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When wrapping their tefillin shel yad, I have noticed that some people (mainly Chasidim, especially Lubavitch but also in other dynasties) wrap around the arm three times, then make a visible split and wrap four more times, like this:

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What is the reason for splitting the wraps like this? I assume it is to fulfill some kabbalistic requirement, but I could be wrong.

What's funny is that I wrap this way (splitting the wraps) but I don't know the reason for it.

  • Shape of a shin? – Laser123 Sep 25 '17 at 5:59
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    @Laser123 - Like as in a three-pronged and four-pronged shin respectively? I could buy that if you had some sort of source. – ezra Sep 25 '17 at 6:01
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I didn't mean to post a question and then answer it myself, but in my searches on Chabad.org I found this question and answer page which discusses why there is a custom to leave space between the third and fourth wraps of the tefillin shel yad.

Question:

Why is it Chabad custom to leave space between the third and fourth tefillin "wrap" around the arm?

Answer:

The first three coils correspond to the three letters of the divine name ש-ד-י (Shaddai). The latter four coils correspond to the four letters of the divine name י-ה-ו-ה (the Tetragrammaton). Because these two groups of coils represent two different names, it is appropriate to leave a little space between them. The amount of space you should leave is not specified anywhere—just leave enough space so that the break will be noticeable.

Rabbi Eliezer Posner

So to summarize, the first three wraps apparently represent the divine Name of Shaddai and the last four wraps represent the divine Name of Hashem, the Yud-Kay-Vav-Kay.

I would still be interested in more answers, by the way.

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The wraps on the forearm correspond to Z"N (Ze'ir Anpin v'Nukvah). The first three are ChaGa"T (Chesed, Gevurah v'Tiferet). The remaining four correspond to NeHoY'M (Netzach, Hod, Yesod, v'Malchut).

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    So why is there a split between the wrappings? You seem to be missing the part of your answer that ties (groan) it all together – Double AA Sep 25 '17 at 13:08
  • @DoubleAA while I'm by no means an expert in these matters, my understanding is that the split is specifically to denote between the primary and secondary "emotional" sefirot. NeHoY are extensions of the original manifestations of ChaGat; Malchut brings it all together in the physical realm. – Shmuel Brown Sep 21 '18 at 15:55
  • @Shmuel what do you mean by "denote"? It's a reminder to you that they are different? – Double AA Sep 21 '18 at 15:58
  • What @ShmuelBrown is saying is correct. But to put it in a nomenclature that you may be more familiar with, there is a general organizational system used in Torah, like for example in dikduk with the nekudot and also in regard to ta’amim. Things are sorted as ‘Kings’, ‘Servants’, and ‘Servants of Servants’. For an example,see Pardes Rimonim, Sha’ar HaNekudot. The sefirot follow the same system of arrangement. – Yaacov Deane Sep 21 '18 at 18:22
  • @DoubleAA perhaps "distinguish" would have been a better word than denote, but it's more than that because as Yaacov Deane pointed out (thanks for the assist) it's also an organizational scheme. – Shmuel Brown Sep 23 '18 at 13:10

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