The outline of the tefillin on the hand, to me, seems to form the letter lamed, reversed for a righty and a forwards lamed for a lefty, shown below.

Shape of lamed in (lefty) hand tefillin

Yes, there are traditions of forming shin on the arm, or in the winding around the palm, and the rosh and yad knots have their letters, but I've not found anything about a perceived lamed. Is this simply an example of pareidolia, like seeing a face in the moon, or is there intent in this? Thanks for any help satisfying my curiosity.

  • Some rishonim describe a Lamed as a Dalet with a tower on top. It wouldn't be surprising to see a Dalet in the tefillin straps.
    – Double AA
    Dec 14, 2020 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


If I recall correctly, the photo you show is the way CHABAD wraps the tefillin on the hand. What you perceive as a Lamid is actually a Daled. CHABAD (and I'm sure many others as well), form the 3 letters of Hashem's name (Shin- Daled and then a Yud) on the arm/hand. The Shin is wrapped at the top, three twirls around the base of the tefllin shel yad, the Daled as per your picture and then the Yud is the ring around the finger.

They also spell the same SHAIM when wrapping the tefillin away in the boxes. On the shel yad box the strap is wrapped so that a Shin is formed on the bottom of the box (sorry, I don't have a picture to show). Also the wrapping on the Shel Rosh has a Daled formed on the bottom of the box. The Yud is the knot of the Shel Yad.

I would also like to add that I remember something about the letters of that SHAIM being elsewhere on the tefillin.

The Shin is the wrapping around the shel yad base. The Daled is the knot at the base of the neck on the shel rosh (different minhagim for how this knot is made), and the Yud is the knot of the Shel Yad. So many configurations. I would need to look in either the Rav Shulchan Aruch or find a Minhagai Chabad sefer to jolt my memory. Just thought this might help (or confuse even more), with this subject. A Freilichin Lichtige Chanukah.

  • i have never seen people put away the tefillin the way you describe (where it forms the שם). to be fair i never paid much attention when i was in chabad but i was taught by rabbis to wrap the shel rosh with the knot either on top or under the box and the straps on both sides, then the shel yad the strap over the maabarta around the bayis and wrapped all on the side opposite the knot
    – ezra
    Jan 8, 2022 at 23:37

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