Tefillin Questions

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I have a couple of questions regarding my tefillin.
I have lost the black box that goes above my hand tefillin. Is that a problem?
Also, how often should one have his tefillin checked?
Many thanks,

Dear Jeff,
Black box covering: best to replace this. Ask the Sofer down the road from Torah Treasures if he can supply. If you have good quality tefillin and use them regularly they only need to be checked if they have been left in the rain or similar misadventure. The batim should be refurbished and the רצועות replaced when these show signs of wear and tear, flaking, or similar.
Best wishes
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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