I sometimes see on the net and in person cases where people wear retzuot which are black on both sides, what is the rationale, if any, for doing so?

  • Given modern painting techniques, it may be actually easier to apply the black lacquer that way. It is certainly kosher at any rate. – Tatpurusha Mar 25 '14 at 3:22
  • I am aware of that, although typically they cost more, so I'm not sure. – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 25 '14 at 3:51
  • You never have to worry about them flipping around. Also usually they are fully soaked through so the paint never chips away, leaving behind a white spot. The Rambam thought double black retzuot were mehudar. – Double AA Mar 25 '14 at 4:37
  • likely, I couldn't find that question though. – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 25 '14 at 15:32

The rationale behind this is that if the straps turn over, the black will still show. Call it Frum marketing. See Mishnah Berurah 33:21 and Ohr Zaruah 564 - this is the view of Rambam, though we don't accustom ourselves to do this!

The Shevet Halevi 9:16 disapproved - none of the Gedolim did this until now!

Kikar Shabbat reports that R' Eliashiv refused to get them, fearing that others would say that was all he approved of:


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The Rambam Hilchos Teffilin 3:14 writes:

הרצועות של תפילין בין של ראש בין של יד פניהם החיצונים שחורים וזו הלכה למשה מסיני. אבל אחורי הרצועות הואיל ומבפנים הן אם היו ירוקות או לבנות כשרות. אדומות לא יעשה שמא תהפך הרצועה וגנאי הוא לו. ולא יהיה אחורי הרצועה לעולם אלא כעין הקציצה אם ירוקה ירוקין ואם לבנה לבנים. ונוי הוא לתפילין שיהיו כולן שחורות הקציצה והרצועה כולה:

" it is a beautification for the teffilin to be completely black the ketitzah and the strap."

However see here for the Shu"t Haradvaz: http://hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=52460&rid=799

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