This is a tad embarrassing, given that I've been wearing tefillin for decades, but I've always had trouble wrapping the retzuot around the battim when putting away tefillin. Quite frankly, I've taken to putting the tefillin in my bag without wrapping the retzuot up, which I'm worried will be bad for them.

Does anyone have easy instructions (preferably with pictures) on how to properly wrap up the retzuot after using tefillin? I personally own Ashkenazi Tefillin Mehadrin (for lefties; wrapping "out"), if that affects the answer.

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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22403/759 – Double AA Dec 11 '14 at 22:14
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    The best option is to find the opinions that one should not wrap the straps around the battim and then claim your ineptitude is actually a chumra. This way of living works wonders for many:) – user6591 Dec 12 '14 at 1:51
  • @user6591 do you know which poskim hold like that? – user5540 Dec 12 '14 at 2:43
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    @eliyahu-g the simple reading of the magen avraham in siman 28 #4 says not to wrap the retzuos on the teffilin. The Mishna assumes this means not to wrap on the battim, the square part with the parshos, but one may wrap on the titura, the base that protrudes all around on the bottom, like what it seems most people do. However, many people from Europe, some Roshei Yeshiva that i have seen included, never wrapped the retzuos even on the titura. Instead they wrapped the retzuos around itself into a ball, and placed the tefilin in the bag like that. – user6591 Dec 12 '14 at 4:55
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    ^^^Was supposed to say mishna berurah. And he probably got the idea from the shulchan aruch harav who says as well one may wrap on the sides – user6591 Dec 12 '14 at 5:03

I just made a video of how I wrap up my tefillin, on Youtube.


It shows how I do it as well as some more well-known ways that the shel yad is wrapped.

  • Great answer! The video was very very helpful... I'm looking forward to doing this tomorrow morning (I tried it tonight but it will be cooler when I actually do it after having worn them) – user5540 Dec 12 '14 at 2:45
  • Which method did you use, @eliyahu-g? The ש one or the normal one? – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 12 '14 at 2:53
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    I preferred the normal one – user5540 Dec 12 '14 at 3:55
  • Yeah, I'm the only person I know of who does the ש one, because I did it once when I didn't have cases (so that I could protect the ketzitzah with the retzuot) and it just kind of stuck. – Noach MiFrankfurt Dec 12 '14 at 4:12

I don't quite have the ability to upload pictures, so I hope I can describe this well.

First I recommend that you put the cover on the tefillin first before wrapping, esp. if you have a box that goes encases the entire bayit, not just the square box.

In my description, I refer to the "box" meaning the part containing the parchment, and the "ledge" as the extra part on the sides of the box.

The rosh - Take the knot & push it up to the middle of the underside (white side) of the bayit. Take the 2 ends of the knot "loop" (for fitting around the head) and fold them on the front (black side in front of the box) one on top of the other on the ledge in front of the box. Then wind each strap on each side of the box (Part of the folded loop will hang on each of the sides. The winding will hold the folded loop parts in place.

The yad - Tighten the loop as much as possible until the knot is flush against the side of the bayit. Wrap about half the strap length on the front ledge of the box (black side). Rotate the box to either the right or left (your choice) and wind the rest on the side ledge of the box. Finally tuck any remaining strap under the last wound strap "pile".

I admit, the very last step is somewhat tricky, but it can be done without the yad strap unraveling. You may need to do this a few times until the strap develops its own "fold" so it "knows" it's there (like new shoes, l'havdil. You have to "break them in".)

I hope the written description hasn't confused you. If I can get pics, I'll try to edit this.

  • That's almost exactly what I do. I don't usually do the last step on the yad. One custom a friend taught me is to make 9 wrappings on each side of the yad. For my particular tefillin, it happens to work. He calls it chai wrapping. – Charles Koppelman Dec 11 '14 at 22:32
  • I wrap all my Yad strap on one side to avoid judaism.stackexchange.com/q/48368/759 – Double AA Dec 11 '14 at 22:40

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