According to this video, gassot have only been around for about a century. I know for a fact that when my father became bar mitzvah, his grandfather got him tefillin dakkot (his father got new tefillin for himself). When did it become common in the Orthodox world for people to purchase battim gassot for their tefillin?

  • Probably as soon as they started being mass produced and the price became reasonable (if you factor in that they last a life time and need almost no upkeep). – Danny Schoemann Oct 20 '14 at 8:07

Warning: This answer contains original research and anecdotal evidence.

I got curious about this because of how hard it is to open gassot and the risk of damaging the battim or parshiyos when you do. Gassot are currently the standard and some sofrim even refuse to sell dakkot, but the transition seems to have happened relatively quickly. A little over ten years ago, when I was getting my bar mitzvah tefillin the sofer showed my father and I both types of battim but we were told in school that "all tefillin these days are gassos". Today, I almost never see tefillin dakkot that were purchased less than 20 years ago; they are all either gassot or low-budget peshutim.

As an aside, I only watched the first minute or so of the linked video, but the "dakkos" that the narrator uses to demonstrate how flimsy they are are peshutim, not dakkos. As an aside to the aside, it is evident from the mishna that tefillin peshutim were common in the period of the tannaim.

  • I also noted that in the video. I have an old pair of dakkot (Eastern European) which I actually rescued from a pile of hefker which would likely have been thrown out (rather than interred) if it hadn't been taken. They are much more sturdy than the peshutim in the video, and the battim are almost certainly still kosher (so those who follow the chazakah of the Rambam may wear them without checking them with a sofer). – Noach MiFrankfurt Nov 4 '14 at 15:52
  • I have a pair of high quality dakkot and they are quite nice and certainly not like the tefillin peshutim that were pulled apart in the video. – ezra Jun 12 '17 at 16:06
  • @ezra, where did you get them? I've noticed that they're still occasionally seen by Chabad sofrim, but are otherwise unattainable in new condition. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 5 '17 at 14:07
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt - Pe'er HaStam is where I got them. I'm not sure if they're Chabad, but they do make Chabad tefillin so maybe? – ezra Jul 5 '17 at 16:10

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