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I recently heard that in Belz they changed the Shin on the Tefilin Shel Rosh due to an old pair that was found that the Rebbi believed to be the true Mesorah. Is this true? How does the new Shin compare to the regular Shin that either Ashkenazim, Sefardim or Chabad uses? A photo showing the difference would be appreciated.

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    I'm a close Talmid of Rav Shammai Gross Shlit"a (considered the leading posek in the Belzer Kehillah and as well from the biggest Poskim in Eretz Yisrael.) I will bli neder ask him tomorrow about this.
    – Yehoshua
    Nov 6, 2012 at 9:52
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    @Yehoshua did you ever get round to asking him?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 17 at 10:36

2 Answers 2

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The following may shed some light on the question.

In Ohr HaSafon (a Belzer magazine) vol. 143, p. 47 it relates the following:

ואכן, ר' שמואל השיב כי ב'שטיבל' דחסידי בעלזא בעיר מגוריו באותם הימים באנטווערפן, היה ספר תורה שנכתב בידי סופר נכבד מחסידי בעלזא לפני ,המלחמה והוא שלח את ספר התורה זי"ע. ואכן כיום הוא מרן מהר"א הזה אל כ"ק הספר תורה היחיד ששרד מלפני המלחמה ונכתב לפי מנהגי בעלזא ובספר הקדוש זה קורא כ"ק מרן אדמו"ר שליט"א במועדי השנה

לפני כמה שנים, בהוראת כ"ק מרן שליט"א, לאחר שנערכה חקירה ודרישה מחודשת על צורת האותיות שהתקין כ"ק מרן מהר"ש זי"ע, ב"ה התחדש שוב נוסח הכתיבה המקודש, וכיום כותבים סופרי חצר הקודש בעלזא בסגנון זה תפילין וספרי תורה על פי מסורת הקודש מבית בעלזא

In the post-war era, some effort was made to find a Sefer Torah written according to the customs of Belz Hassidism from before the Holocaust. One such specimen was found among the Hasidim of a Belzer shtieble in Antwerp by R. Shemuel Porges. It was sent to the fourth Belzer Rebbe, who read from it on the holidays. Consequently the fifth/current Belzer Rebbe instructed that a formal investigation into the form of letters that conform to those enacted by the original Belzer Rebbe be made. Belzer scribes now write tefillin and sifrei Torah according to these findings.

I think it may be presumed (someone can correct if wrong), that the form of the letter shin now used on the shel-rosh among Belzer Hasidim is a result of this allegedly restored scribal tradition.

Here is what the two sides look like (as recorded in Tefillah le-Moshe):

enter image description here

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  • I found this!: d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/32422927/…
    – Mijmij
    May 19 at 21:17
  • @Mijmij I get the following error for that link: <Error><Code>AccessDenied</Code> <Message>Access denied</Message></Error> May 20 at 10:43
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    I would appreciate it if someone could explain how this is different from everyone else's tefillin.
    – MichoelR
    May 20 at 13:23
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    The Beit Yosef shin (on the outside of tefillin) comes to a point where the three or four branches of the shin meet. In the Belz tefillin, it's much more like how a shin looks inside a Sefer Torah - the bottom of the shin is a thick triangle, and the left head and middle head touch at the top left of the triangle.
    – moses
    May 20 at 13:45
  • @Deuteronomy see the pictures I added to my answer.
    – Mijmij
    May 21 at 10:13
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I found this on the following site http://www.ot-israel.co.il/minhagim

Minhag Belz enter image description here

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