Rabbi Herring promises to make good
The Johannesburg Beth Din this week finalised the accreditation of local soferim after complaints of Pasul products in the market – read Vaad Mishmeret Stam Johannesburg published on SAJR on April 30.
The Beth Din is in the process of introducing a “Board for the Governance of the Sale of Sifrei Torah, Tefilin and Mezuzot” (Vaad Mishmeret Stam Johannesburg) which will, in essence, be an accreditation for soferim.
Johannesburg Beth Din director Rabbi Anton Klein issued a notice this week in which he said: “We are in the process of auditing all members trading in STAM; thus far we have found that a number of mezuzot submitted by Rabbi Hylton Herring for testing or sold by him were found to be of poor halachic standard and some were even found to be Possul (invalid).”
Dayan Klein attached a letter of response that was submitted by Rabbi Herring for the community’s attention.
Klein reminded the community of their general obligation to have their mezuzot checked twice every seven years.
“However,” wrote Klein, “due to the number of Possul merchandise sold by Rabbi Herring, anyone who has bought from him, has an obligation to have their merchandise checked as soon as possible.”
In the attached letter from Rabbi Herring, which he says he writes “with great humility”, he explains that the items he has sold have been “sourced from a supplier in Israel who claimed his products were kosher Le Hatchila.”
A distressed Rabbi Herring has stopped selling the merchandise and is “demanding an explanation” from his supplier in Israel.
Clearly distraught by the experience, Herring has listed the five approved soferim in Johannesburg and has promised to “cover the reasonable cost of the checking and replacement of those found to be defective”.
Rabbi Herring was not available for an interview with SAJR Online.
SAJR Online has uploaded the PDF document issued by the Beth Din this week to allow users the convenience of being able to download it, print it and forward it.
Vaad Mishmeret Stam of Johannesburg (VMSJ)
“Over the past years the Beth Din has received many complaints relating to the sale of Torah scrolls, tefilin and mezuzot (STAM), and has formed the VMSJ to assure that the public is supplied with kosher STAM. This is necessary as much of the STAM comes from Israel and America in parcels and sometimes arrives from questionable origins with dubious kashrut standards,” according to the Beth Din.
“With the VMSJ in place, the public can have peace of mind that when they next purchase STAM, say a mezuzah for example, from a VMSJ member, that there are control mechanisms in place and that there is recourse, such as refunds, if these guidelines are not kept.”
- Non-food articles that are not kosher are referred to as Possul or Pasul