Hiddur – The Explanation
Hiddur means "Adornment" or "Beautification". Our Tefillin are "adorned" with extra beautifications and stringencies in accordance with the "Seal of Halachik Standard and Quality" as set in accordance with the wishes of Gedolei Yisrael.
At Tefillin Beit El, we pay close attention to each and every letter and crownlet, in order to ensure that our Tefillin are unparalleled in quality. The best way to explain how we make "Tefillin Mehudarot" - Tefillin with Hiddurim - is by showing how we write a sample letter. We have chosen the letter Gimmel
When coming to purchase Tefillin you encounter the word "Mehudar". For some, this will be the first time that you encounter this terminology. The term "Mehudar" stems from the Hebrew word "Hiddur" - beautification or enhancement. This term comes up quite often in the fulfillment of commandments in Jewish life. An example of such would be in the lighting of the Hanukah candles. Technically speaking – in order to comply with the candle lighting one would be required to light a single candle every night of Hanukah. By lighting additional candles as per the number of days per night one is enhancing and beautifying the mitzvah of candle lighting.
Hiddur as pertaining to Tefillin:
There are numerous responsa describing decisions and rulings made by scholars in historic religious law pertaining to the mitzvah of Tefillin. Obviously, the more which one is able to adhere to, the more the mitzvah is enhanced and beatified.
In order to enable the "Hiddur" of the Mitzvah of Tefillin we at Tefillin Beit El have, in conjunction with the wishes of Gedolei Yisrael, established the "Seal of Halachik Standard and Quality".
When the scribe writes the scrolls for Tefillin, he is allowed, under certain circumstances, to erase letters during the process of writing. This scroll is kosher – however, it is not Mehudar. These scrolls cannot be considered such that "beautify" or "enhance" the Tefillin.
Technical Enhancements; The quality of Tefillin are set during the manufacturing process. There are many factors which can affect the final quality of the Tefillin. For instance; the skin used to manufacture the Tefillin. Skins taken from the fatty parts of the cow contain a high amount of animal fat. This fat never dries; thus in future years causing the integrity of the Tefillin to fail and even lose their shape. The area which form the fold or "hinge" between the body of the Tefillin and its bottom may be weak.
Today, these Tefillin may actually look beautiful and be kosher; however – what will happen to them in the future?
Therefore, it is imperative to understand the amount of "Hiddurim" or enhancements that are available for your Tefillin as set forth in the "Seal of Halachik Standard and Quality".
The actual Lettering in the Scrolls;
In order to understand the quality and beautification of the actual lettering in the scrolls we have chosen to explain the requirements and possible enhancements to the letter "Gimmel", the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
The required parts of the Gimmel
1. The Head
Thus, technically speaking, even this letter can be considered a Gimmel
The Enhanced and Beautified Gimmel
1. The head
Thus is created an Enhanced, Beautified Gimmel that meets the "Seal of Halachik Standard and Quality" as set in accordance with the wishes of Gedolei Yisrael.