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How do I wrap the Head Tefillin around its box?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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There is no one way in which it must be done; technically speaking you can wrap it around the box any way you want.

Some people have a custom to put the knot up against the back wall, fold the loop under the box to each side, and than wrap the two straps around each side of the box respectively, forming makeshift dove's wings (you might think of it as the tracks on an army tank).

Elisha risked his life to wear his Tefillin
This custom is to remember a story in the Talmud1 where a Jew by the name of Elisha risked his life to wear his Tefillin despite the Roman decree prohibiting Tefillin. One day a Roman soldier spotted Elisha with his Tefillin and took chase. When he finally caught up to Elisha the latter had put the Head Tefillin in his hand. The soldier asked Elisha what was in his hands. Elisha responded "dove's wings". The solider ordered Elisha to open his hands, and sure enough miraculously his Tefillin had turned into dove's wings.

Footnotes

  • 1. Tractate Shabbat 49a

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Bar/Bat Mitzvah » Tefillin

Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Tefillin
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.