad
Klaf Shel Yad
Here is the klaf shel yad with the outer klaf removed.
Klaf Shel Yad
Klaf Shel Yad
Here you can see the unrolled klaf as the sofer checks it.
Klaf Shel Yad
Klaf Shel Yad
Here is the entire klaf shel yad unrolled. Each of the four sections visible is one of the four parshiyot.
Klaf Shel Yad
Klaf Shel Yad
After checking the parsha, the sofer rolls the klaf and ties it with hair from a kosher animal to return it to the shel yad.
Klaf Shel Yad
Klaf Shel Yad
Next he wraps it with another klaf and ties that with more hair.
Measuring the Gid
Measuring the Gid
To measure the gid needed to close the bayit, he wraps gid five times around the titora.
Opening the Shel Rosh
Opening the Shel Rosh
The sofer prepares to open the shel rosh. You can see the shel yad wound with gid sitting behind it on the table.
Inside the Shel Rosh
Inside the Shel Rosh
There are four compartments inside the shel rosh, each containing one klaf.
Klaf Shel Rosh
Klaf Shel Rosh
The first of the four parshiot shel rosh (Kadesh li).
Klaf Shel Rosh
Klaf Shel Rosh
The second of the four parshiot shel rosh (Ki yaviyecha).
Klaf Shel Rosh
Klaf Shel Rosh
The third of the four parshiot shel rosh (Sh'ma).
Klaf Shel Rosh
Klaf Shel Rosh
The fourth of the four parshiot shel rosh (V'haya im shamoa).
Making the Shel Rosh
Making the Shel Rosh
Here is a shel rosh made of or gas. Note how large it is compared to my hand.
Flax
Flax
The batim will be sewn shut using hairs from a kosher animal.
Flax
Flax
The sofer has a large supply of flax on hand.
Closing the Shel Rosh
Closing the Shel Rosh
The sofer begins sewing the shel rosh closed from the back corner.
Closing the Shel Rosh
Closing the Shel Rosh
The shel rosh is sewn shut on all sides.
Closing the Shel Rosh
Closing the Shel Rosh
Note that giddim tied to the last of the four parshiyot are left sticking out a bit from the top of the titorta.
Shel Yad
Shel Yad
Here's the shel yad sitting with the flax prior to closing.
Closing the Shel Yad
Closing the Shel Yad
The shel yad is closed in an identical manner as the shel rosh.
Closing the Shel Yad
Closing the Shel Yad
Before starting the process, the sofer says: "L'shem kedushat Tefillin."
Closing the Shel Yad
Closing the Shel Yad
The shel yad is seen here completely closed.
Retzuot
Retzuot
Like the batim, the retzuot are made from the skin of a kosher animal.
Retzuot
Retzuot
The sofer keeps a supply of retzuot on hand.
Small Tefillin
Small Tefillin
Until the 1950s, tefillin were made completely by hand and were much smaller. This one is sitting on a quarter.
Tall Tefillin
Tall Tefillin
Note how tall the bayit shel yad stands. Batim need to be square but need not be cubes.
Old Tefillin
Old Tefillin
Round Tefillin are not kosher. In the middle of this pile is a round shel yad. It wasn't made that way but rather gradually shrunk and took the shape of the rolled up klaf inside.

See also: A Visit to the Sofer.

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