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Tefillin wearing checklist [Chabad custom]
- Immerse in a mikvah. This especially applies if one is a Baal Keri. [Hiddur]
- Some are accustomed to wash the skin and hair of the head and bicep before putting on Tefillin to remove any Chatzitza’s. [Hiddur]
- One is to be very careful not to wear Tefillin with wet hair, whether due to water or sweat. One who sweats a lot on his way to Shul should preferably use a towel to dry his hair prior to putting on his Tefillin.
- Say the prayers of morning Brachos and Karbanos until the paragraphs of Eizeu Mikoman. [Chabad custom]
- When putting on early in the morning, make sure that it is past the time of Mi Sheyakir. [Law]
- According to the Zohar one is to put on the Tallis and Tefillin at home prior to walking to Shul, or in an adjacent room of the main sanctuary and only then to enter the Shul. Many are accustomed to do like this latter approach. [Law of Kabbalah]
- Those who wear a Tallis Gadol are to put it on before putting on the Tefillin. [Law]
- Some are accustomed to study chapter 41 in Tanya before putting on the Tefillin. [See Halacha 9]
- Intend to fulfill the Mitzvah of G-d by wearing the Tefillin. [Law]
- Verbalize, or/and contemplate the particular intent that one should have when wearing Tefillin, as printed in the Shulchan Aruch/Siddur. [Law; See Halacha 9]
Tefillin Shel Yad
- Roll up the sleeves of your Tefillin arm in a way that it will give enough room for the Shel Yad to rest in its proper area, without any Chatzitza. [Law] There is no need to wash one’s hands after doing so even if he touched his bicep.
- Make sure that there are no other Chatzitzas by the bicep area and verify that there is no Chatzitza on the head, in the area that the Tefillin Shel Rosh will rest. [Law]
- Remove your watch or wristband from your Tefillin arm. [Hiddur]
- Use your hand to gently remove the Shel Yad [not shaking it out]. Do not remove the Shel Rosh from the bag until the Shel Yad is wrapped on the forearm and palm. [Law]
- Unwrap the Tefillin and remove the plastic protective covering from the Shel Yad. [Chumra and custom of Chabad Rebbes]
- Kiss the Tefillin. Many also kiss the Yud of the Tefillin. [Custom]
- Stand up while putting on the Tefillin. [Law for Ashkenazim]
- Position the Shel Yad onto your bicep, at least 4 centimeters above the crease of your elbow, and no higher than the halfway point between your elbow and shoulder. [Law]
- The Tefillin is to be facing inwards towards your heart. [Law]
- Make sure that the strap which protrudes from the Yud extends at least one centimeter in its entirety.
- Many Chabad Chassidim have a tradition to open the loop of the knot of the Yud prior to the blessing and then fasten it after the blessing. [Chabad custom]
- Prepare for the wrapping by taking hold of the strap.
- Say the blessing of:“Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Lehuniach Tefillin,” making sure to emphasize the kamatz under the word Lehuniach and not with a Patach as “Lehaniach. [Law]
- Have in mind to include the Tefillin Shel Rosh upon saying the blessing of Lehaniach. [Law]
- Cover the Tefillin Shel Yad using the Tallis [or jacket] from prior to saying the blessing of Lehaniach Tefillin, until its conclusion. [Kabbalah and Chabad custom]
- From this point and onwards, do not talk, or make any gestures, until the Shel Rosh is worn [Law] and one is finished wrapping and tying the straps around the fingers and palm. [Chumra]
- Those Chabad Chassidim who have a tradition to open the loop prior to the blessing, are now to fasten and close the loop. [Chabad custom]
- One is to now wrap the strap around the bicep 2 times, thus forming a Shin by the bicep. [Chabad custom]
- One is to make sure that the Yud is touching the actual Bayis of the Shel Yad. If necessary, one can bind the strap around the Yud and the Bayis for this purpose. [Law]
- Stretch the strap to the start of the forearm, below the elbow, and make a half circle wrap on the forearm, and then two full circles around the forearm. Make a space and wrap another four full circles around the forearm, and then another half circle by the area of the forearm which leads to the wrist. The other half is wrapped over the wrist in a diagonal fashion. [Chabad custom]
- Make sure that the straps on the forearm do not touch or overlap. [Hiddur and Custom]
- Make the form of a Daled around the back of the hand. [Chabad custom]
- Wrap the remainder of the strap around the palm. [Custom]
- Some are accustomed to place the plastic covering back onto the Shel Yad at this point. [Custom of Rebbe] The Rebbe Rashab was particular to cover the Shel Yad with his sleeve before putting on the Shel Rosh. According to all, however, it is forbidden to take time to place a long shirt or sweater sleeve over one’s forearm, for the sake of warmth.
Tefillin Shel Rosh
- Remove the Tefillin Shel Rosh from the bag and unwrap it from its case.
- Some look at the two Shin’s of the Shel Rosh. [Kabbalah]
- Kiss the Tefillin. Many also kiss the Daled of the Tefillin. [Custom]
- Take hold of the Tefillin through holding onto the Bayis and not the straps. [Chumra] Some approximate the Daled to the Mabarta of the Tefillin, and put it on the head in this position. After the Bayis rests on the front of the head, they then bring the Daled to the back of the head. [Rebbe Rashab] Others hold the knot of the Daled in the right hand and the Bayis in the left hand, and put it on to the head in this position. They first place the knot of the Daled in its proper place behind the head, and only then place the Bayis by the front of the head.
- No blessing is said over the Shel Rosh. [Sephardi and Chabad custom] However, if one spoke of matters unrelated to the Tefillin, or answered Amen, or to Barchu or Kedusha, recite the blessing of Al Mitzvas Tefillin over the Shel Rosh. One is to loosely place the Tefillin over his head, then say the blessing, and then tighten its grasp to one’s head. [Law]
- Rest the Bayis of the Shel Rosh exactly in the horizontal middle of one’s head, starting from the beginning of one’s hairline. No part of the Tefillin may rest below the hairline. [Law]
- Rest the knot of the Daled towards the end of the skull, in the area that contains hair, at the exact horizontal center, [and not swayed to the right or left of the center of the skull]. [Law] The upper half of the Daled is to be placed on the bone of the skull while the lower half by the nape under the skull. [Chabad custom] No part of the knot should rest below the hairline at the back of the neck. [Law]
- Tightly fasten the straps onto one’s skull. [Law] Make sure that there are no Chatzitza’s under the Bayis or straps [i.e. your Yarmulka].
- Verify the proper position of the Shel Rosh by using a mirror, motioning to a friend, or through estimation. [Custom]
- Dangle the right and left straps of the Shel Rosh over the chest. [Law]
- The straps are to their black side facing up. [Hiddur]
- One is to beware that the straps of the Shel Rosh do not drag on the floor. For this reason, some are accustomed to tuck the straps into the belt in order to prevent it from touching the floor. This is not the Chabad custom.
Tefillin Shel Yad-Palm
- While still standing, take hold of the strap of the Shel Yad, and unwind it from the palm, although leaving a single wrapping around it to form a Daled shape on the back of the hand. [Chabad custom]
- Wrap it three times around the middle finger. First wrap one time on the bottom joint of the middle finger, and then one time on the middle joint of the middle finger and then once again one time on the bottom joint of the middle finger. [Law] The two wrappings on the bottom part of the middle finger are not to overlap. However, the Rebbe was accustomed to wrap them in a way that they overlapped.
- Wrap the remainder of the strap around the palm.
- Tie the end of the strap by inserting it under the straps that are wrapped around the Palm, until it is well fastened. [Law]
- One may now talk regularly.
- The widespread Chabad custom of previous times was to cover the Tefillin Shel Yad with the sleeve, and so was the custom of the Rebbe Rashab, and so is the custom of many Chassidim even today.
Removing the Tefillin
- The Chabad custom is not to remove the Tefillin until after the Kaddish which is said after Tehillim. At the very least, it should not be removed until after the Kaddish that is said after Uva Letziyon.
- One stands while unwrapping the straps from the hand and while removing the head Tefillin. [Law] The hand Tefillin is also to be removed in a standing position.
- One first unwraps the Shel Yad straps from the hand/palm, and only then removes the Shel Rosh. [Custom] The Rebbe Rashab would also first remove several straps from the forearm.
- One is to remove the Shel Rosh with the left hand. A lefty should use his right, and weaker, hand, to remove his head Tefillin. [Law]
- Look at the two Shin’s of the Shel Rosh. [Hiddur of Kabbalah]
- Kiss the head Tefillin prior to placing it back in its case. Some also kiss the Daled. [Custom]
- The Daled of the Shel Rosh is to be placed on top of the Mabarta area of the case and not under it.
- Wrap the strap around the Batim and not the Batim around the strap.
- Wrap the straps on the two sides of the Tefillin like the wings of a dove, by both the Shel Yad and Shel Rosh. [Chabad custom]
- Some do not remove the hand Tefillin until the head Tefillin is properly wrapped and inserted into the bag. The Chabad custom is not to be particular in this matter.
- Remove the Shel Yad, kiss it, and enter it into its case, wrapping it as stated above.
- One is to make sure that the Yud is approximated to the actual Bayis through the hole in the case.
- Place the head Tefillin on the right side of the bag and the hand Tefillin on the left side of the bag. [Custom]
Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam
- After the completion of Shacharis and the recital of Tehillim wear the Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam. Initially, it is proper to put it on in close approximation to the Davening.
- A blessing is not recited. [Law]
- Many Chabad Chassidim have a tradition to open the loop of the knot of the Yud prior to the wrapping and then fasten it. [Chabad custom]
- Remove the plastic protective covering from the Shel Yad. [Chumra and custom of Chabad Rebbes]
- Some are accustomed to place the plastic covering back onto the Shel Yad after finishing the wrapping of the forearm, prior to putting on the head Tefillin. [Custom of Rebbe] The Rebbe Rashab was particular to cover the Shel Yad with his sleeve before putting on the Shel Rosh. According to all, however, it is forbidden to take time to place a long shirt or sweater sleeve over one’s forearm, for the sake of warmth.
- Do not speak between wearing the Tefillin Shel Yad and Shel Rosh of Rabbeinu Tam even though a blessing is not said. One may answer Amen in between the wearing of the Shel Yad and Shel Rosh. However, one may not answer Baruch Hu Ubaruch Shemo in-between.
- Recite all three paragraphs of Shema, including Vayomer, without repeating Hashem Elokeichem Emes in its conclusion. One is to also read the paragraphs of Kadeish and Vehayah Ki Yiviacha. One is to try to learn Torah for about an hour while wearing the Tefillin.
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