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When I was a child, I saw that all people had the same knot on their Tefillin Shel Rosh - a Double Daled (Ashkenazi community).

Recently I saw a comment that even those who grew up with a Double Daled, and even if their Father's minhag was a Double Daled, that they should all switch to a Single Daled.

My questions are:

  1. What are the sources for this, if any?
  2. Why is the Single Daled supposed to be "better"? Is this only for Kabbalistic reasons, or is there a real Halachic reason for this?
  3. Are these poskim who require this change in minhag correct to do so?
  4. Are there any Ashkenazi Poskim and/or Groups today that specifically say that a Double Daled is preferable?
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    I heard that there are detailed instructions for tying the shel rosh knot in [I forget if it was the Tur, the Mechaber, or someone else], and that if you follow them, you get a double daled. – Isaac Moses Mar 19 '15 at 15:55
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    If you could include (by editing) where you saw that comment recommending single-dalet, that would be helpful. (It might be a known minority opinion, perhaps. IDK.) – Scimonster Mar 19 '15 at 16:02
  • I know that the Yekkes are still makpid about using a double-dalet knot without the modifications to remove the "cross" inside. As such, this is what I do. – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 19 '15 at 16:08
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    Here's a partial answer: The MMA madrich gives requires a double-dalet knot moreshesashkenaz.org/en/guide . Furthermore, there are Sephardim, such as the London community, who also maintain this practice: sites.google.com/site/londonsephardiminhag/tephillin . Feel free to convert this to an answer if you wish. – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 23 '15 at 13:36
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    @IsaacMoses It's the Beit Yosef (end of OC 32) and various Rishonim before him (some quoting Geonim), and they all come out as the double dalet. There's no explicit evidence for a single dalet knot in Rishonim (only references to knots which look "like" a dalet, which is far from conclusive). – Double AA Sep 7 '17 at 1:20
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Rav Shachter has said (and written in Nefesh HaRav) that Rav Soloveitchik consistently advised students to follow their father's minhagim, with two exceptions: (a) eating in the sukkah on shmini atzeret, and (b) the shape of the knot in the tefillin shel rosh, where he thought that the alternative view (i.e., not eating in the sukkah and the double dalet) was mistaken.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for the answer. Just to clarify, Rav Schachter in the name of Rav Soloveitchik said not to use double-dalet? The sentence structure is a bit confusing to me. – Scimonster Mar 23 '15 at 17:42
  • @user9162: Really? There is a lecture on yutorah.org on Minhagim where the Rabbi specifically mentions what you say above, that the minhag to not eat in the Sukkah on Shemini Atzeret in Chutz L'Aretz in an invalid minhag that should be changed. But the Rabbi says nothing about Double-Daled Tefillin. – Ask613 Mar 23 '15 at 17:50
  • I found the lecture on yutorah. It is Rabbi Lebowitz (yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/752247/Rabbi_Aryeh_Lebowitz/…) where Rabbi Lebowitz specifically only talks about Shemini Atzeret – Ask613 Mar 23 '15 at 18:00
  • @Ask613, perhaps Rabbi Lebowitz only mentioned that one, but here are some confirmations. That first one is even a personal testimonial of someone changing their custom due to it. – Yishai Mar 23 '15 at 18:12
  • What was R' Soloveitchik's source for his p'sak? – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 23 '15 at 21:02
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As @NoachmiFrankfurt mentioned above, and suggested I convert into an answer:

Here's a partial answer: The MMA madrich gives requires a double-dalet knot http://www.moreshesashkenaz.org/en/guide.

Furthermore, there are Sephardim, such as the London community, who also maintain this practice: https://sites.google.com/site/londonsephardiminhag/tephillin

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