My son's Bar Mitzvah is coming soon, and he's studying with a rabbi. When learning how to put tefilin, rabbi said that my tefilin is not good for him, because it's apparently for a left-handed person and my son is right-handed.

I have no idea why my tefilin is for a left-handed person, I'm right-handed as well. Is there a possibility to change the tefilin to make it fit for a right-handed person?

  • Note Tefillin are placed on the non-dominant arm.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:28
  • Yes I know that for a right-handed person, tefilin is placed on a left arm, still mine is a "wrong" type (made to be put on a right hand).
    – haimg
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:36
  • 1
    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17185/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


Refer to the 3rd & 4th question, here:

Q On which side of the Tefillin box should the "Yod" knot of the Tefillin Shel Yad be situated: towards the person's body, or towards the outside? A Towards the person's body (Shulchan Aruch 27:2).

Q If a right-handed person borrows a left-handed person's Tefillin and wears it on his left hand, must he ensure that the "Yod" knot is positioned towards his body, or may he in this case allow the "Yod".
A He should wear the Tefillin upside-down, with the Ma'abarta (part of the Tefillin through which the straps pass) facing downward, towards the hand, so that the "Yod" is positioned near the body (Halacha Berura).

Summarizing these ideas, ideally, someone can take the strap out of the yad, and reverse the knot to the other side. If you're not an expert at how to make the knot correctly, bring it to a sofer or tefillin "pro" who can do this in a few minutes. (I'm surprised that your rabbi didn't suggest this immediately!) Temporarily, you can just turn the box upside down. The important things is that a left handed person should wear the tefillin on his right arm and the knot must face the body.

  • 1
    Sometimes the cut on the side of the tefillin where the knot is supposed to be is made deeper than the cut on the other side in order to accommodate the large knot. It someone switches from "lefty" to "righty" he may need to cut away some leather to allow it to sit correctly. Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 0:43
  • DanF Before changing a knot in the tefillin, one should state "hareini oseh kosher zeh l'sheim kedushas tefillin!" (Eng: "I am making this knot for the kedusha [holiness] of the mitzvah of tefillin." If one switches a knot without saying so beforehand, it may be necessary to untie it and re-knot it after saying "l'sheim kedushas tefillin" Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 0:46

Since Ashkenazim and Sephardim/Hasidim put on tefillin differently from each other, it might be important to know your particular tefillin minhag.

The fact is, Ashkenazim wrap the strap of the shel yad inwards (towards themselves), and so naturally both the yud kesher and the loop that the retzuah goes through is towards the body.

Sephardim and Hasidim, however, wrap the strap outwards (away from themselves), so the yud kesher will be on the inside on their arm, but the loop that the retzuah goes through will be on the outside of their arm. (Does that make sense?)

Take a look at this webpage from R' Melech Michael's, a reliable sofer, showing pictures of different tefillin minhagim in order to help someone determine their tefillin minhag. You will notice that the second and third picture look very similar, even though the second one is of left-handed Ashkenazi tefillin and the third one is of right-handed Hasidic tefillin.

Perhaps your rabbi is not familiar with the minhag of the Sephardim/Hasidim, ie, wrapping outwards, or he did not look at your tefillin in great detail. The second explanation makes much more sense, as a rabbi should know this minor difference.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .