We provide burial of old Torah Scrolls, Navi’im (Prophets) and Megillos, as well as parchments from tefillin and mezuzos and batei tefillin shel Rosh, which require special burial according to Jewish law (halacha).
Each year massive quantities of invalid tefillin and mezuza parchments reach the organization from all over the country (about 10,000 per year). Old and tattered Torah Scrolls which are beyond repair come to us from all over the world (about ten scrolls a year). Because they were written with ink on parchment in strict accordance with the law and for the sake of the mitzvah (lishma), they have special sanctity. Tefillin boxes from tefillin shel Rosh also fall under this category, because of the letter ‘shin’ on them.
Worn out or invalid parchment items require a special burial procedure for maximum longevity, protected from the harmful effects of the elements. In the time of the sages of the Gemara these items were enclosed in earthenware vessels whose openings were sealed with clay.
In our day plastic is produced from synthetic material which does not decompose when exposed to microorganisms, so it is extremely durable, lasting much longer than earthenware vessels. Modern plastic manufacturers, however, inject a certain material (called ‘biodigradibi’) into the plastic to enable it to break down.
As instructed by current halachic authorities, we purchase durable plastic containers which were not infused with this substance during their production. The parchment articles are placed in these containers, which are sealed closed with industrial-strength silicon.
Each sheimos collection bin has a special compartment for parchment items (tefillin and mezuzos), separate from the regular sheimos. Invalid Torah Scrolls are brought directly to the organization by appointment. Once every few years they are buried in unused hollow spaces in the cemetery.
The burial societies build supportive walls on the sides of the mountains to obtain level plots for burial. Below these, parchment containers are buried in hollow spaces which are then covered with layers of poured concrete.
As there are no halachic limitations involved, the above area may be used for burial plots or for any purpose, including paths between the graves or pave a road.