Working the Leather
It is imperative that we immediately start working the leather while it is still infused with the lime and extremely pliable.
By using a hydraulic press, we carefully press the leather to the depth required that enables us to later form the Tefillin housing. This process, depicted to the right, forms four bulges or “Bulkelach” in Yiddish, for the head Tefillin housing wherein the four scrolls that comprise the head Tefillin will ultimately be inserted, and one bulge for the hand housing wherein the scroll for the hand housing will be inserted.
In the leather designed for head tefillin, we form four bulges that will be used to insert the four strips of parchment on which the four Biblical passages are written.
In the leather designed for the hand tefillin, we form one bulge into which one strip of parchment bearing the four passages will be inserted.
After every step in the manufacturing process we must allow the leather to rest and dry. This drying is a long drawn out process due to the fact that all our hides are allowed to naturally air dry. We do not apply any source of artificial heat as this can cause the housings to crack or de-form sometime in the future. The longer the hides dry – the harder they will become thus, the overall manufacturing process of one pair of Tefillin spans a years’ time.