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Study the Laws

Introduction

The laws of the Tefillin (Phylacteries) have been passed down from father to son since the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. The” Mitzva” (commandment ) of putting on Tefillin is one of the three Divine Commandments that reflects the status of the Jewish People as being a “Treasured Nation”. Every Jewish male who has reached the age of Bar-Mitzva can fulfill this “Mitzva” by putting on his Tefillin and reciting the “Shema”. The” Shema “Prayer is an acknowledgement of G-d’s absolute sovereignty in the world, and as such is a basic statement of the Jewish faith. The “Shema” is recited twice daily; once during the Morning Prayer while wearing Tefillin, and once during the Evening Prayer without Tefillin. 

The mitzvah of Tefillin is mentioned several times in the Torah. The two Biblical verses that refer to Tefillin are: 

וקשרתם לאות על-ידך והיו לטטפות ביו עינך

דברים ו:ח 

“Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be ornaments between your eyes.” (Deuteronomy 6:8) 

ושמתם את -דברי אלה על-לבבכם ... והיו לטטפות בין עניכם

דברים יא:יח

You shall place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul; you shall bind them for a sign upon your arm and let them be an ornament between your eyes.” (Deuteronomy11:18). The purpose of wearing Tefillin is explained in the Torah as follows:

והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא לאמר בעבור זה עשה ה לי בצאתי ממצרים. והיה לך לאות על -ידך ולזכרון בין עיניך למען תהיה תורת ה בפיך כי ביד חזקה הוציאך ה ממצרים

שמות י"ג : ח:ט 

And you should tell your son on that day saying, this is done because of that which the L-rd did to me when I came out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign to you upon your hand, and as a reminder between your eyes that the L-rd’s Torah may be in your mouth.” (Exodus 13; 8 -9) It follows, therefore, that one who puts on Tefillin is meant to be reminded of his personal connection to the exodus from Egypt as a member of the Jewish Nation. Secondly, wearing Tefillin on the arm signifies a connection of the heart, and Tefillin on the head a connection of the mind, reflecting both heart and mind as part of a special relationship with G-d.

The Tefillin Case and its Contents

The Tefillin cases themselves each contain specific Torah portions that are written by a scribe on specially prepared parchment. The parchment is made from a kosher animal. The Tefillin worn on the arm contain one long piece of parchment, while the Tefillin worn on the head contain four separate shorter pieces of parchment. The four different Torah sections included in the Tefillin are: 

1. "שמע ישראל" -“Hear o Israel”(Deuteronomy 6:4) 

2. “והיה אם שמוע”- “It will be that if you Hearken” (Deuteronomy 11:13) 

3. “קדש לי כל בכור”- “Sanctify for me Every Firstborn” (Exodus 13:2)

4. “והיה כי יביאך”- “And it will be when He brings you to the Land” (Exodus 13:11) 

Who is obligated to wear Tefillin

Every Jewish male is obligated to wear Tefillin beginning one day after his 13th birthday and onward. Tefillin are worn on weekdays only and not on Shabbat or Holidays. The Bar-Mitzva boy is obligated to wear his Tefillin from the proper day, and should not wait until his Bar-Mitzva ceremony if it will be celebrated after his Hebrew birthday. Some Bar-Mitzva boys may begin putting on Tefillin before the obligatory date to do so if that is the family custom. Customs range from putting on Tefillin from one year, 3 months, or 1 month prior to the Hebrew birthday. The Bar-Mitzva by should follow the custom of his father or consult a Rabbi in this matter. 

The following is a list of possible calculations which may arise in determining the date on which putting on Tefillin becomes obligatory according to one’s Hebrew Birthdate. 

* If a boy is born at dusk his parents should consult a Rabbi in order to determine which day he should begin wearing Tefillin. 

* If a boy is born on the thirtieth day of the Jewish month of Kislev or Tevet, and the corresponding month during his Bar mitzvah year does not have thirty days, the Bar Mitzvah is to be celebrated on the first day of the following month ( 1 Kislev, or 1 Tevet). 

* If a boy is born on the first day of the Jewish month of Kislev or Tevet and in the year that he is born the months of Cheshvan and Kislev have only 29 days, a question arises when the 

months of Cheshvan and Kislev have 30 days during his Bar Mitzvah year. In such a case a boy is considered Bar Mitzvah on the 29th day of Cheshvan and Kislev which is the 

first day of the Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the new month). 

* If a boy is born on the third day of Adar, and his Bar Mitzvah year is a leap year, he celebrates his Bar Mitzvah on the third day of Adar II(which is the second month of Adar during a leap year). 

* If a boy is born on the third day of Adar I (in a leap year) and his Bar Mitzvah year is also a leap year he should celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on the third day of Adar I. 

* If a boy is born on the third day of Adar I during a leap year and his Bar Mitzvah year is not a leap year, he celebrates his Bar Mitzvah on the third day of Adar. 

* If a boy is born on the thirtieth day of Adar I which is Rosh Chodesh Adar II, a Rabbi should be consulted. 

* If a boy is born on the thirtieth day of the Jewish month of Shevat which is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar, and his Bar Mitzvah year is a leap year, he should consult his local Rabbi. The religious rules have been presented in an abridged format; any further questions should be referred to your Rabbi.

Purchasing Tefillin

It is important to know that the laws of Tefillin are very complex. Any small manufacturing defect may invalidate the Tefillin. It is strongly urged to purchase high quality Tefillin.One should consult his local Rabbi to determine where to purchase his Tefillin. 

Important points to consider when purchasing Tefillin: 

1. One should purchase Tefillin that follow his family's customs. 

2. One should determine whether the Bar Mitzvah Boy is right or left handed 

according to the criterion of Jewish law. 

3. At the time of purchase one should have the salesman unwrap the Tefillin. 

4. In case some adjustment is required, one should insist that it be made on the spot. 

5. One should make sure that the Tefillin strap is of sufficient length to complete the binding. 

6. One must make sure that the head strap is adjusted to its proper fit. 

7. The vertical straps must reach the waist. 

8. Some have the custom that the right strap must extend well beyond the waist. 

9. The Tefillin worn on the head must not be too large. 

10. If it is a family custom to wear the Tefillin in some unique way, the salesman should be asked to make the appropriate adjustments.

Caring for Your Tefillin

* Tefillin are very delicate, and can be ruined quite easily. They must be stored properly and inspected frequently. If they have been exposed to excessive heat, cold, or humidity they should be inspected by an expert. If the corners of the Tefillin become worn they should be inspected.

* The Tefillin and its straps must be black. One should be especially careful that the paint on his Tefillin straps does not wear off and change color. One can purchase special kosher paint at a religious article store. Prior to painting Tefillin, a short Prayer,

"לשם קדושת תפילין" (“L’shem Kidushat Tefillin") is said, which means "For the sake of the holiness of Tefillin".

* Tefillin straps must be at least .43 of an inch (1.1 centimeters) wide. The straps tend to shrink in the area of the knots; one should therefore periodically inspect his Tefillin straps in those areas.

* Tefillin are holy religious articles. If they fall to the ground, one should consult his Rabbi to determine what should be done.

Inspecting Your Tefillin

If you believe that your Tefillin may have been damaged, you should consult

a reputable G-d fearing Tefillin expert. In any case you must find yourself 

a pair of Tefillin to use while your Tefillin are being inspected. You should 

have your Tefillin inspected once every few years even if you do not 

suspect a problem.

 

Proper Time for Wearing Tefillin

* One can wear Tefillin in the morning from the time that it is bright enough outside to recognize a friend at a distance of approximately two yards. One is obligated to wear his Tefillin each weekday morning with the only exception being the morning of the Fast Day of the Ninth of Av. Tefillin are not to be worn at night.

* If one has not yet put on Tefillin, and the sun has already set, one may still put on Tefillin until approximately thirteen and one half minutes after sunset. One should consult a Rabbi to determine whether a blessing should be recited that late in the day.

* Tefillin are not to be worn on the Sabbath or Holidays. During the”Chol-Hamoed” (Intermediate) portion of the holidays of Passover and Succoth, the custom differs depending on location; one should therefore consult his local Rabbi.

* On the Ninth of Av fast day, some have the custom to wear Tefillin during the afternoon service. One should follow the custom of his father or ask a Rabbi.

Length of time Tefillin must be worn

It is customary to put on Tefillin before reciting the Morning (Shacharit) Prayers, and preferable to keep them on until the Prayer Service has ended. Traditionally, the Tefillin are not taken off until the "ובא לציון" (“Uvah Letzion") Prayer which is near the end of the service. Some Rabbis have ruled that one should wear Tefillin until the end of the “"קדיש יתום (“Mourner’s Kaddish) which follows the “עלינו” (“Aleinu”) Prayer. (If you are unfamiliar with the Prayers that are mentioned in this section, please consult a Rabbi for assistance).

· In localities where the custom is to return the Torah to the Ark after "ובא לציון" )"Uvah Letzion"( one should not remove his Tefillin until the Torah has been returned to the Ark.

· On Rosh Chodesh the custom is to remove the Tefillin following the “Kaddish” and prior to the “Mussaf” (“Additional”) prayer.

· If one is exceedingly short on time he must say the following prayers before removing his Tefillin: 

1)”שמע ישראל-ואהבת” " Shema Yisrael -V'ahavta” 

2)”והיה עם שמוע” “ V'haya Eem Shamoa.” 

Note- The text of all the the Prayers mentioned above can be found in a weekday Prayerbook (siddur)

· One who must leave his house early in the morning and cannot take his Tefillin with him should consult with his Rabbi in order to determine the earliest possible time to wear Tefillin. If, for some reason, one’s Tefillin were not available for use in the morning and became available only in the afternoon, one should put on the Tefillin and should recite a chapter of Psalms (Tehillim) while wearing them.

· One should be familiar with the rules concerning when the Morning Prayers may be interrupted in order to put on the Tefillin, in case that situation should arise.

How Must One Behave While Wearing Tefillin

There are a number of guidelines for respectful behavior while wearing Tefillin:

* A person who is dirty cannot wear Tefillin. Someone who has a gaseous stomach for more than a short while cannot wear Tefillin.

* Tefillin cannot be worn in a dirty place or a place that has an offensive smell.

* Tefillin cannot be worn in a shower or bathroom even if the room is currently clean.

* If one takes his Tefillin off and puts them on again, he is obligated to recite the blessings again.

* One must retain a serious attitude while wearing Tefillin.

* One must not sleep while wearing Tefillin.

* One must not eat a full meal while wearing Tefillin.

* One must treat his Tefillin respectfully.

* One should remove them in an honorable way and store them in a proper location.

* It is customary to touch the Tefillin when reciting the verses that apply to wearing Tefillin which are found in the ”Shema” prayer.

Wearing the Tallit or Prayer Shawl- Sephardic Tradition

Many communities whose members are of Sephardic descent have the custom of wearing a Tallit from the age of Bar Mitzvah. Those observing this custom should be careful to follow the following rules: 

1) The Tallit should be large enough in length and width so that a nine-year-old child would be able to cover most of his body with it. A rectangular shaped Tallit that resembles a scarf is not acceptable. 

2) Wearing a large Tallit during Morning Prayer does not fulfill the obligation to wear a small Tallit, or a four cornered garment called “Tzitzit,” during the day. 

3) It is preferable that the Tallit be made of 100% lamb's wool. 

4) One should make sure that the strings on the corners are in good condition. If the strings are not in good condition one should purchase new strings from a store that specializes in selling Jewish ritual items. The strings should be replaced by someone Bar- Mitzva age or older who is familiar with the laws of how to do so. 5) The Tallit is put on before the Tefillin at the beginning of the prayers, and taken off after the Tefillin following the completion of the prayers. 

6) The Tallit is to be worn even on days when the Tefillin are not worn with the exception of the fast day of "The Ninth of Av". On the Ninth of Av the Tallit and Tefillin are usually not worn during the morning service, but rather are put on before the Afternoon Prayers (“Mincha”) are recited. 

7) In case one does not have a Tallit, he must still wear his Tefillin. 

8) One should not enter a bathroom while wearing his Tallit. 

9) The proper time to wear a Tallit is during the daytime. If one must leave his home early in the morning and cannot take the Tallit with him, he should consult his local Rabbi for advice. 

10) The Tallit and Tefillin may be carried together. They should be carried in such a way as to make the Tallit more accessible than the Tefillin.

How to put on the Tallit:

Before putting on the Tallit one should inspect the fringes on all four corners to make sure that none of the strings are missing or damaged. If any strings are missing, one should seek an expert's advice before wearing the Tallit. 

When wearing a new Tallit one must make two blessings: 

1) The first blessing said is “שהחיינו” ( “Shehechiyanu,”) which is a blessing of Thanks to the Almighty for allowing one to fulfill this mitzvah for the first time.

"ברוך אתה ה אלוקינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והיגיענו לזמן הזה” 

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Shehechyanu Vekeyemanu Vehegeyanu Lazman Hazeh.” 

“Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, and King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.” 

2) The second blessing, which is recited daily, (or every time that the Tallit is put on), is “להתעטף”(”Lehitatayf “). This blessing refers to the Mitzva of wearing a four cornered garment while praying. 

"ברוך אתה ה אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו להתעטף בציצית”

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehitatayf Betzitzit.” 

“Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to wrap ourselves tzitzit.” 

The Tallit is put on in the following way: 

1 )One should spread his Tallit out behind his back in the air with the "crown" facing skyward.

2) One should have intent to fulfill the religious obligation of wearing the Tallit,

and then recite the Blessing (as explained above) over the Tallit. 

3) With two hands one should bring the Tallit from behind him towards his face,


The edge of the Tallit should reach his mouth. 

4) One should bring forward the sides of the Tallit . He should bring the sides


of the Tallit to his left side and hold it there for at least three seconds. 

5) One should then lower the Tallit down his back and arrange the top of his Tallit on his head.

Some communities follow the custom of the "Ben Ish Chai"(a Rabbi and Halachic authority). According to the “Ben Ish Chai,” the Proper way to put on the Tallit is as follows:

1) One should hold the Tallit in his two hands as one holds a scarf, behind his head, with the "crown" of the Tallit facing up. He should then make the blessing and cover his head with the Tallit up to the end of his forehead. Two corners of the Tallit would hang forward over his right shoulder. The other two corners of the Tallit should be hanging forward over his left shoulder.


2) One should then take the two corners of the Tallit from his right shoulder and throw it onto his left shoulder from behind.  

3) Whichever method has been used up to that point, the next step would be to hold the Talliit in position for at least three seconds, and then arrange the Tallit behind one’s back. One should make certain that the strings of the Tzitzit do not touch the floor.

One should keep the Tallit on his head for the “שמונה עשרה” ("Shmona Esrei” or”Silent Devotion”) Prayer. This will help retain proper concentration during that prayer.

One who wears his Tallit on his head must be certain that his Tefillin protrude and are visible to others. Some have the custom that unmarried young men use the above described procedure when putting on their Tallit, but not to cover their heads with their Tallit when praying.

One who dons his Tallit in the middle of the prayers should ask his Rabbi regarding his obligation to recite the blessing.

Wearing the Tallit, or Prayer Shawl – Ashkenazi Tradition

Some Ashkenazi communities follow the custom of wearing a prayer shawl, called a Tallit, from the age of Bar-Mitzvah. Those observing this custom should be careful to follow the following rules:

1) The Tallit should be large enough in length and width so that a nine-year-old child would be able to cover most of his body with it. A rectangular shaped Tallit that resembles a scarf is not acceptable. 

2) Wearing a large Tallit during Morning Prayer does not fulfill the obligation to wear a small Tallit, or a four cornered garment called “Tzitzit,” during the day. 

3) It is preferable that the Tallit be made of 100% lamb's wool.

4) One should make sure that the strings on the corners are in good condition. If the strings are not in good condition one should purchase new strings from a store that specializes in selling Jewish ritual items. The strings should be replaced by someone Bar-Mitzvah age or older who is familiar with the laws of how to do so.

5) The Tallit is put on before the Tefillin at the beginning of the prayers, and taken off after the Tefillin following the completion of the prayers. 

6) The Tallit is to be worn even on days when the Tefillin are not worn with the exception of of the fast day of "The Ninth of Av". On the Ninth of Av the Tallit and Tefillin are usually not not worn during the morning service, but rather are put on before “Mincha” (Afternoon Prayers) are recited. 

7) In case one does not have a Tallit, he must still wear his Tefillin. 

8) One should not enter a bathroom while wearing his Tallit.

9) The proper time to wear a Tallit is during the daytime. If one must leave his home early in in the morning and cannot take the Tallit with him, he should consult his local Rabbi for advice. 

10) The Tallit and Tefillin may be carried together. They should be carried in such a way as to make the Tallit more accessible than the Tefillin.

How to put on the Tallit:

Before putting on the Tallit one should inspect the fringes on all four corners to make sure that none of the strings are missing or damaged. When wearing a new Tallit one must make two blessings: 

1) The first blessing said is “שהחינו” ( “Shehechiyanu,”) which is a blessing of Thanks to the Almighty for allowing one to fulfill this mitzvah for the first time. 

"ברוך אתה ה אלוקינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והיגיענו לזמן הזה” 

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Shehechyanu Vekeyemanu Vehegeyanu Lazman Hazeh.” 

“Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, and King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.” 

2) The second blessing, which is recited daily, (or every time that the Tallit is put on), is“להתעטף”(”Lehitatayf“). This blessing refers to the Mitzvah of wearing a four cornered garment while praying 

"ברוך אתה ה אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו להתעתף בציצית” 

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehitatayf Betzitzit.” 

“Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to wrap ourselves tzitzit.” 

The Tallit is put on in the following way: 

1 )One should spread his Tallit out behind his back in the air with the "crown" facing skyward 


2) One should have intent to fulfill the religious obligation of wearing the Tallit, And then recite the Blessing (as explained above) over the Tallit. 3) With two hands one should bring the Tallit from behind him towards his face, The edge of the Tallit should reach his mouth.

4) One should bring forward the sides of the Tallit. He should bring the sides of the Tallit to his left side and hold it there for at least three seconds.

5) One should then lower the Tallit down his back and arrange the top of his Tallit on his head. 

6) One should hold the Tallit in position for at least three seconds, and make certain that the the strings of the Tzitzit do not touch the floor. 

One should keep the Tallit on his head for the “שמונה עשרה” ("Shmona Esrei” or”Silent Devotion”) Prayer. This will help retain proper concentration

during that Prayer. 

One who wears his Tallit on his head must be certain that his Tefillin protrude and are visible to others. Some have the custom that unmarried young men use the above described procedure when putting on their Tallit, but do not cover their heads with their Tallit when praying. 

One who dons his Tallit in the middle of the prayers should ask his Rabbi regarding his obligation to recite the blessing.

The Order of Putting on Tefillin- Sephardic Tradition

A set of Tefillin consists of "Tefillin of the Hand" which is worn on the left forearm, and “Tefillin of the Head” worn on the head at the top of the hairline.

A left handed person wears the Tefillin on his right hand. A person that is not exclusively right or left-handed should consult his Rabbi for assistance to determine on which hand to wear the Tefillin.

What to do:

1) One must stand while putting on Tefillin. 

2) The “Tefillin of the Hand” should be taken out of the bag first. The”Hand” Tefillin should have a small protective box on it. The box is necessary to protect the Tefillin from being scratched and dented while being worn. 

3) One should begin putting on the Tefillin by rolling the shirt sleeve of the left arm up as far as possible. One should stand, and insert his left hand into the Tefillin strap with the knot facing his shoulder. The Tefillin should be placed onto the muscle of the forearm. The edge of the Tefillin should be at the end of one’s muscle and facing the elbow.  

4) If one has difficulty finding the end of his muscle he may measure the width of two fingers and assume that location as the correct one.

5) The Tefillin should lie on the forearm facing towards the heart. The Tefillin must lie on the skin. One should make sure that his shirt does not slide in between his skin and his Tefillin. This is of special importance when reciting the blessing just prior to putting on the Tefillin. If one has a bruise in the spot where the Tefillin are normally worn, one should consult his Rabbi for guidance. 

6) Prior to tightening the Tefillin strap, one must have intent to fulfill the commandment of wearing Tefillin. One must also have in mind the name of G-d, and the miraculous way in which the Jews left the slavery of Egypt. One must dedicate his heart and soul to his personal connection to G-d in his daily life. 

7) Once these preparations have been completed, one is ready to make the blessing. The following blessing must be said :

"ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו להניח תפילין"

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu B’mitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehaniach Tefillin” 

"Blessed are you, Hashem, our G-d, and King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with his Commandments and has Commanded us to put on Tefillin". 

8) The Tefillin should be tightened. 

 

After tightening the strap one should then pass the strap under his forearm,towards his body and lay the strap down on the “Titura” which is the wide base that has an opening through which the strap passes once.  

(Note- As in many of the rituals we have encountered so far, customs may differ among communities. Some have the custom to lay the strap down on the arm itself and not on the wide base of the Tefillin. One should consult his local Rabbi if he is uncertain as to which custom he should observe). 

9) On the right side of the Tefillin there is a knot in the strap that must always be touching the Tefillin. One should inspect the Tefillin when purchasing it to make certain that the knot is always in its correct position. Once the correct positioning of the knot is established, Tefillin is then wrapped around the arm .

10) After circling the strap the whole length of the arm, one should complete the process by circling the palm of the hand with the strap eight times.  

11) One should then remove the “Tefillin for the Head” from its bag and protective case..

12) The "Head" Tefillin is put on while standing. No blessing is said. One may not speak or motion from the beginning of the process of putting on Tefillin and until its completion. One must not stop putting on Tefillin before completing the process for any reason, even if he is stopping in order to fulfill another commandment. If the cantor recites a prayer that normally requires a response from the congregants,one may not respond if he is in the process of putting on Tefillin.He must remain silent and when the cantor moves on in the prayer he should continue the process of putting on his Tefillin. If one accidentally spoke after putting on the “Hand” Tefillin but before putting on the "Head" Tefillin he should consult his Rabbi. One should be careful to wear a head covering (preferably a Kippah) while wearing Tefillin. One who wears a toupee or suffers from headaches should consult his Rabbi. 

13) One should put the Tefillin on his head while having intent to fulfill the positive commandment of wearing "Head" Tefillin.

14) One should then lower the Tefillin into place. Most of the knot should lay on the skull behind the head above the indentation in the center of the head  

15) The straps of the Tefillin should be aligned so that the painted portions of the straps are facing away from the person wearing them  

After he has completed the tightening of his "Head" Tefillin he may once again speak and sit. 

16) Next, once again, one should take the hand strap, and draw it across the back of the hand to the point in between the middle finger and the ring finger, bringing the strap around from the back. It is best if one stands while tying the strap around the hand. 

17) One must next wrap the strap around the middle finger three times in the following sequence: one circle around the middle of the finger followed by two circles around the lower knuckle.(Note: some have the custom to tie it following a different sequence). 

One should say the following prayer in while encircling his middle finger:“ 

"וארשתיך לי לעולם, וארשתיך לי בצדק ובמשפט ובחסד וברחמים

 וארשתיך לי באמונה, וידעת את ה' " 

“Vaarasticha Li Leolam, Vaarasticha Li Btsedek Ubmishpat Uvechesed Uverachamim. Varasticha li Beemunah, Veyadata Et Hashem.” 

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me with righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy. I will betroth you to me with fidelity and you will know G-d.” (Hoseah 2:21-22). 

18)After completing these three circles on his middle finger, he should take the strap out between his index finger and his middle finger, to a point at the beginning of the fingers(near the wrist) 

One must next cross the strap under the wrist and around to the area below the small finger.

He should then wind the remaining portion of the strap around the palm of his hand a few times until there is no more strap left  

(NOTE: There are differences of opinion regarding the location and sequence of the binding of the strap around the palm, one must consult his Rabbi if he is uncertain as to which custom to observe.)

19) If one spoke between putting on the "Head" and "hand" Tefillin, about matters not pertaining to Tefillin, he should make the following blessing:

"ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו על מצות תפילין“ 

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haoolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Al Mitzvat Tefillin” 

“Blessed are you, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments, and has commanded us regarding the commandment of Tefillin.” 

20) One must take care that the straps of the Tefillin are always in the correct position, with the shiny side facing away. 

A nice custom has been adopted by some communities to read the following sections from the scripture upon completion of putting on the Tefillin: Exodus 13:1-10 and Exodus 13: 11-16, Note-the text of this can be found in a copy of the Bible (“Chumash”).

The Order of Putting on Tefillin- Ashkenazi Tradition

A set of Tefillin consists of "Tefillin of the Hand" which is worn on the left forearm and “Tefillin of the Head” worn on the head at the top of the hairline. A left handed person wears the Tefillin on his right hand. A person that is not exclusively right or left-handed should consult his Rabbi for assistance to determine on which hand he should wear the Tefillin. 

What to do: 

1) One must stand while putting on the Tefillin. 

The “Tefillin of the Hand” should be taken out of the bag first. The “Hand Tefillin” should have a small protective box on it. The box is necessary to protect the Tefillin from being scratched and dented while being worn. 

2) One should begin putting on the Tefillin by rolling the shirt sleeve of the left arm up as far as possible. One should stand and insert his left hand into the Tefillin strap with the knot facing his shoulder. The Tefillin should be placed onto the muscle of the forearm. The edge of the Tefillin should be at the end of his muscle and facing his elbow. 

3) If one has difficulty finding the end of his muscle he may measure the width of two fingers and assume that location as the correct one.

4) The Tefillin should lie on the forearm leaning towards the heart.The Tefillin must be placed directly on his skin. One should make sure that his shirt does not slide in between his skin and his Tefillin. This is of special importance when reciting the blessing just prior to putting on the Tefillin. If one has a bruise in the spot where the Tefillin is normally worn, he should consult his Rabbi for guidance.

5) Prior to tightening the Tefillin strap, one must have intent to fulfill the positive commandment of wearing Tefillin. He must also have in mind the name of G-d, and the miraculous nature in which the Jewish nation was freed from slavery in Egypt. One must dedicate his heart and mind to strengthening his connection to G-d. 

6)Once these preparations have been completed, one is ready to make the blessing. The following blessing must be said in Hebrew: 

"ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו להניח תפילין" “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehaniach Tefillin.” 

"Blessed are you, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments and ordered us to put on Tefillin". 

7) One should tighten the strap around his forearm immediately after reciting the blessing. After tightening the knot one should take the strap and pass it to the othe side of his forearm while moving the strap over his forearm, towards his his forearm while moving the strap over his forearm, towards his body.

NOTE:

On the right side of the Tefillin there is a knot in the strap that must always be touching the Tefillin. One should inspect the Tefillin when purchasing it to make certain that the knot is always in its correct position.

8) One should continue circling his arm with the Tefillin

strap and make seven circles.

9) One should next wind the strap over the front of his hand.

and bring it back around to his palm. He should then pull the strap through the space between the thumb and first finger and wrap it around the back of his .

 

10) One should next remove his "Head" Tefillin from the bag.

It is important to remember that one may not speak or motion from the beginning of the process of putting on Tefillin until its completion. One must not stop putting on Tefillin before completing the process for any reason, even if he is stopping in order to fulfill another commandment (“Mitzvah”). If the cantor recites a prayer that normally requires a response from the congregants, one may not respond if he is in the process of putting on Tefillin. He must remain silent and when the cantor moves on in the prayer he should continue the process of putting on his Tefillin. If one accidentally spoke after putting on the “Hand” Tefillin but before putting on the "Head" Tefillin he should consult his Rabbi. 

11) One should put the Tefillin on his head while having intent to fulfill the positive commandment of wearing "Head" Tefillin.

one should be careful to wear a head covering while wearing Tefillin.

One who wears a toupee or suffers from headaches should consult his Rabbi.

12) One should then lower the Tefillin into place. Most of the knot should lay on the skull behind the head above the indentation in the center of his head.

The Tefillin strap must not be too large. The "Head" Tefillin must be aligned with the knot in the back of his head. They must not extend beyond beginning of his hairline.

If one is balding his Tefillin should not extend beyond the spot where his hairline had originally been. It is suggested that one purchase a small mirror so as to allow him to ascertain whether his Tefillin are placed in the correct spot.

13) The straps of the Tefillin should be aligned so that the painted portions of the straps are facing away from the person wearing them. are facing away from the person wearing them.

14) Before tightening the “Head” Tefillin the following Blessing should be recited: 

“ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו על מצות תפילין “

“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haoolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Al Mitzvat Tefillin” 


“Blessed are you, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments, and has commanded us regarding the commandment of Tefillin. 

15) After tightening the Tefillin one must say the following brief sentence:

"ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד”

“Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Leolam Vaed.”

“Blessed is the Name of his glorious kingdom for all eternity.”

NOTE: There may be different customs regarding the particular order in which the Blessings are said while putting on the Tefillin. If one has questions about this or any part of the process, a Rabbi should be consulted.

16) After one has completed the tightening of his "Head" Tefillin he may once again speak and sit even though one has still not completed putting on Tefillin.

17) During the final winding of the straps on his hand, and completing the process of putting on the Tefillin, one should be standing. One should take the "Hand" strap, and tighten the strap across the lower front of his hand by pulling on the strap between the thumb and the first finger. By doing so one is forming the left leg of the Hebrew letter “Shin”. 


18) The next step is to bring the strap forward between the ring and middle finger, and encircle the middle part of the middle finger once and then the lower part of the middle finger twice. 

 

NOTE: Some have the custom to circle the middle finger in the reverse order meaning first twice at the bottom of the finger and then once in the middle of the finger.

19) One should say the following prayer in Hebrew, while encircling his middle finger: 

"וארשתיך לי לעולם, וארשתיך לי בצדק ובמשפט ובחסד וברחמים. וארשתיך לי באמונה וידעת את ה' "

“Vi’Ayarastich Lee Leolam, Vi’Ayrastich Lee Bitsedek UviMishpat Uvichesed Uverachamim; Vi’Ayrastich li Be’Emunah, Veyada’at Et Hashem.” 

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me with righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy. I will betroth you to me with fidelity and you will know G-d.” (Hoseah 2:21-22) 

20) After completing these three circles on his middle finger, one should take the strap which is beneath his ring finger, and pull it out between his ring finger and his little finger on to the top of his hand over to his thumb.  

21) One should then pull the strap between the thumb and the first finger back under to his palm, and from there one then brings the strap one more time around from top to bottom down the middle of the front of his hand. The strap should now form the three legs of the Hebrew letter “Shin.” Any remaining strap should be wound around the hand while covering the middle leg of the letter "Shin". 


NOTE: Some communities have the custom of wearing the letter "Shin" backwards. It is important to notify the salesman if that is one’s custom to ensure that the proper pair of Tefillin has been purchased.  

22) One must take care that the straps of his Tefillin are always in the correct position, with the shiny side facing away.  

A nice custom has been adopted by some communities to read the following sections from the scripture upon completion of putting on the Tefillin: Exodus 13:1-10 and Exodus 13: 11-16. Note-the text of this can be found in a copy of the Bible (“Chumash”).

Removing The Tefillin- Sephardic Tradition

The “Head” Tefillin is removed while one is standing. One should also remove his "Hand" Tefillin while standing, up to the point where he was before he placed his

“Head” Tefillin. 

One should next fully remove his “Head” Tefillin, wrap it up in its box, and put it into its bag. Then one should remove the "Hand" Tefillin put it in its box wrapped and then put into its bag. The Tefillin should be placed in its box in such a way as to ensure that the "Hand" Tefillin will be taken out of the bag before the “Head” Tefillin the next day.

It is considered proper to kiss the Tefillin and handle them gently. There are numerous customs as to how to fold the straps; one should observe the custom of his father or ask his Rabbi. One should wait until the end of the Prayer Service before putting away his Tefillin.

The Tallit should be removed and folded after the Tefillin are removed.

Removing The Tefillin- Ashkenazi Tradition

People of Ashkenazi descent remove their Tefillin while standing. 

One must remove the straps from his hand up to the point where he had earlier

put on his “Head” Tefillin.  

One should next fully remove his “Head” Tefillin, wrap it up in its box and put it into its bag. Then one should remove the "Hand" Tefillin put it in its box wrapped, and then put into its bag. The Tefillin should be placed in its box in such a way as to ensure that the "Hand" Tefillin will be taken out of the bag before the “Head” Tefillin the next day. It is considered proper to kiss the Tefillin and handle them gently.

There are numerous customs as to how to fold the straps one should observe the custom of his father or consult his Rabbi. One should wait until the end of the Prayer Service before putting away his Tefillin.

The Tallit should be removed and folded after the Tefillin are removed.

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