In response to my letter of the previous week, I very much appreciated the letter from Rabbi Alex Freedman (“Hands-on approach to tefillin,” March 7), clarifying that the picture of Temple Emanuel students wearing homemade tefillin was for, as we’d say “chinuch purposes only.”
However, I must take issue with him that the way to introduce students to that mitzvah was to have the students make their own, not halachically kosher, tefillin. If Rabbi Freedman read Rabbi Menachem Genack op-ed (“Tzit, tefillin, and the halachic process,” February 28), he would have learned that tefillin hold the same sacred status as a sefer Torah, maybe even more so. I doubt that Rabbi Freedman would introduce his students to the Torah by having them write one. Most likely, he would bring in a learned, practiced sofer, who would bring in all of the requisite materials for producing a sefer Torah, and show them how it’s done. By bringing in a sofer to show the students how tefillin are made, he would be showing them the sanctity of tefillin. What the students were shown was a nice arts and crafts project. But what have they been taught about the sanctity of tefillin by such a project?