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I was reading the Wikipedia article on R' Netanel Sofer, the inventor of tefillin gassot earlier and learned something which seems somewhat suspect: he was the sofer for the Chofetz Chaim's tefillin. If this is true, it would mean that his tefillin may be some of the earliest gassot in existence, although they may also be dakkot.

Is there any writing on the subject of the Chofetz Chaim's own tefillin, or are there any photos of the battim and/or the parshiot?

  • In the Artscroll biography of the Chafet Chaim I remember seeing a picture of him wearing his tefillin (and learning or davening). I was always suspect, though, that it's not really him because his tefillin shel yad is uncovered in the photo and he writes in the Mishna Berura that it's better to cover them. – Gavriel Jul 2 '15 at 18:29
  • @Gavriel, he also rules that one should wear one's tzitzit out, whereas he wore them in. – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 4 '15 at 1:22
  • In the picture that @Gavriel mentions, which you can see here, the tefillin certainly don't look like gassos. The titura seems to thin to be gassos, so I would think they'd be dakkos, as was common in Europe. – ezra Oct 27 '17 at 4:22
  • @ezra, My great-grandfather's tefillin are not gassot, but their titurot are certainly thick enough to be. My gassot have titurot of 16mm, whereas his tefillin (with incredibly thick 'orot) have titurot of ~15mm. They may be over 100 years old, although there's no way of knowing. – Noach MiFrankfurt Oct 27 '17 at 20:44

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