Thursday, October 22, 2009

Photographing Kosher Origami Tefillin

Yesterday I was continuing to photograph the stages of making kosher origami tefillin.  I actually sewed the kosher origami tefillin together with cow sinew so I could show the process of sewing the tefillin up.  It was very interesting.  I'm taking the photographs for the Kesher Tefillin Project website I'm building for Noah Greenberg.  To clarify, if a pair of Tefillin is kosher, it is kosher.  It's an "all" or "nothing" proposition.  The halacha (Jewish laws) involved in making Tefillin are incredibly complex and the slightest error or lack of concentration at a critical step could easily render the Tefillin unkosher.  The Tefillin are created are kosher and "authentic" in every way.  Noah's design has the halachic approval of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz and his rabbinic court.  Rabbi Karelitz is one of the pre-eminent rabbis in halachic decisors of this generation.

I know this isn't my usual handiwork, but I did help a bit in the creation of this set of kosher Tefillin while photographing it.  I did use my creativity in photographing the various steps of making these kosher Tefillin and I thought about the experience all night and wanted to share it.

 I truely am blessed to have been given this opportunity to actually sew these Tefillin together and to do a photographic documentation of the very meaningful project.


  1. I don't get it. What are origami Tefillin?? Tefillin made from paper??

  2. that is truly fascinating!.i would really like to know more about this project. and i would love to see more of your photographs. can't believe that you find the time to be a photographer.

  3. No, it's not paper. Paper would not be kosher. It's parchment made from goat skin - what is used in conventional tefillin. He gets sheets of this and each one is then pounded out into the shape needed to fold it into the tefillin you see on the blog. I didn't want to go into the entire process on my blog, especially since my blog is about what I make and sell.

    It is colored black and then folded. This is part of an answer that Noah gave to one of the parents that had a Chabad rabbi asked about the tefillin that his son made at camp with Noah:
    That being said, on an objective level, certain allowances have been made to make the Kesher Tefillin project feasible under the circumstances. The "parshiot" (hand written scrolls) that are inside the Tefillin are definitely kosher – they were written by G-d fearing Jews and checked twice for errors as the Halacha dictates (including being checked by computer). That being said, they are relatively inexpensive and the calligraphy is not as objectively "beautiful" as scrolls that could easily cost five times as much. The same thing is true for the other components of the Tefillin (the straps, the sinews, etc.)."