Orach Chayim brings that pious men should wear both Rashi and R. Tam tefillin at once when davening (34:2-3). Do we know what the earliest halakhic sources recommending this are, and their reasoning?

The Bavli mentions somewhat ambiguously that there is space on the head for two sets (Menakhot 34), but this in itself doesn't constitute a rule or minhag.

I understand that the Tikkunei Zohar (101d) recommends both (and one answer to this question comments that "Putting on two pairs of tefillin is mostly prevalent among Hasidim and Sephardim, for Kabbalistic reasons summarized by the Lubavitcher Rebbe" -though Chabad typically wear one set after the other rather than simultaneously), but I am looking for halakhic rather than kabbalistic sources. The Chabad site's discussion on the topic does not go into historical detail.

  • As much as I think I understand Chaba"d, inevitably, some new info, such as yours, proves me wrong ... I'd have to read your article to see what this is about. Do they also wear both shel yad tefillin simultaneously?
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:31
  • At my Chabad shul, they don't wear them simultaneously, but put on the Tam after davening, or at the very end. I can't say if this is THE way Chabad does it, but that's the way my friend does it and some of the other members in shul.
    – EhevuTov
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 17:23
  • Chabad doesn't wear both at the same time, although I think at some point the previous Rebbe did, but I'll need to verify. But we do wear both. Just pointing out, in shulchan aruch, it says yirei shomayim should wear rabbenu tam
    – user613
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


R. Moses Coucy (first half of the 13th century) writes in his Sefer Mitzvot Gedol (ספר מצוות גדול), positive commandment #22, that the God fearing wear both pairs simultaneously.

אם כן סדר הנחה של רבינו שלמה פסול לדבר הגאונים וסדר הנחת הגאונים פסול לדברי רבינו שלמה וירא שמים חושש משום ברכה לבטלה אם אינו מניח רק כדברי האחד מן הגאונים הלכך יניח שניהם שנים של יד בברכה אחת ואחר כך מניח שנים של ראש בברכה אחת שהרי יש בראש וכן בזרוע מקום להניח שני תפילין

To summarize: Given that the two views are mutually exclusive, the God fearing don both arm tefillin simultaneously followed by both head tefillin simultaneously.

Interestingly, R. Coucy was French (even though as noted this practice is today more common among Sephardim and Hassidim).


Sefer Haterumah (in the sections Laws of Tefilin), written at the turn to the 13th century, writes that a G-d fearing person may fulfill both opinions at the same time, as the Gemara writes that there is space on the head & arm to place two sets of tefillin.


The Ben Ish Chai in parshas vayeira os 21 writes: ...ומימות מרע"ה ועד הגאונים היו מניחים ב' זוגות, וכן איתא בגמרא מקום יש בראש להניח בו ב' זוגות, ובז"ח איתא קצת בני אדם דמניחים ב' זוגות מספק דלא ידעין ברזא דא דתרוויהו אצטריכו על כן יר"ש יעשה ב' זוגות תפילין א' כסברת רש"י וא' כסברת ר"ת ויאחז שתיהם בידו ויכניסם בזרועו ויקשרם זהה למעלה מזה, דצריך שיניח שניהם יחד ולא כאותם שמניחין של רש"י לחוד ושל ר"ת לחוד...

That from the time of Moshe Rabbeinu to the times of the Geonim everyone wore both at the same time.

  • 2
    Well that sounds a source from the 19th century.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 17:56
  • 2
    I was waiting for someone to say that,it depends how you look at it,he is saying it is from Moshe Rabbeinu so that's not 19th century
    – sam
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 18:11
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    Well let it be known that mevaqesh declares that upon creation on the second day of creation, the angels wore both Rashi and Rabbenu Tam tefillin! We now have an earlier source.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 18:15
  • 7
    Well if you are on the caliber of the Ben Ish Chai,by all means write that as an answer
    – sam
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 18:33
  • 1
    The OP did not write that a prerequisite to answer the question is the greatness of the Ben Ish Chai. He did write that he didnt consider the Gemara that says a person could wear two pairs of Tefillin as proof that one should and especially not proof that the two pairs should be Rashi and Rabbenu Tam particularly. Considering that this is Ben Ish Chai's prooftect, that seems to preclude your answer (although not my answer which is based on no prooftext).
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 20:43

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