There are a lot of consumers out there shopping for inexpensive tefillin. In general you should recognize that a very good set of tefillin costs over $500. While I urge people to budget as much as possible for tefillin and consider it an important investment, I realize not everyone can afford to spend that much.
But beware of inexpensive tefillin. Claims that they are 100% kosher are not worth much. On the other hand, if you are buying tefillin online, it's not easy to get a good idea of the people making the tefillin, and especially the caliber of the parchments inside.
I would love to be able to sell tefillin for $200 or $225, but I cannot, in good conscience, sell tefillin that I don't have full confidence in.
Today a former customer sent me the following inquiry:
Had a question: I'm thinking about ordering a new set of tefillin (peshutim mehudarim), but the price is a bit higher on Ben's Tallit Shop than ___ for the comparable set ($250 vs. $244).
Also, are there any coupon codes? I have a coupon code at ___ for 15% off.
Cheers v'kol tuv.
And here's my reply:
We have various coupons, but not for tefillin, which we sell for as low a price as we can. Tefillin Peshutim Mehudarim may have the same description, but they are definitely not comparable.
Tefillin are made by hand and the parchments are written by hand. The term "peshutim mehudarim" refers to the manner of construction of the battim (boxes, and really the Shel Rosh, not the Shel Yad). What goes inside, the quality of the materials, the level of expertise of the stitching, painting and other finishing work varies considerably. The only way to compare properly is to take a good look at the tefillin up close and to open them up to examine the parchments as well. Obviously this is not practical.
I have never assessed the tefillin ____ sells, but based on my general knowledge of tefillin production and the tefillin market in Israel, I would be surprised if they are of the same caliber as ours.