Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I understand that there are two types of tefillin, the standard Rashi, and Rabbeinu Tam's. How do they actually differ in construction and in makeup? I have heard that the scriptural passages are arranged differently, but are there any other differences?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The main difference between them is the order of the passages: whether "Sh'ma" appears before (Rashi) or after (Rabenu Tam) "V'haya im shamoa". An additional difference is that, in the head t'fila, the parchment containing "V'haya im shamoa" is wrapped in a hair that sticks out the front of the t'fila, and where that sticks out identifies at a glance the order of the passages within.

Source: e.g., Rabbi Shimon Eider.

share|improve this answer
The order of the parshiyot in the shel yad and shel rosh are identical in both types of tfillin. Note that the parshiyot have to be written in the order written in the Torah, so in the shel yad the sofer writes Kadesh and V'haya ki y'vi'acha, leaves a section blank, writes Shma, and then in the blank space writes V'haya im shamo'a. – JXG Jul 21 '11 at 13:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.