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The Parchment

Torah scrolls, Megillot Esther used for the reading of the Book of Esther on Purim, and the
passages in Tefillin and Mezuzot are written on parchment. There are two types of parchment on which such religious objects may be written:


Klaf mashuach
This type of parchment is made from the hide of a kosher animal. In the final stages of the tanning of this parchment, the hide is coated (mashuach, hence its name: klaf mashuach - "coated parchment") with a layer made of lime and real parchment that was melted down. This coating forms a smooth white layer on the parchment.

The writing of Torah scrolls, Tefillin, Megillot, or Mezuzot on such parchment is faster and easier, and considerably shortens the time required for writing. The cost of the Torah passages written on klaf mashuach is accordingly lower than those written on other types of parchment.
Such parchment, however, suffers from two flaws:
  • invalidation because of chatzitzah.
    There is a halakhic question whether the coating on the parchment constitutes a chatzitzah (an intervening object) between the parchment and the writing. According to the view that the coating does indeed intervene between the two, such an interposition renders unfit the Tefillin or Mezuzah written on klaf mashuach.
  • invalidation because of damaged letters.
    When the klaf mashuach is folded, either to place the Torah passages within the casements of the Tefillin or to wrap the Mezuzah and place it within its case, and even in ordinary use, the coating layer tends to crack and peel. If the coating on the parchment is cracked, the letters on this parchment are similarly harmed.
    Even if the parchment coating suffers no damage while being folded and inserted in its proper place, this layer tends to wear out relatively quickly. This results in the splitting of the coating, or even in parts of it falling away, with like damage to the letters written on the layer.
    All the seeming advantages of religious objects written on klaf mashuach are therefore actually to the purchaser`s detriment, because the Mezuzah or Tefillin that suffer such damage are unquestionably unfit.

    For these reasons, "Oter Israel" has never used klaf mashuach in its products, and never will.
Klaf shelil
This parchment is made from calf hides. This is the finest and best type of parchment. Always be sure to ask that your Mezuzot and Tefillin be written only on klaf shelil (literally, "embryo parchment").

Because of "Oter Israel"`s insistence upon absolute quality, and to ensure that its products will retain their halakhic fitness for many years, all of "Oter Israel"`s Torah scrolls, Tefillin, Megillot, and Mezuzot are written exclusively on klaf shelil.

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