Kabbalistic Tefillin Check…
I bought 2 sets of Tefillin 1 for me and 1 for X ..for X’s bar mitzvah, supposedly the best of the best! About 3- 6 months later a Mekubal tells me to change my Tefillin… I change mine and X’s. What can I do with the supposedly “the best of the best”?
I get an email like this at least once a week. Which is rather sad. My first piece of advice, is to use your expensive Tefillin until you KNOW that they are not Kosher. Rav Hillel dealt with this sort of thing in his book Faith and Folly, and this falls out as the latter. Let me explain.
If you bought a Lamborghini Venom, best of the best, with all of the tricks, would you shelve it simply because some religious guru claimed to know that there was something wrong with it? I would bet dollars to donuts that that you probably simply ignore the advice. If you were seriously superstitious you may even take it to a mechanic to have it looked over. However, I am certain that you wouldn’t toss it to the side without convincing evidence that there was actually a problem. Your Tefillin should be no different.
I have known or known of several Mekubalim that reputedly could have done something like this. Four I’ll name, the Arizal, Rav Mordechai Sharabi, The Baba Sali and the Shteipler. In all of the stories that I have heard about any of them(and this generalization carries over to the one’s that I will not name) they never told a person to get new Tefillin. They only ever told them to get their Tefillin checked. There are two very good reasons for that. First Ruach HaKodesh(at least the kind that we have today) does not make one infallible, so even if some mekubal feels sure, it is best to hedge his bets. Let’s say you have a Mekubal of the stature of the Baba Sali, who is right 99.9% of the time, that .o1% that he is wrong could cost him dearly. If he makes a pronouncement that costs a man his hard earned money, he is responsible for that if he is wrong. Thus any G-d fearing Mekubal(the G-d fearing part being a necessary prerequisite for Ruach HaKodesh) would simply tell the person to have them checked.
Second having one’s Tefillin checked is a mitzvah, and one that many people often ignore. Thus far from putting oneself in a position of potentially committing several aveirot, he now puts himself in a position of being a partner in a mitzvah.
As a third reason, if he is wrong in his intuition regarding the Tefillin, his reputation is not thereby damaged.
Hopefully if you bought the “best of the best” Tefillin you did your due dilligence in shopping for them, and you got them from a reliable sofer who is certified in all aspects that he will have a part in. In which case there is no reason to assume that there is a problem with them just because some mystic tells you that there is.
More to the point, unless you know that this supposed Mekubal is a true Tzadik, who is prefected in his middot and well learned in all aspects of Torah, you would be better off chalking such advice up as the rantings of your local charlatan.