Did you ever notice that whatever you google you will see an ad for it on eBay? Try tefillin and mezuzos and you will probably see something like this:
Visit eBayfor great deals on tefillin and mezuzoth. huge selection of items. Shop eBay
The Question is: Are they really great deals or is there more than what meets the eye when it comes to tefillin and mezuzos? Having spent quite a bit of time studying the tefillin and mezuzah offerings on eBay, I believe I have found some patterns that you should know about.
When You see a price that is lower than my $50.00 Mezuzah, there are three main possiblities:
1) The mezuzah that they are selling is a S’faradi mezuzah. There is nothing wrong with a S’faradi mezuzah, but if you are Ashkenaz, you should not be buying S’faradi mezuzos. There are slight differences in how the letters are made in S’faradi mezuzos. They are also easier to write, hence the less expensive price.
2) The mezuzah that you see in the picture is not a sample of a mezuzah that they are actually selling to you. This is easy to tell when you see the same seller selling two or three sizes of mezuzah, and they use the same sample picture for all the three sizes. Believe me, it wasn’t one sofer who wrote three sizes. Of what use is a picture if it’s not what you are actually getting?
3) The seller is not a sofer. He knows little about safrus and is isn’t qualified to sell tefillin and mezuzos. Take for example this sellers explaination for why he sells mezuzos:
“This mezuzah scroll has a lovely story behind it…
I came across a Sofer Stam teacher who heads a whole school of Sofrei Stam in Bnei Brak, The Teacher recounted that in his school for sofrei stam many students complete their studies and become sofrei stam but find it hard to sell their scribe, I in turn told him of my eBay store, and now we are working together…
Therefore in my store you can find all mezuzah sizes and in all scribe styles: Holy Ari, Ashkenazi and S’faradi…”
He is basically telling you, “I’m not a sofer, but I do know how ebay works, so I decided to add few more items even though I know nothing about safrus.
If you would take a look at his other items you will see what I mean: Cell Phones, Watches, Paintings, etc.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, think about this: Which soferim does he take his mezuzos from? You got it, soferim who can’t find anybody else to take their mezuzos. He said it himself. When I offer you a mezuzah it is because I know, and trust the sofer who wrote it. I choose to offer you that mezuzah because thats the mezuzah I like, and thats the sofer I like, not because some sofer couldn’t find a buyer.
Here is a picture of a mezuzah for sale on Amazon.com. The seller offers this mezuzah for $34.50. Its actual worth is zero because it is not kosher. Unfortunatly I was not able to make this photograph big enough to show you that it is not even a good attempt at selling a kosher mezuzah. While this posel mezuzah is the only mezuzah they sell, they have pages and pages of mezuzah cases, and they even have a cross for sale! How could a person buy a mezuzah from somebody who sells mezuzahs and crosses? It is absolutly absurd!
4) If the price is lower than $39.00 they make up for it with the shipping. My shipping is never any more than the actual fee charged to my by the shipping company plus the price of the packaging.
5) It will take a long time to get your order. Most mezuzah orders for my $39.00 can go out same day.