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Inside Stam; An insider reveals the answers to all the questions you should ask when purchasing or maintaining Tefillin, Mezuzos, Megillos, Sifrei Torah and Nevi'im Hardcover – October 22, 2012
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- Publisher : Israel Bookshop Publications (October 22, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 440 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1600912133
- ISBN-13 : 978-1600912139
- Item Weight : 1.95 pounds
Best Sellers Rank:
#1,350,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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It takes the approach of answering questions gleaned from real situations that have arisen in the experience of the rabbi that you might have, 153 of them. There is a section with a glossary, bibliography, a Gedolim Cited (religious expert Authorities Cited), and a general index. For Hebrew readers there is a Mafte'akh ("Key"), and Milu'im ("Testimonials" ?) section.
I like the information very much and to this novice in the subject it is impressive. If the Judaica items you consider, a Sefer Torah (a Torah scroll used in the synagogue), a set of tefillin (called phylacteries by some, worn on the arm and head during certain prayers), a mezuza (a small "scroll" /parchment encased in a ornamental holder and placed at entries), a megilla (a smaller scroll with passages related to Purim), and scrolls featuring Nevi'im (Prophets) then Rabbi Reuvain's book can be very helpful. It let's you get a sense of why these can be quite expensive; but it also attempts to inform you of problems which can cause you to spend that money on substandard items and work.
The book I searched for but almost simultaneously it was recommended by a working sofer (scribe) who is no slump himself. It was his first recommendation.
I have one problem with the book and it is very aggravating. It could be a printing or other book design problem, but the photos that appear in the book can be too dark. There are text photos that are fine and helpful. Yet you are left with the constant desire to improve them since the information was so important to me. Perhaps being able to examine your copy before purchase may alleviate this, but buying online may leave you with a copy and complaint like mine. If another reviewer might take a look at a copy prior to purchase, information regarding this would be very helpful. The photo matter was why the book lacks a star in my estimation; otherwise, it's a 5 star book. I love it because it's so empowering for a subject that doesn't even come to mind for many people.
In "Inside Stam," Rabbi Reuven Mendlowitz, an American Talmid Chacham living in Israel, explains with amazing clarity the ins and outs of Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos. I very recently just bought the book from Seforim Warehouse in Toronto for $26.99 and already feel that I got my money's worth - in fact, it may have been a bargain considering the price of high-gloss English Sefarim. The book is 439 pages long and laid out in a question-answer format of around 75 of the most frequently asked questions a Sofer Stam gets from a layman. It has very clear high-resolution photographs of Tefillin, Mezuzos, as well as containing almost every Rabbinic opinion you can think of, replete with pictures and diagrams. The style of writing is done in a "normal" Yeshivish-English format, which the author confessed to me that he worked very hard on making the writing style relateable to today's Yeshiva graduate. To which I say, Sh'Koyach!
If you live anywhere in the United States feel free to purchase from Amazon.com. If you live in Toronto, Seforim Warehouse for sure has it, and perhaps other places as well - you should call first though before driving all the way down only to find that it's sold out. Amazon.ca currently doesn't have it on sale, so that's a bummer on Canadian customers.
In my honest opinion I have yet to see any sefer, let alone a sefer on Stam, written to a level where literally anyone can gain a wealth of information and retain it long after finishing the book. It's definitely a must-have.