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Generally speaking, one receives his method for wrapping the tefillin around the arm and hand from his father (or for a ger, usually the custom of the community/rabbi is the one he follows).

Is one allowed the invent one's own way of wrapping the tefillin around the arm and hand, as long as it does not defy anything per halacha (such as making sure the yud kesher touches the bayis)? Would it make a difference if they did not receive a minhag from their family?

Note: Follow up question to come.

  • Rule of thumb (pun slightly intended) you're generally not "allowed to invent your own method" for just about everything in Judaism. – Salmononius2 Jun 8 '17 at 22:35
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    ..at least not anymore :) There used to be a lot of it going on... – Gary Jun 9 '17 at 0:27
  • @ezra i'm afraid your question is a dupe of this one judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/77047/… – Bach Jun 9 '17 at 2:09
  • @Bach - That Q&A has conflicting answers...Who am I to believe? Besides, that's changing your current minhag to another established minhag, not changing your minhag to one you made up. – ezra Jun 9 '17 at 2:11
  • But the reasoning of the Maharashdam can be applied to ur case as well. – Bach Jun 9 '17 at 2:13
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No, you are not allowed to invent your own minhag for wrapping the tefillin.

From Din Online:

Are you permitted to invent your own tefillin minhag?

Question:

The method in which a man wraps the strap of the tefillin shel yad around his arm and hand is generally passed on from father to son. So in other words, one learns how to wrap the tefillin around the arm and hand from his father, who presumably learned it from his father, etc. Ba’alei teshuva generally take on the minhag of their rabbi/community, or if the minhag of their father or grandfather is known, they take on that minhag. For gerim, the minhag of the rabbi/community is used. My question is, is one allowed to invent their own method of laying tefillin? Would the answer change if one didn’t have a minhag from his ancestors? If the answer is yes, then what are the regulations and guidelines for inventing one’s own way? For instance: – Must the black side of the straps be showing to the outside at all times, including when the strap is wrapped around the underside of the hand? – Is the forming of the shin (either on the hand or arm like Chabad) or other letters (dalet; yud) halacha? – Can you make more than seven/eight wraps around the arm, such as thirteen wraps? Obviously, it is usually not a wise idea to “invent ways” of performing mitzvot. But I want a minhag to pass onto my son, and since I did not receive a minhag from my father, I’d like to have something a little more “special” than a traditional, “general” minhag (such as the Ashkenazi method or Chabad method).

Answer:

It is very nice and special that you want to be able to pass significant things to your children. However one should not invent his own minhagim. Minhagim are usually based on the halachic rulings, or customs of great Rabbis, generally who lived hundreds of years ago and have very solid basis, with great torah scholars. (There are many books written explaining the sources of the various minhagim). Although there are various rules when one may change from the customs of a certain communities minhag, we cannot just make up what we want to do. When doing so, we are likely to end up transgressing some rules that you may not be aware of.

Besides this, there is another reason. If you pass down a minhag that has a tradition, then you are giving your children a connection to very deeply rooted traditions, and actions that have deep meaning to them. On the other hand if your children will get your original “home cooked” custom, that isn’t based on anything except for the desire to be original, different or “special”, it might be different etc., but in essence it will be shallow and meaningless.

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Yes you are allowed to invent your own custom for wrapping the Shel Yad.

According to the Maharashdam (basing himself on the Ran) there is no such thing as a positively binding minhag.

בטורקיה נתקבל נוסח הספרדים. וקמו מערערים לומר שרוצים להתפלל כסדר מנהג אבותיהם. ז"ל שו"ת מהרשד"ם (אורח חיים סימן לה), לא מצאנו ולא ראינו שאין לשנות מנהג אבותינו כי אם בדבר שיש בו נידנוד איסור. בכי-האי-גוונא דליכא צד איסור כלל ועיקר, ולא הרחקת עבירה -- בהא פשיטא דלא שייך ביה משום "אל תטוש תורת אמך". וכן יש לדקדק מלשון הר"ן שכתב (פסחים פרק ד ד"ה ונמצינו = דף יז ע"ב בדפי הרי"ף): נמצינו למדים בתורת המנהגות שכל מנהג איסור שהוא מעיר אחת -- כל שאינו מנהג בטעות אלא שהם החמירו על עצמן לעשות סייג לתורה או לדבר שהוא מחלוקת בין חכמי ישראל ונהגו כדברי האוסר כל בני העיר, חייבין בו מן הדין, ואפילו בצינעא, עד שיעקור דירתו משם ויקבענה בעיר אחרת, עכ"ל הר"ן. ומדאמר הר"ן שכל מנהג איסור וכו', ולא קאמר שכל מנהג סתם, משמע דלא אמרינן הכי אלא בדבר איסור שנהגו במקומו הוא דאין לשנות. הא במידי דליכא צד איסור כלל -- פשיטא שאין קפידא כלל.

Summary: Only minhagim which have a minud (a little bit of) prohibition in them are obligatory. And he states this is not his new idea, but rather it was taught by the Ran.

A current Sephardic Rabbi named Rabbi Uri Nahum says explicitly you can wrap it however you want, even just to "make it cool": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vun2OCL5vn0&feature=youtu.be&t=32m52s

So you can definitely make up your own wrapping, or decide to use one of the many beautiful minhagim from Jews all over the world.

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