Shulchan Orech 32:44 discusses the hair which is used to bind the parchments in the Tefillin.

Rav Moshe Isserles says: "the custom is to bind hair on the parsha and then bind on that kosher parchment and then bind on that hair. And the custom is to use calf-hair and if one doesn't find calf-hair then one uses cow or ox hair and one washes the hair very well so that it is clean. Some of this hair should be seen outside the Tefillin-boxes."

Rav Aryeh Kaplan in "Tefillin" in the beginning of the chapter "By a Hair" says that there are four hairs which come out of the base of the head-tefillin. [for Rashi tefillin] Does anyone know his source that there should be specifically four?

The commentaries that I saw seem to discuss the length of the hairs and the location of the hairs, but not the number.

I looked at my own Tefillin and there are indeed four hairs. But I looked at other people's and there seem to be differing numbers of hairs.

  • In your heading you ask how many hairs and in the body of question you ask source for 4. I answered the required amount, but regarding 4 I did not . I am unsure what you wanted a source for an amount or just specifically for the 4.
    – sam
    Jul 8, 2019 at 21:50
  • @sam. In retrospect the title should have been "source for 4 hairs" but out of deference to your fantastic answer I will perhaps leave it as it is...
    – gordon613
    Jul 9, 2019 at 4:58
  • @Double AA Do you (or anyone else here) know why the calf's hair that protrudes out of the Shel Rosh, is dafka the one that binds the parashah of "והיה עם שמוע"? Feb 23, 2023 at 10:55
  • @יואלאליצור I'd wager no one here does, since it's some esoteric kabbalistic reason.
    – Double AA
    Feb 23, 2023 at 14:04
  • @DoubleAA How do you know it is based on "some esoteric kabbalistic reason"? Feb 26, 2023 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


Rav Chaim Kanievsky was asked this in Daas Noteh pg.298. He was asked if one needs to be makpid to davka leave out one hair and not more since the Shulchan Aruch uses the language of hair and not hairs. Rav Chaim answered there is no kapeida,and one can do more and in fact the minhag is for the Sofrim to put more out. So from the strict reading of the Zohar which is source for this one hair is what is written .

The Zichron Eliyahu seems to hold that it is correct to have both the hair wrapped around the parsha and the hair wrapped around the klaf (which is around the parsha) to stick out so that will be more than one hair.

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  • Thank you very much! So if I am medayek your answer then it seems that there is no known source for specifically four hairs
    – gordon613
    Jul 10, 2019 at 19:17

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