Why do we start to wrap the arm tefila, then put on the head tefila, and then complete the wrapping of the arm tefila?

Why not put on the arm tefila completely and only then the head tefila (or the other way around)?

  • 1
    Note that not everybody does this. Both R. JB Soloveitchik and R. Qafih held that the arm tefillin should be fully wrapped before the head tefillin are donned.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 6, 2017 at 1:02
  • 1
    the part wrapped around the fingers isn't the main mpart of the mitzvah of tefillin and is left till the end to prevent a hefsek while putting on tefillin
    – Dude
    Mar 6, 2017 at 1:16
  • @dude it's not a hefsek to be involved in the mitzva. Like pass the salt.
    – Double AA
    Mar 6, 2017 at 2:35
  • 2
    @mevaqesh Soo too RYE Henkin hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20024&st=&pgnum=67
    – Double AA
    Jun 6, 2017 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


The Shulhan Arukh (OH 25:11) states that after affixing the hand tefillin on one's arm, but before wrapping the straps around the arm, one should don the head tefillin:

אחר שקשר של יד על הזרוע, יניח של ראש קודם שיכרוך הרצועה סביב הזרוע

The source for this is the Rosh quoted by the Tur here:

וראיתי לא"א ז"ל שמיד אחר שקשר של יד על הזרוע היה מניח של ראש קודם שהיה כורך הרצועה סביב זרועו שהיה אומר כיון שברכה שניה חוזרת גם על של יד ומטעם זה אין להפסיק ביניהם יש למעט ההפסק בכל מה שיוכל והכריכה סביב הזרוע אינה מן המצוה הילכך טוב לאחר אותה עד לאחר שיניח ש"ר

That is, since the second blessing (recited on the head tefillin) includes the arm tefillin as well, one should minimise interruption between donning the head and arm tefillin. Since wrapping the straps around one's forearm isn't essential to the mitsvah, it should therefore be delayed until after the head tefillin is donned.

The variant you described, of wrapping the forearm, but not the hand, before the head tefillin is based on the Arizal (cited by the Mishnah Berurah there). The reasoning is apparently the same; minimising the break between the two mitsvot.

It should be noted, that some poskim disagree with Rosh and hold that one should finish wrapping the arm tefillin before donning the head tefillin. For example R. Qafih held as follows:

יב. המניח תפילין של יד, יגמור כריכת הרצועה על ידו עד סופה, שנאמר "וקשרתם" ואמרו חז"ל "קשירה תמה". ורק אח"כ יניח של ראש

  • Note: I haven't examined the Shaarei Kavanot myself, but from the Magen Avraham's reference, I see no evidence that the Arizal wrapped the tefillin around his hand before donning the head tefillin. The Taz's citation just mentions that he wrapped the straps around his arm, but doesn't state explicitly that he wrapped the strap around his hand after he donned the head tefillin.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 6, 2017 at 1:29

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