Question: I purchased Tefillin for my son at his bar mitzvah. He had them checked five years later when he was in Yeshiva, and the parshiyos were found to be pasul. Am I entitled to new parshiyos from the sofer?
Answer: This depends on the nature of the p’sul. If the defect was clearly present from the outset – e.g., a missing or improperly written letter – the sofer owes you new parshiyos even many years later (C.M. 232:3). However, if a letter was cracked or faded, the sofer does not owe you, since it is possible that the parshiyos were kosher when he sold them, and the ink faded or cracked over time.
If a letter was cracked in a manner that may or may not have been from the time the Tefillin were first bought, the sofer would still be exempt out of doubt. Since the defect was discovered in your possession, we would assume that it developed later on (224:1 and Kessef Hakodoshim 232:11).
Authored by Rabbi Meir Orlian
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