Mezuzah, Tefillin and Torah
What is the purpose of checking mezuzahs, and how often must it be done?
Mezuzahs should be checked twice every seven years to see if they have been affected by adverse weather conditions or folding, or if any other defect has occurred. It is preferable to check mezuzahs which are on the outside of a building (i.e. backyard fence or garage) more often, due to their vulnerability to inclement weather. Oftentimes, preventive corrections can be made which could increase the longevity of these mezuzahs
In addition, the infiltration of fraudulent mezuzahs in the marketplace present further cause for regular checking to determine the authenticity of those mezuzahs. (See "To Educate Consumers" above)
Why do many scribes & Rabbonim encourage computer scanning of tefillin & mezuzahs?
The checking of mezuzahs and tefillin has been revolutionized by technological developments over the last several years. Mezuzahs and Parshios can now be scanned by a computer for textual errors. While no sofer, however diligent, is infallible, computer scanning has the advantage that no word or letter will ever be overlooked. Moreover, the computerized database of the Vaad Mishmeret STaM has a record of every mezuzah and every tefillin parsha that was ever scanned into the system. (There are roughly 350,000 mezuzahs and 36,000 sets of tefillin in the computer database).
Utilization of the computer scanning method has brought serious instances of fraud to light. In one instance, for example, the system identified several mezuzahs as being exactly identical. This is impossible with handwritten parchments. Investigation revealed that the source was merely reproducing mezuzahs on parchment using a raised-ink printing process. In another instance, the system called attention to the fact that previously scanned mezuzahs with missing words or letters had been resubmitted with those errors corrected. Such parshios were thus defective as they were written she’lo k’sidran, out of order.
The Chicago Mezuzah Campaign raises awareness of the availability of computer-scanned mezuzahs and tefillin, and participants are advised to purchase only mezuzahs or tefillin that are written by certified sofrim, and which are computer-scanned. A computer scanning system is now available in Chicago and is used to examine all mezuzahs and tefillin submitted for checking. For more information, contact the Chicago Mezuzah Campaign at 1-866 697-2224.