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I have wondered for some time about certain elements of Chabad minhagim re. tefillin, so here goes:

  • What is the origin of their kesher shel yad? (asked elsewhere)
  • When was it decided that they should be huge (4x4cm or larger)
  • Why must they be mikshah (made of one piece)?
  • Why is their ש different from both the Arizal ש and the written form of the Alter Rebbe ש? What is the source for this?

I'm sure there are other concerns which I have missed, but these are the main factors which make them unique, in my opinion.

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    Guess you've never looked at the letters inside:) – user6591 Dec 7 '14 at 16:48
  • @user6591 raises a good point -- I've heard that they get extra big boxes so that they could have extra big lettering inside, which is harder to mess up on. – Shokhet Dec 7 '14 at 16:51
  • @Shokhet I actually meant that the people who raise issues with the chabad tephilin usually focus on the lettering, somehow convincing themselves that the letters are passul. The most famous is their tzadik but that is fight pushed by sinass chunum, imho. The real issue is the disputed ches in 'the rebbes' which many even amongst the Lubavitch concider passul In one of its forms. It just saddens me in general that so many of ids find ourselves wondering about other people's religious practices without having a basic understanding of our own. – user6591 Dec 7 '14 at 18:19
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    @user6591 I actually have no clue what you're talking about now. – Shokhet Dec 7 '14 at 18:47
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  1. R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes 32:63: והגאונים אמרו שהבתים של ראש צריך להיות אצבעים על אצבעים לכתחילה ואם פיחת לא פסל The Gaonim (The Shimusha Rabba) writes that the Battim have to be two fingers by two fingers Lechatchila, but if they're smaller they're not Passul.

  2. R' Shenur Zalman of Liadi writes 32:58: ד' בתים של ראש צריכים להיות מעור אחד שנאמר ולזכרון בין עיניך זכרון אחד אמרתי לך ולא ב' וג' זכרונות וחתיכות עור תפורים יחד חשובים כעור אחד (וה"ה אם הם דבוקים בדב) ומכל מקום טוב ונכון לעשותם מעור אחד ממשתסח שנוטלין עור עגל הרך ומכניסין אותו בחריצי הדפוס ומניחין אותו כך עד שיתייבש ונוטלין הדפוס מתוכו ונמצאו הבתים עשוים מאליהם:‏

    So we see that the Bais should be from one piece of leather as it says "it will be as a remembrance", one remembrance and not two. Technically, one can glue pieces together, but it's not recommended.

  • The shiur of the Shimushah Rabbah is for his shittah, IIRC. Also, what about tefillin in the days before gassot were available? Unless you have an extra-long flap on the bottom of the titura which you fold several times, you will be physically incapable of making a mikshah bayit. (If on the other hand, one holds like the majority, then you can glue a filler piece to the titura, which counts as the same ohr, as it is not used in the ketzitzah or the ma'abarta. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 20 '15 at 12:10
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    Gut Woch, R' Shmuel. Would you mind expanding your answer and adding further translation for the benefit of any whose Hebrew is insufficient for reading Shu"'A haRav? FWIW, I can understand it, once I get past the weird SE formatting for RTL text – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 11 '16 at 4:57

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