How to Put on Tefillin

Written by samantha hanly
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How to Put on Tefillin
Tefillin (

Observant Jewish men wear tefillin during morning prayers. Tefillin are never worn at night. Tefillin consist of one box (shel yad) strapped onto the hand, and the another box (shel rosh) strapped onto the head. Inside the boxes are holy scrolls containing Hebrew prayers from the Torah. Tefillin are holy objects and are treated with great care. The boxes themselves are kept in larger, protective boxes and then both are often kept in a velvet bag. While wearing tefillin, Jews are required to think only about God and their prayers and not let their thoughts wander.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Shel yad will be strapped onto the hand; shel rosh onto the head. Stand. While you may sit while wearing tefillin, you must be standing while donning or removing them. Open the bag or box in which you keep your tefillin, and remove the shel yad. Unwrap the straps and take the bayis, or small box, out of the larger box.

  2. 2

    Shel yad is strapped on first. If you are right handed, you will strap tefillin onto your left hand. If you are left handed, you will strap tefillin onto your right hand. Open the loop under the bayis wide and put your arm through. Place the bayis on the centre of your bicep.

  3. 3

    Recite the first blessing. After you recite the first blessing, you must not talk until later in this process. First Blessing: "Blessed are You Hashem, King of the universe, Who has made us holy through His commandments, and commanded us to put on tefillin."

  4. 4

    Tighten the loop. Wrap the strap once around your bicep, seven times around your lower arm spiralling down to your wrist, and wrap the remaining strap around your palm.

  5. 5

    Remove shel rosh from the bag, unwrap straps, and take the bayis out of the box. Place the bayis just above your hairline in the middle of your forehead. The strap should be hanging loose on either side, and the knot should be behind your head, just above your neck.

  6. 6

    Recite the second blessing: "Blessed are You Hashem, King of the universe, Who has made us holy through His commandments, and commanded us concerning the Mitzvah of tefillin."

  7. 7

    Pull the straps at either side of your head, and behind your head, to tighten them. Recite: "Blessed is his name, whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever. From Your Wisdom you, O supreme God, may you imbue me; From your understanding give me understanding; with your kindness do greatly with me; with your power cut down my foes and rebels. May you pour goodly oil upon the seven arms of the menorah, to cause your good to flow to your creatures. May you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing."

  8. 8

    Finish the hand. Unwrap excess strap from around your hand. From the wrist, bring the strap between your forefinger and thumb, down to under the middle finger. Wrap once around the top of the middle finger, and twice around the bottom of the middle finger. While wrapping around the bottom of the middle finger, recite:

    "I will betroth you to me forever, and I will betroth you to me with righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy. I will betroth you to me with fidelity, and you shall know Hashem."

  9. 9

    Loop the strap around the fourth finger and up around your hand between thumb and forefinger. Keep wrapping around the palm until you have two or three inches left, and tie in your palm to hold the strap firm. You are now allowed to talk again. You are now ready to daven!

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