In the picture below, you see a grate-like engraving with holes on the bottom half.

Why are most (at least from the ones I've come across) tefillin boxes shaped like this (the grate-like structure)?

And what is the purpose of the holes (especially since many people have mirrors installed in the bottom of their box - by the tefillin company - which blocks the hole entirely)?

enter image description here

  • 6
    I assume it is to let it "breathe" and not trap humidity (and thereby avoid problems such as mold, warping, etc.). As for the mirrors, those are probably installed post manufacture by those that assume the benefit (or market demand) outweighs the benefit/demand for the vents. Jul 19, 2022 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


"Gassot," the more common battim in most Orthodox communities (in my experience) are produced from a material analogous to rawhide. Unlike leather, it is much stiffer when dry, but is prone to damage when wet. Since it could either warp or rot, the cases for the battim often have perforations in the bottom to let the tefillin breathe.

"Dakkot" and "peshutim" are made from thinner parchment, so the risk may actually be greater, although I would have to ask a specialist.

  • 1
    Basically, always buy Gassot.
    – N.T.
    Jul 20, 2022 at 0:44
  • @N.T., if they're within your budget, then definitely Jul 20, 2022 at 15:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .