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Is it permissible to keep the plastic shel yad cover on semi-permanently and make the blessing on the shel yad like that? Considering that there is a small opening in the plastic cover, would it be okay to make a bracha over it in this condition and therefore never have to take it off?

  • possible duplicate of Why does the Tefilin Shel Yad have a protective cover? – DanF Sep 24 '14 at 15:52
  • I saw that post already not a duplicate b/c asking for original blessing for tefillin shel yad while putting it on – code613 Sep 24 '14 at 15:57
  • Why would you think that you can't make the bracha? – MTL Sep 24 '14 at 16:40
  • why does anyone ever take it off (if it's a protective cover) if you truly can make the bracha with it on? – code613 Sep 24 '14 at 16:49
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    Why not?....... – kouty Jun 17 '18 at 14:35
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Rav Ovadia Yosef in שו"ת יביע אומר חלק ח' חלק אורח חיים סימן ד and his son summarized in ילקוט יוסף סימן כה סעיף פד that one should remove the plastic/cardboard cover before making the Bracha, out of respect for the Mitzvah.

Here's the original of the Yalkut Yosef:

פד: בשעת הברכה וההנחה של תפילין של יד, יש לדקדק להסיר הקופסא שעל התפילין, באופן שתהיה התפלה מגולה, שמשום כבוד המצוה וחיבתה בודאי שצריך שגם התפלה של יד תהיה כמו שהיא במתכונתה בלי שום כיסוי, ורק אחרי הנחת התפילין יש לסמוך להקל בהנחת הכיסוי כדי שלא יתקלקל הריבוע של התפלה מפני דוחק השרוול שעליה. [אך מנהג מרן אאמו''ר שליט''א שלא ליתן הכיסוי על התפילין כלל]. [תוס' מנחות לה. הרא''ש הל' תפילין סי' ז'. ילקו''י על הלכות תפילין מהדורת תשס''ד, סימן כה הערה פג. שארית יוסף ח''א עמוד שסג]. ‏

He actually mentions that Rav Ovadia himself didn't use this plastic cover.

Hat tip to this page for the sources.

This site brings another source:

Rav Yehuda Leib Tzirelson, chief rabbi of Bessarabia (Responsa Ma’archei Lev, Orach Chayim 1), ruled that one should remove the shel yad’s cover before making the berachah “leha’niach tefillin” so that one is making the berachah over the shel yad in its natural, pristine condition. It is a sign of kavod for the shel yad. After the berachah, he writes, one may cover the shel yad to protect its corners from becoming worn out if one wishes to do so.

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R Aharon E Marcus in his Halacha 24/7/12 writes (pp. 34-35)

You do not need to take the little black box off before you say the beracha, but there are those who write that it is preferable (R Yaakov Kamenetsky and R Shlomo Zalman Auerbach were particular about this).

Interestingly, Tfilin Beth-El, a well-known tefilin factory in Israel, has created Kisu Yad to address exactly this issue. It is a "corner protector" that doesn't cover the entire bayit. They write explicitly

According to R Asher Weiss, the Kisu Yad is a hiddur mitzvah and a worthy innovation. This simple, patented device offers a solution for the issue of "roeh es ha'avir" (see Sanhedrin 89a). R Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l held that one should remove the plastic cover when reciting the brachah, but upon seeing the Kisu Yad remarked, "You don't even have to remove it when you say Birkat Tefillin."

(see also the haskamot in the second paragraph here)

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