In the standard Artscroll Ashkenazik siddur, after wrapping the tefillin around one's fingers it says to say the following pesukim from Hoshea 2:21-22

וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, לְעוֹלָם; וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי בְּצֶדֶק וּבְמִשְׁפָּט, וּבְחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים.
'וְאֵרַשְׂתִּיךְ לִי, בֶּאֱמוּנָה; וְיָדַעַתְּ, אֶת-ה.

The siddur haShelah says this comes from the Arizal. I did not find mention of it in the shulchan aruch, mishna berurah, nor in the writings of the Arizal (not in shaar hakavanot, olat tamid, pri eitz chaim, nor in his pirushim on nach). No source for this is mentioned in the siddur of R' Yaakov Emden, the Koren siddur, or Rav Kook's siddur though it is listed in all of them. These pesukim are not listed in the tehilat Hashem (Lubavitch) siddur.

My question is what is the source, halachic or otherwise, for saying these pesukim after putting on tefillin?

  • 1
    You seem to have done your homework. Why are you convinced that the source is halachic? Mar 29, 2015 at 1:54
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    @IsaacKotlicky I am not aware of any other example of text being included in such a wide array of siddurim based on a homiletic reason Mar 29, 2015 at 2:04
  • Most piyuttim are widely distributed (even if not widely read) but have no halachic source. They are entirely homiletic in application. Mar 29, 2015 at 2:15
  • @IsaacKotlicky perhaps, but this is not a piyut it is 2 specific verses. Furthermore, as I cite, the siddur haShelah indicates that the source is in the Arizal, which would indicate a kabbalistic explanation. I do not mean to imply that it is halacha to state these verses. Mar 29, 2015 at 10:35
  • @IsaacKotlicky point taken. question edited Mar 29, 2015 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


The source for reciting the Hosea verses while wrapping the tefillin straps around the finger is Matzat Shmurim (מצת שמורים), written by the 17th century kabbalist Natan Shapiro hayerushalmi (d. 1667 in Italy). As a shalich derabanan (a rabbinic messenger sent from Israel to Jewish communities in the diaspora to collect funds), he was especially influential in spreading the customs of the Arizal to Europe and beyond.

Matzat Shmurim is a book of kabbalistic customs and explanations regarding the morning blessings, tallit, tefillin, and mezuza, as according to the teachings of the Arizal and the Zohar. The first recording of the custom you ask about is found in the tefillin section of this book, and since it is about complex kabbalistic ideas, I'll let it speak for itself :

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  • p.s., the reason for the seemingly strange name of the book: it's an acronym for mezuza, tzitzit, tfillin- the mitzvot it discusses.
    – paquda
    Mar 30, 2015 at 23:31

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