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Publisher's Foreword

The Significance of a Bar Mitzvah

Preparations for the Bar Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah Customs


The Maamar

Sichos Kodesh

Reshimos of Bar Mitzvah

Letters From The Rebbe

The Bar Mitzvah of the Rebbeim


Yalkut Bar Mitzvah
An Anthology of Laws and Customs of a Bar Mitzvah in the Chabad Tradition

Chapter 4

by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov

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  Bar Mitzvah CustomsThe Maamar  

A Brief summary of the practical laws of Tefillin[1]

It goes without saying that before Bar Mitzvah, the boy should learn the halachos of tefillin thoroughly in the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch. Presented below is only a brief summary, stressing the most practical points.

The Mitzvah

  1. It is a positive commandment to put on tefillin shel yad, as it says, "And bind them as a sign on your hand," and to put on tefillin shel rosh, as it says, "And they shall be tefillin (totafos) between your eyes."[2] Among the positive commandments there is no mitzvah greater than the mitzvah of tefillin, and every Jewish male should be very careful to keep this mitzvah properly.[3] One who is meticulous in the mitzvah of tefillin will merit long life, and is promised a share in the World to Come. The fire of Gehinom will not touch him and all his sins will be forgiven.[4]

  2. The earliest one may put on tefillin is after amud hashachar (the crack of dawn), when it is possible to recognize one's friend at a distance of four cubits.[5] Tefillin may be laid the entire day until sunset.[6]

  3. It is a worthy custom to give a small sum of money to tzedakah before putting on the tefillin.[7]

  4. If the tefillin are worn in an incorrect position, if, for instance, the tefillin shel rosh are resting on the forehead, one has not fulfilled the mitzvah.[8] It is therefore very important to know the halachah pertaining to the correct placement of the tefillin and to check constantly that they are in the right position.

Having The Correct Intentions When Putting On The Tefillin

  1. The Alter Rebbe writes in his Siddur:

    "When one puts on tefillin, he should bear in mind that the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded us to write on the parchment contained in the tefillin the four specific Biblical passages which mention His Unity and the Exodus from Egypt, in order that we remember the miracles and wonders He performed for us. They indicate His Unity and demonstrate that He has the power and dominion over those above and below, to do with them as He wishes. And He has enjoined us to place the tefillin on the arm adjacent to the heart, and on the head over the brain so that we submit our soul which is in the brain, as well as the desires and thoughts of our heart, to His service. Thus, by putting on the tefillin, one will be mindful of the Creator and restrict his pleasures."

    One should also be familiar with the content of Tanya, Ch. 41, in which the Alter Rebbe writes that the point of tefillin is to effect that the person's wisdom and understanding be used only for Hashem's purposes - filled with Ahavas Hashem and yiras shomayim - all of which reflects itself in his diligence in studying Torah.[9]

    The time of putting on the tefillin is an appropriate moment to strengthen the connection - the hiskashrus that one has with the Rebbe.[10]

  2. One who only has a general kavanah that is, that Hashem has commanded us to lay tefillin, but does not have in mind the reasons of the mitzvah, has fulfilled his obligation but has not done the mitzvah as it should be done.[11]

  3. In addition to knowing the reason why we lay tefillin, most important is the result, namely, that throughout the entire day, the tefillin should have the effect that the mind and the emotions will be devoted to Hashem.[12]

Putting On The Shel Yad

  1. The tefillin are put on before saying Aizehu Mekomon.[13] The tefillin shel yad should first be removed from the tefillin bag in a respectful way, (not shaken out). If one first removed the tefillin shel rosh, it should be put on one side, and the tefillin shel yad removed.[14] It is customary to kiss the tefillin when they are taken out and when they are put back.[15]

  2. The tefillin shel yad is to be put on the left biceps. It should not be laid above the middle of the upper arm nor at its very bottom, below the biceps, for it is written,[16] "You shall place these words of Mine upon your heart..." that is, the tefillin shall be placed opposite the heart, that is, on the biceps, which is directly adjacent to the heart. Therefore, one should turn the tefillin shel yad slightly towards his body, so that when the arm is lowered, the tefillin will be directly opposite the heart.[17]

  3. Care must be taken that there be nothing intervening between the tefillin and the flesh. (When a long-sleeved shirt is worn, care should be taken that no part of the shirt be caught under the tefillin.)[18] The same is true of the shel rosh, where one has to be careful that the retzuah (strap) is resting on the head and not on the yarmulka. If one has a bandage on the arm or head, a Rav should be consulted as to what to do. A watch should be removed from the wrist.

  4. After placing the tefillin on the biceps, and before tightening it, the berachah, "l'honiach tefillin" is recited. There must be no interruption between putting on the tefillin shel yad and the tefillin shel rosh. While reciting the berachah, one should intend that it apply also to the tefillin shel rosh.[19]

  5. It is our custom that both the berachah and the actual laying of the tefillin are completed standing.[20]

  6. After the berachah, one should tighten the strap within the knot so as to fulfil the commandment, "You shall bind them for a sign upon your hand." The "yud," kesher (knot) on the tefillin shel yad should never be separated from the bayis (lit. the house) - almost to be compared with the choshen (breastplate) of the Kohen Gadol which was never allowed to be separated from the ephod.[21]

  7. The "yud" kesher of the tefillin shel yad should always be touching the bayis. If the tefillin have a protective covering (that will protect the corners from wearing down), then a space should be cut out of the covering so that the kesher is in constant contact with the bayis.[22] The Rebbe's custom is to wear such a protective covering for the entire duration of the Tefillah so that the corners of the tefillin not be worn down.[23]

  8. After tightening the knot, the retzuah should be wound twice around the protruding part of the base of the tefillin through which the retzuah passes, in such a way as to create the shape of the letter "Shin."[24]

  9. The retzuah is then wound seven times around the forearm.[25] It is our custom to divide these seven coils in the following way; after winding the first coil on the forearm, a small space is left, then one winds two coils close to each other, then another space is left, and then we wind the final four coils.[26]

    Then a final half-coil is made diagonally so as to wind the retzuah around the palm, resulting in the shape of an inverted letter "Daled."[27] The winding is always made in an outward motion away from the body.

Putting On The Shel Rosh

  1. The tefillin shel rosh is now removed from the bag, and placed upon the head. Care should be taken that the yarmulka should not be removed while placing the tefillin on the head. Further care should be taken that the retzuah should not be inverted.

  2. There are various ways in which the tefillin shel rosh may be placed on the head. Some hold the retzuos and allow the tefillin to hang in the air and then put it on.[28] Others place the knot on the maavarta (the protruding base of the tefillin), place the bayis on its correct place and then put the knot on its place.[29] Others hold the bayis in the left hand and the knot in the right hand and place them on the head.[30]

  3. The tefillin should be placed so that they lie exactly in the center of the width of the head.[31] The base of the tefillin on the forehead should not be placed at a point lower than that where the hairs of the head start to grow. As regards the upper end on the base, this should not be placed higher than the point where, on an infant, the skull is still soft (owing to the fact that the cranial bones have not yet properly fused together).[32] As previously mentioned, one does not fulfil one's obligation when the tefillin are placed too low on the forehead.[33] In order to make sure the tefillin shel rosh are in the right place one should ask a friend to check that they are in the center of the head, (or use a mirror).[34]

  4. The daled knot should be placed at the back of the head, at the very top and center of the nape of the neck.[35] The knot must appear to one who stands behind the wearer like the shape of a printed daled.[36] The knot should be firmly placed and not lean to one side. Furthermore, the retzuah should be tightened on the head so that the tefillin remain in place. If the tefillin are too loose, the length of the retzuos should be adjusted. It should be noted that whenever the length of the retzuos are adjusted this should be done with intention to perform the mitzvah of tefillin.

  5. The retzuos of the shel rosh should then be placed so that they hang loose in front with the black surface showing. The retzuos should reach the stomach at least,[37] however it is customary to have them extend down to the feet.[38]

  6. After the shel rosh has been placed on the head, the coils around the palm should be removed until only one coil remains. Then three coils should be made around the middle finger, one coil on the bottom of the finger (where it is attached to the palm), the second coil on the middle of the finger, and the third coil again on the bottom of the finger,[39] over[40] the original first coil. The rest of the retzuah should be wound around the palm and at the end the retzuah tucked in and tied so that the retzuos do not become loose.[41]

  7. One should see to it that on both the tefillin shel yad and shel rosh, the retzuah has the black side showing. If it was inadvertently inverted, it is a middas chassidus to fast. This only applies to the part of the shel rosh retzuah that goes around the head, and the shel yad retzuah that passes through the maavarta; however, with all the other coils around the arm, and the retzuos that hang loose from the shel rosh, one need not be so particular, for they do not constitue the essential mitzvah.[42] However, for the sake of beautifying the mitzvah, it is desirable that all retzuos have their black side showing.[43]

  8. If one put on the tefillin shel yad but forgot to make a berachah, the berachah should be made before putting on the shel rosh. If one put on both tefillin forgetting to make a berachah, one may make a berachah the entire time the tefillin are worn, and before the berachah is made one should touch the tefillin.[44]

  9. If the tefillin shel yad accidentally slipped from their place during Tefillah, one should put them back in the correct position but it is not necessary to make another berachah.[45]

  10. If the tefillin shel rosh were placed on the head, and it was found necessary to remove the shel rosh in order to adjust the circumference, it is not necessary to make another berachah.

  11. The Zohar[46] reserves special praise for those who put on tallis and tefillin at home and walk to shul with them on. The Shulchan Aruch[47] states that where there are non-Jews in the street or the streets are not clean, one should put them on in the courtyard of the shul. The Rebbe put on tallis and tefillin in his room and then came in to the shul.

Interruption Between The Shel Yad And The Shel Rosh

  1. It is prohibited to talk between putting on the tefillin shel yad and the shel rosh. Even to wink or otherwise signal with the eyes, or with the fingers is prohibited.[48] If one did say something - even one word[49] - that was not related to the tefillin, then if he spoke after the berachah "Lehoniach tefillin" but before he had tightened the retzuah to the arm, he must make the berachah "Lehoniach tefillin" again.[50] However, if he spoke after he had tightened the retzuah, then he should finish putting on the shel yad and then make the berachah "Al Mitzvas tefillin" on the shel rosh.[51]

  2. If he heard Kaddish, Borchu or Kedushah between putting on the shel yad and the shel rosh, then he should answer:

    1. "Amen, Yehai Shemai Rabbah etc.,"

    2. Amen at the end of half-kaddish,

    3. After Borchu he should say, "Boruch Hashem Hamvorach Leolam Voed",

    4. If the Tzibbur says "Modim" he should say the three words, "Modim Anachnu Loch" (but no more than this).[52]

    5. If he heard someone saying the blessings over the Torah, he should respond "Boruch Hashem Hamvorach Leolam Voed" and Amen after "Nosain HaTorah."

    6. Amen after the blessings "HaE-l HaKodosh" and "Shomea Tefillah", (but no other Amen).

    7. If he heard thunder, he should make the blessing "Shekocho Ugevuroso Malei Olom,"[53]

      (that is, those interruptions which may be made during the blessings of Kerias Shema[54]) and then make the berachah "Al Mitzvas tefillin" on the shel rosh.[55]

  3. When putting on tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam[56] one should, again, not interrupt between putting on the shel yad and the shel rosh. However, one may answer Kaddish, Borchu, Kedushah and Amen to all blessings,[57] however one may not say "Boruch Hu U'voruch Shemo."[58]

Removing The Tefillin

  1. One first removes the three coils of the tefillin shel yad from the finger and two or three coils[59] from the arm. One then removes the tefillin shel rosh with one's left hand,[60] and thereafter the rest of the tefillin shel yad. The tefillin are removed while standing.[61]

  2. The tefillin should be kissed when they are removed.[62] When removing the tefillin shel rosh, one should look at the letters "Shin" written on the tefillin.[63]

  3. The retzuos of the tefillin should not be wrapped around the bayis itself but at the side of the bayis. The bayis should be held in the hand and the retzuah wrapped around the bayis (and not the other way round). Some people have the custom of wrapping the retzuos in the shape of "wings of a dove" (two tracks on either side).[64]

  4. The tefillin shel rosh should be placed on the right hand side of the tefillin bag, and the tefillin shel yad on the left slightly higher than the shel rosh so that when opening the bag one will remove the shel yad first.[65]

  5. Some have the custom that the "daled" knot of the shel rosh should be placed on the maavarta and not beneath it.[66]

  6. The tefillin should only be removed after the entire Tefillah is finished that is, after "Ach tzaddikim."[67] If there is a bris in shul, one should leave the tefillin on until after the Bris.[68]

  7. On Rosh Chodesh, the tefillin are removed after "Uva LeTzion." One then lays tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam, and then the Shliach Tzibbur says a kappitel of Tehillim, half-kaddish and Mussaf.[69] If one is still wearing the tefillin by Mussaf, then one should lift up the tefillin shel rosh (or cover it with a Tallis) when "Kesser" is said in Kedushah.[70]

  8. If one wishes to remove the tefillin for a short while, then he should have in mind when removing them that he will shortly be putting them on again, and he is not required to make another blessing when he does so. However, if when removing the tefillin, he had in mind to put them on again in two or three hours time, then if he removed the tefillin, even if he changed his mind and wants to put them back on immediately, he must recite another blessing.[71]

  9. If one went to the bathroom, another blessing must be made when putting the tefillin on again, regardless of the length of the break. (It is prohibited to wear the tefillin in the bathroom).[72]

  10. It was customary among chassidim to say a portion of Tanach while putting away tallis and tefillin. This was done systematically so that over a period of three months they would go through the entire Tanach.[73]


When saying Tachanun, during Shacharis, one rests the head on the right arm out of respect to the tefillin, whereas during Minchah, one rests the head on the left arm.[74]

Borrowing Tefillin

  1. It is permitted to borrow another persons tefillin without his knowledge under the following conditions:

    1. It should only be done in an emergency but not on a regular basis.[75]

    2. He should return them as he found them.[76]

    3. He may not remove them from the place where he found them. For example, if he finds them in shul, he may not take them home. (This holds true even if he fully intends to return them to the place where he found them).[77]

    4. The owner is not present - for if he is present, one must ask him for permission.

    If one knows for sure that the owner will object to their being borrowed, it is prohibited to borrow them.[78]

  2. If one borrows a pair of tefillin and the circumference of the shel rosh is too big or too small, the size may be adjusted,[79] but one should be careful to readjust it to its original size when the tefillin are returned. When changing the size, one should have in mind that he is doing it "l'sheim mitzvas tefillin."

A Left Handed Person

A left-handed person who does all his work with his left hand, should put tefillin on his right hand.[80] An ambidextrous person, that is, one who can use both hands equally well, should put tefillin on his left hand.[81] There are very many details in these halachos, such as the case of one who writes with his left hand but does all other work with his right, and so on. In all cases one should consult a Rav as to the correct procedure.

Chol Hamoed

The Chabad custom is that tefillin are not worn on Chol HaMoed.[82] It is permitted to pray in a shul on Chol HaMoed without tefillin, even when most people in the shul are wearing tefillin.[83]

The Holiness Of The Tefillin

  1. It is prohibited to remove one's mind from the tefillin the entire time they are being worn. Therefore one may not joke or engage in idle conversation when wearing tefillin.[84] Rather he should be filled with yiras shomayim and treat the tefillin with great respect. Whenever one thinks of the tefillin, one should touch them, first the shel yad and then the shel rosh.[85]

    One who is wearing tefillin should think no machshavos zoros (inappropriate thoughts). One must strive to be filled with yiras shamayim, and to resist all distracting thoughts. The main thing is to accept malchus shamayim with kedushah.[86]

  2. There are a number of places during Tefillah that it is customary to kiss the tefillin:

    1. In "Ashrei" (both in Pesukei D'Zimrah and before Uva LeTzion) when saying the verse, "Poseach Es Yodecha" one touches the shel yad, and when saying "Umasbia L'chol Chai Ratzon" one touches the shel rosh.[87]

    2. In the blessing "Yotzer Or," on the words "Yotzer Or" one touches the shel yad, and on the words "Uvorei Choshech" the shel rosh.

    3. In Shema, (both in the first and second paragraphs) on the words, "Ukshartam etc." one touches the shel yad and when saying "V'hayoo L'totafos etc." the shel rosh.

    4. In the Parshah of Kadesh and Vehayah Ki Yeviacha, on the words, "Vehayah Lecha Le'os etc." one touches the shel yad, and when saying "Ulezikoron bein einecha" the shel rosh.

    Some people have the custom to touch the tefillin with the retzuah or with the tallis and then kiss the retzuah (or tallis).[88]

  3. If the tefillin fall on the ground without their cover it is customary to fast.[89]

  4. One should be careful not to let the retzuos of the tefillin trail on the ground.[90]

  5. It is prohibited to pass wind while wearing tefillin.[91]

  6. It is prohibited to enter a bathroom wearing tefillin.[92] If one is afraid to leave the tefillin outside the bathroom for fear they may be stolen, then they should be placed in two coverings, (one of which should not be the usual covering for the tefillin,) and then one may bring them in the bathroom.[93]

  7. One may not eat a meal while wearing tefillin but it is permitted to eat and drink a small amount, that is, smaller than the amount of an egg.[94]

  8. It is forbidden to sleep in tefillin.[95]

Tefillin Of Rabbeinu Tam

  1. The mitzvah of tefillin is mentioned four times in the Torah, and it is these four Parshiyos that are written on parchment and placed inside the tefillin. However there is a difference of opinion as to the order in which they are to be placed.

    According to Rashi, in the tefillin shel rosh (if you were standing facing a person wearing tefillin) then starting on the right (which is the left of the person wearing the tefillin) the order is:

    1. Kadesh
    2. Vehayah Ki Yeviacha
    3. Shema
    4. Vehayah im Shomoa

    According to Rabbeinu Tam, the order is:

    1. Kadesh
    2. Vehayah Ki Yeviacha
    3. Vehayah im Shomoa
    4. Shema

    In the tefillin shel yad, although all four parshiyos are written on one piece of parchment, the same argument applies.[96]

  2. The Shulchan Aruch[97] states that the custom is to wear the tefillin of Rashi, for this is the main opinion. However since, according to Rabbeinu Tam, the tefillin of Rashi are invalid, with the result that one who only wears the tefillin of Rashi has never truly fulfilled the mitzvah of tefillin according to Rabbeinu Tam, a G-d fearing person should wear both Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. The AriZal showed how both opinions are valid, kabbalistically.[98]

    The Minhag Chabad[99] is to lay both Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam tefillin starting from the time one first lays the tefillin that is, that is to say, two months before the Bar Mitzvah. When saying the berachah over the tefillin of Rashi one should also have in mind the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam.

  3. It is the Minhag Chabad to wear Rashi tefillin for the entire duration of the tefillah, and after the daily portion of Tehillim has been recited, to remove the Rashi tefillin and put on the Rabbeinu Tam without a berachah. One then recites; Shema, Vehayah im Shomoa, Vayomer (parshah of Tzitzis[100]) Kadesh, Vehayah ki Yeviacha, and then the Six Remembrances.[101]

  4. It is correct that the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam should be put on immediately after Tefillah because then it still has a connection with the blessing made on Rashi tefillin. However, if for any reason whatsoever this was not possible, one has until sunset to put on Rabbeinu Tam's.[102]

  5. If by mistake one put on the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam first, and with a berachah, instead of Rashi, then it depends. I one realizes immediately after making the berachah, and has not interrupted by saying anything unrelated to the tefillin,[103] then one should remove the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam and put on the tefillin of Rashi without saying another berachah. However, if one had already started Tefillah, the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam must be removed and a new berachah must be recited over the Rashi tefillin.[104] In such a case, where one thought the Rabbeinu Tam's were Rashi's and one then subsequently removed the Rabbeinu Tam's, it is still correct to put on the Rabbeinu Tam's again after the Rashi's and say what is usually said in Rabbeinu Tam's.[105]

  6. Boys usually place their two bags of tefillin in a protective bag. Some have the custom of placing the Rabbeinu Tam's on the left and Rashi on the right,[106] and some place Rashi on the left and Rabbeinu Tam on the right.[107]

  7. One should be careful when taking the tefillin out first to remove the Rashi tefillin. If by mistake Rabbeinu Tam's were removed first, they should be put back and Rashi's put on first.[108]

  8. If for whatever reason one forgot to put on Rabbeinu Tam's, the Rebbe would in such a case instruct him to make a thorough revision of all the laws of tefillin. If one forgets more than once, one should also learn the Derush "Mitzvas Tefillin" in the Sefer "Derech Mitzvosecha" or "Shaar HaTefillin" in the Siddur, or two or three other maamarim in the subject of tefillin.[109]

  9. One who wears tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam should learn Chassidus every day and be particular about Tevilas Ezra.[110]

Buying And Checking Tefillin

  1. Strictly speaking, once a pair of tefillin are certified as kosher, they need never be checked. However, the correct thing is to check them for they may be affected by perspiration.[111] Tefillin that are only laid infrequently should be checked twice in seven years.[112] If any part of the bayis has been damaged, or the tefillin were submerged in water, they need to be checked. Exemplary men check their tefillin and mezuzos every year in the month of Elul, and the Rebbe writes that one should conduct oneself in accordance with this custom and publicize the custom.[113]

  2. Not only has one who wears tefillin that are invalid not fulfilled the mitzvah of tefillin, he has also recited the name of Hashem in vain in all his blessings, which is a great sin. Therefore one should only buy tefillin from a G-d-fearing person who can vouch for the kashrus of the batim, parshiyos and retzuos.[114] Just as a person is particular about the clothes he wears, how much more so should he be particular in buying a pair of tefillin, to ensure that they are 100% kosher. Furthermore, the mitzvah should be performed in a beautiful way, that is, by making sure, that the writing is clear, on good parchment and housed in fine batim. It is most important that the sofer who writes the tefillin be G-d fearing.[115]

  3. If the bayis is knocked and chipped, or one of the gut threads has snapped, one should consult a Rav. Furthermore, if the paint starts to fade, particularly on the retzuos, the tefillin must be repainted. It is correct always to seek advice from a Rav or sofer in this matter. Particular attention must be paid to the part of the retzuah that enters the bayis, a spot where the ink easily fades.

  4. It is Minhag Chabad that the size of the tefillin be 4x4 fingers.[116] One should also buy a pair of tefillin that has the shape of the Alter Rebbe's "Shin." The parshiyos should be in the writing of the AriZal/Alter Rebbe.

  5. The retzuos should be at least 1cm wide and b'shaas hadchak 9mm.[117]

The Tefillin Campaign

Before the Six Day War in June 1967, the Rebbe announced "Mivtza tefillin" - the "tefillin Campaign" - that every effort should be made to put on tefillin with as many Jews as possible. Our Sages say that the verse, "And all the nations of the earth shall see that the name of G-d is called upon you, and they shall fear you," is a reference to tefillin. When the nations see the name of Hashem inscribed on the tefillin shel rosh, they shall be imbued with fear.

The worldwide Chabad community was immediately activated and many thousands of Jews put on tefillin - many for the first time in their lives. Special efforts were made to put on tefillin with soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces. In retrospect, this can be said to have had an immense effect, the war being won miraculously in six days.

Subsequently, the Rebbe urged that the campaign be intensified, leading to the operation of Mitzvah Tanks, tefillin booths etc., worldwide. Since the inception of the campaign, tens of thousands of Jews have started to put on tefillin regularly. At the age of Bar Mitzvah, when a boy receives his own pair of tefillin, it is correct and meritorious that he should use these tefillin to lay tefillin with another Jew.

The Rebbe spoke about the campaign on numerous occasions and wrote expansively of its merit. Presented here is a very brief selection of his directives.

  1. In the merit of the mitzvah of tefillin, soldiers will be victorious in battle and they will be granted long life.[118]

  2. It is well known that in the Second World War, the Previous Rebbe advised many soldiers to put on tefillin daily. All those who sought his blessing and accepted his advice returned safely from the battlefront.[119]

  3. A head that wears tefillin thinks like a Jew, a heart which is close to tefillin feels like a Jew and a hand upon which tefillin are strapped keeps itself far from bad deeds and continuously does good deeds - acts as a Jew.[120]

  4. Wearing tefillin protects a person from danger.[121]

  5. Putting on tefillin has the effect of protecting oneself, one's family, and all one's possessions, and adds increased blessing in livelihood and health.[122]

  6. A person who does not put on tefillin because "he has no time," because he is too involved with "making a living," can be compared to one who says that he has no time to go out to make a living because he is too busy thinking about the fact that he has no income![123]

  7. On numerous occasions when there was a medical problem, the Rebbe advised that the tefillin be checked to make sure that they were kosher.[124]

  8. The aim of the campaign is not just to lay tefillin with a Jew once and no more, rather he should be so moved and aroused that he will lay tefillin every day.[125]

  9. The Baal Shem Tov said that a soul may descend to this world for no other reason than to do a favor for another Jew. It could be that putting on tefillin once with another Jew was the reason for the descent of one's own soul - who can tell![126]

  10. The Rebbe once said regarding young men who learn in Kollel: when the tefillin campaign was first announced, the intention was not that one should close shop and do mivtzoim all day - but that, instead of taking a rest or reading the papers, one should utilize that time to lay tefillin with another Jew.[127]

  11. The Campaign must be waged joyously and in ways both pleasant and peaceful.[128]

  12. The campaign must be conducted in the spirit of "one mitzvah draws another", that is to say, the act of laying tefillin once will definitely lead to another mitzvah and another mitzvah, ad infinitum.[129]

  13. "Say to a Jew - "Listen,I am not asking you for money - I am not asking you for a favor - I just want you to put on tefillin. Do me a favor, do yourself a favor, do a favor for your parents and grandparents and all your ancestors until our forefather Yaakov, and do a favor for all your children and all generations until Mashiach!"[130]

  14. Sometimes if you ask a Jew to lay tefillin and you tell him of the reward promised in the World to Come, he does not understand. So tell him that laying tefillin is a form of physical protection - for a person should always do a mitzvah, even for the wrong reasons, and eventually he will do it for the correct reasons.[131]

  15. Women may participate in the tefillin Campaign by donating a pair of tefillin for use in the campaign. They may also urge their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons to be involved with the campaign.[132]

  16. A shliach once wrote to the Rebbe to the effect that a certain individual absolutely refused to put on tefillin, and the shliach asked for the Rebbe's advice. The Rebbe replied that he should explain to the man that it is human nature to change one's viewpoint and perspective on many issues after a period of ten years - people change. After a period of ten years, it may be that one's attitude to tefillin will change and what then? - there will only be great upset that tefillin were not laid for the past ten years - this cannot be retrieved. The shliach explained this to the man and the latter agreed to lay tefillin.

    A similar story is told concerning a Holocaust survivor who refused to lay tefillin. The shliach asked the Rebbe how he should reply to him. The Rebbe's advice was that that he should explain to that Jew that by not laying tefillin he was doing exactly what the Nazis (may their name be blotted out) wanted. Upon hearing this, the Jew immediately put on tefillin.[133]



  1. (Back to text) Much of this material has been gleaned from the Sefer Shevach Yikor by R. Shmuel Halevi Hurwitz.

  2. (Back to text) Devarim 6:8; Rambam Sefer HaMitzvos 12,13.

  3. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 37:1. See Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 270.

  4. (Back to text) Tur Orach Chaim 37. The Alter Rebbe explains this in Shulchan Aruch to mean that if on the Day of Judgment, a person's good deeds and bad deeds are equal, the merit of the mitzvah of tefillin will tip the scales for merit.

  5. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 30:1.

  6. (Back to text) But not after sunset. If one forgot to lay tefillin the entire day and one remembered after sunset, at twilight (Bein Hashmoshos) they should be put on without a berachah - Biur Halachah 30 (end).

  7. (Back to text) See Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 168, p. 269, p. 378; Vol. XVIII, p. 254; Vol. XX, p. 99; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 357; Heichal Menachem, p. 236.

  8. (Back to text) Pri Megodim Mishbetzos Zahav 27:6. The Aruch HaShulchan, 27:20 writes that it is of great merit to approach a person whose tefillin are incorrectly positioned and adjust them.

  9. (Back to text) See Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 195.

  10. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 51.

  11. (Back to text) The Bach writes (Orach Chaim 8 and 25 and 625) that the kavannah of this mitzvah is part of the mitzvah. The Rebbe in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 152; Vol. XXXII, p. 141, explains that in the case of tefillin the main part of the mitzvah lies in the kavannah of the mitzvah as he proves from the scriptural verses.

  12. (Back to text) See Sefer HaMaamarim 5718, Maamar Karov.

  13. (Back to text) HaYom Yom, entry for 19 Av.

  14. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:12.

  15. (Back to text) Ibid., 28:9,10.

  16. (Back to text) Devarim 11:18.

  17. (Back to text) Siddur HaRav, Tehillat Hashem Siddur, p. 12.

  18. (Back to text) Ibid.

  19. (Back to text) Ibid.

  20. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:27, Reshimos of year 5703.

  21. (Back to text) Heichal Menachem, Vol. I, p. 210.

  22. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 433; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 356. This was the Rebbe's custom, although apparently the Previous Rebbe had a protective covering which was not cut out, which suggested that the covering was not on the tefillin during the prayers.

  23. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, ibid. Rabbi Y. L. Groner said that the Rebbe placed this protective covering on the tefillin after he finished wrapping the retzuah around the palm, before he put on the tefillin shel rosh. Ashkavta D'Rebbe note 23 writes that this is the minhag of many of Anash.

  24. (Back to text) Shaar HaKavannos of the AriZal; Siddur HaRav.

  25. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 27:12, Siddur HaRav.

  26. (Back to text) Notes of Rebbe Rashab on the Siddur - this was seen clearly on the Rebbe's tefillin.

  27. (Back to text) Notes of Rebbe Rashab on the Siddur. In Ashkavta D'Rebbe it mentions that the Rebbe Rashab used to wind the rest of the retzuah around the palm, tuck it in, and covered the tefillin shel yad with his shirt sleeve, all before he put on the tefillin shel rosh.

  28. (Back to text) This does not constitute a lack of honor for the tefillin for this is necessary to put them on. Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 40:1.

  29. (Back to text) Kaf HaChaim, 40:1. In Ashkavta D'Rebbe it is mentioned that this was the custom of the Rebbe Rashab.

  30. (Back to text) Sefer Mitzvas Tefillin of the Shaloh, p. 211.

  31. (Back to text) Siddur HaRav. The meaning of "between the eyes" is that if from this position one drew a vertical line down, it would pass between the eye balls.

  32. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 27:14.

  33. (Back to text) In a letter to Mr. D. Lent (of Manchester - printed in the teshurah of the wedding of Z. S. Lent, 12th Av 5758), the Rebbe writes: "The location of the tefillin on the head is, of course, explicitly given in the Shulchan Aruch. If you have noticed that a certain person seems to have placed the tefillin lower than the original hairline, it is undoubtedly because the hair of that person had receded, and from the distance it would have been difficult for you to determine actually where the original hairline was. On the other hand, it is also possible that at that particular time the shel rosh had slipped unknowingly to the person, although he usually frequently checks the position with his hand as required by the din."

    See further Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 10:3 who writes that even if a portion of the tefillin are out of place, one has not fulfilled the mitzvah and the blessing has been made in vain.

  34. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 364.

  35. (Back to text) Siddur HaRav. See Kovetz Likkutei Dinim by Rabbi M. Z. Greenglass in the name of the Previous Rebbe, that the top of the knot - the roof of the daled - should be placed above the hole and the bottom of the knot - the foot of the daled - in the hole.

  36. (Back to text) Siddur HaRav.

  37. (Back to text) See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 27:20, 33:6 that the right retzuah should reach the stomach and the left to the breast.

  38. (Back to text) Sefer HaMinhagim.

  39. (Back to text) Notes of Rebbe Rashab on Siddur.

  40. (Back to text) In the notes of the Rebbe Rashab he writes that the two coils on the bottom of the finger should be separate from one another, however the Rebbe was not particular about this and the retzuos were one on top of the other - heard from Rabbi Y. L. Groner - Shevach Yikor, p. 24 note 32.

  41. (Back to text) The Kitzos HaShulchan in his notes at the end of the first volume, wants to say that from the wording of the Siddur the implication is that one actually has to make a knot on the palm, however the Rebbe did not do that; only he tucked the retzuah into the coil so that it should not become loose. Shevach Yikor ibid. note 33.

  42. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 27:19.

  43. (Back to text) Mishnah Berurah 27:38.

  44. (Back to text) See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:23, 30:3; Mishnah Berurah 26:3.

  45. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:32.

  46. (Back to text) Parshas Vaes'chanan.

  47. (Back to text) HaRav 25:6-8.

  48. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:18-20.

  49. (Back to text) Biur Halachah 25; Kitzos HaShulchan 8:9.

  50. (Back to text) Kitzos HaShulchan ibid.

  51. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:23, Siddur HaRav.

  52. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 66:5, Siddur HaRav.

  53. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 66:4.

  54. (Back to text) See Kitzos HaShulchan 8:9.

  55. (Back to text) Siddur HaRav. Although the wording in the Siddur is "it is permitted to answer" however see Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 185, where the Rebbe proves that it is obligatory to answer. See Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 147 that this is an occasion where the Alter Rebbe in Siddur differs from his ruling in Shulchan Aruch (25:21) and we rule in practice like the Siddur for it was the later ruling.

  56. (Back to text) Or on any occasion where the interruption will not cause an additional blessing, such as when one took the tefillin of Rashi off for a few moments with intention to put them back on. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:29.

  57. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:22.

  58. (Back to text) See Kitzos HaShulchan 8:22.

  59. (Back to text) Ashkavta D'Rebbe writes that the Rebbe Rashab used to remove the first four coils.

  60. (Back to text) See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 28:3,5; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 10:20. A left handed person should remove them with his right hand. The removal of the tefillin with the left hand is to indicate that it is difficult to remove the tefillin and so that they should not be removed quickly.

  61. (Back to text) Reshimos of year 5703.

  62. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 28:10. See also Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. IV, p. 1189.

  63. (Back to text) Heichal Menachem, Vol. II, p. 210.

  64. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 28:7. See Shevach Yikor p. 46 note 13 in the name of Rabbi Y. L. Groner that he heard from the Rebbe in the name of the Previous Rebbe that the "wings" should be made on both the shel yad and the shel rosh.

  65. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid. 8. Shevach Yikor ibid., notes that this is how the Rebbe placed the tefillin in the bag.

  66. (Back to text) Aruch HaShulchan, 28:8.

  67. (Back to text) Sefer HaMinhagim. See HaYom Yom, entry for 19 Menachem Av the procedure for those who lay four pairs of tefillin. For those who lay only Rashi's and Rabbeinu Tam's, it is also customary to say the portion of Tehillim as divided into the days of the month in the tefillin of Rashi.

  68. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:38.

  69. (Back to text) Siddur HaRav; Sefer HaMinhagim. See Igros Kodesh, Vol. II, p. 51; Vol. XX, p. 283; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 458.

  70. (Back to text) Me'Asef LeChol HaMachanos 25:136.

  71. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 25:29. For the time period of 2 to 3 hours, see Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 210.

  72. (Back to text) Ibid. 30. See however Kitzos HaShulchan, 8:18.

  73. (Back to text) Hayom Yom, entry for 19 Adar Rishon.

  74. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 131:1.

  75. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 14:10,12.

  76. (Back to text) That is, if they were wrapped, he must wrap them - but not necessarily exactly as they were wrapped when he took them out - Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid. 9.

  77. (Back to text) Ibid.

  78. (Back to text) Mishnah Berurah 14:13.

  79. (Back to text) See Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 378.

  80. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 27:9.

  81. (Back to text) Ibid.

  82. (Back to text) See Kitzos HaShulchan 8:1.

  83. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 94.

  84. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 28:1, Siddur HaRav.

  85. (Back to text) Ibid. 2.

  86. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 38:4, Mishnah Berurah, 38:14.

  87. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 265, Sefer HaMinhagim.

  88. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 265. The Rebbe used to kiss the tefillin with his hand in the following way: He placed his middle three fingers on the shel yad, and then on the shel rosh, he then put his second and fourth fingers on his eyes and then kissed the middle finger - Minhagei Melech.

  89. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 44:2.

  90. (Back to text) Aruch HaShulchan, 40:1.

  91. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 37:2.

  92. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 43:6.

  93. (Back to text) Ibid. 5.

  94. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 40:11, Kitzos HaShulchan 8:15.

  95. (Back to text) See details in Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 44:1.

  96. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 34:1-3. Even according to Rabbeinu Tam, the parshiyos must be written in their order in the Torah, however Vehayah im Shomoa must be placed inside the tefillin before Shema. In the tefillin shel yad, a blank space should be left, and then Shema should be written at the end, and then Vehayah im Shomoa filled in the blank. If any of the parshiyos were mixed up and put in the wrong place the tefillin are invalid both according to Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam.

  97. (Back to text) HaRav 34:4. And although the Alter Rebbe writes that one should only lay Rabbeinu Tam tefillin publicly if one is stringent in all other areas of Halachah, otherwise it would look as if one is being arrogant since everybody else only wears Rashi, however see Birkei Yosef quoted in Shaarei Teshuvah 34:2 who writes that since nowadays many have the custom of wearing Rabbeinu Tam, there is no arrogance attached, and on the contrary, may a blessing be bestowed on all who wear them - Aruch HaShulchan, 34:5. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 507.

  98. (Back to text) Shaar HaKavannos Derush 6 of tefillin. There it is explained that tefillin of Rashi are Mochin D'Imma, and tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam are Mochin D'Abba. See Reshimos on tefillin printed in Kfar Chabad No. 820.

  99. (Back to text) See Sefer HaSichos 5749, Vol. 2 p. 632; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 507. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVI, p. 404 where the Rebbe explains that the aim of the mitzvah of tefillin is to subjugate the mind and heart to Hashem, and in this dark (spiritually) period where a double illumination is necessary it is correct that all should wear the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam. In a letter - Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 80, the Rebbe writes that putting on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin will add long life. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 442.

  100. (Back to text) And one finishes "A-donai Elokeichem Emes" and it is not necessary to repeat the words "Ani A-donai Elokeichem" - HaYom Yom, Sefer HaMinhagim.

  101. (Back to text) Sefer HaMinhagim.

  102. (Back to text) See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 358.

  103. (Back to text) For anything related to the tefillin - such as a question, "what should I do if I have put on Rabbeinu Tam's before Rashi?" - is not considered an interruption.

  104. (Back to text) Shevach Yikor p. 55 and footnotes 15-18.

  105. (Back to text) Ibid.

  106. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch Melachim p. 338.

  107. (Back to text) Os Chaim 28:3.

  108. (Back to text) Mishnah Berurah 34:20.

  109. (Back to text) Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 358-9; Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 8; Vol. XVI, p. 80.

  110. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 310,314; Vol. VIII, p. 36; Vol. XVI, p. 18.

  111. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 39:11. See however the Chayei Adam 14:20 who writes that tefillin which are worn daily should also be checked twice in seven years.

  112. (Back to text) Rav ibid.

  113. (Back to text) Sefer HaSichos 5748, Vol. 2 p. 610.

  114. (Back to text) Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 10:11.

  115. (Back to text) Ibid.

  116. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 306. See also Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 251 - what to do in case of a conflict between large tefillin and correct positioning. See also Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 510 that the height of the tefillin should be the same as their length.

  117. (Back to text) Shiurei Torah of R. C. Noeh p. 274. Care should be taken that the retzuah that enters the bayis should also be the correct size.

  118. (Back to text) See for example; Heichal Menachem, Vol. 1, p. 138; Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 301.

  119. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 240.

  120. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. I, p. 103.

  121. (Back to text) Quoted in many Igros Kodesh.

  122. (Back to text) Quoted in many Igros Kodesh, see for example Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 168.

  123. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 70.

  124. (Back to text) See for example, Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 105; Vol. XII, p. 57; Vol. XV, p. 114.

  125. (Back to text) Sefer Hisvaadiyos 5744, p. 2493.

  126. (Back to text) Sichos Kodesh 5741, Parshas Yisro, p. 302.

  127. (Back to text) Heichal Menachem, Vol. I, p. 228.

  128. (Back to text) Sefer Hisvaaduyos 5744, p. 756; Sichos Kodesh 5741, p. 287.

  129. (Back to text) Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 226.

  130. (Back to text) Sichah of Shabbos Parshas Pinchos 5710 printed in Torah Menachem, Vol. I, p. 146; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, p. 481.

  131. (Back to text) Sefer Hisvaadiyos 5742, p. 1809.

  132. (Back to text) Sichah 19 Kislev 5728.

  133. (Back to text) Sefer Tefillin and Bar Mitzvah by Z. Riterman p. 213.

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