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Which mitzvahs does a left-handed person do differently?

by Rabbi Ari Shishler


Library » Mitzvot » Tefillin | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The rules for a lefty are simple:

  • A left-handed male wears Tefillin on his right arm. The Torah insinuates that Tefillin go on your weaker arm.
  • Every person, regardless of hand-dominance, washes his or her hands in the morning, before prayer and for bread, starting with the right hand.
  • If a person is honored to carry the Torah, he should carry it against his right shoulder. This is because Torah was given from G-d’s “right side”.1
  • A left-handed person uses his/her left hand for any other Mitzvah (that would normally be performed with the right hand, e.g. holding a Lulav or giving charity).


  • 1. See Deuteronomy 33:2.


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Life Cycle » Bar/Bat Mitzvah » Tefillin
Mitzvot » What are they?

(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
A palm branch. One of the Four Species we are required to take on the holiday of Sukkot. We shake it together with a citron, myrtle, and willow.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.