To the best of my knowledge the majority of people that wear Rabeinu Tam Tefilin put it on without a Bracha at some later point in Tefila or after Tefila. Based on this I was wondering is there any source that discusses what Rabeinu Tam did? Did he wear Rabeinu Tam Tefilin exclusively? Did he also wear Rashi Tefilin? What order did he wear them in and on which did Rabeinu Tam make a Bracha?

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    If Rabbenu Tam never indicates that he did this, and indicates that he thought Rashi was wrong, would you consider that sufficient proof?
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:21
  • @mevaqesh Suppose you are correct that Rabbeinu Tam indicated that Rashi was wrong does it mean he did not wear Rashi Tefilin at all or perhaps he still wore Rashi Tefilin to be Yotzai that Shita? Nov 7, 2017 at 16:23
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    @ger maybe Rashi also wore Rabbenu Tam tefillin. Maybe Rashi only put on his tefillin as a Chumra after Rabbenu Tam's
    – Double AA
    Nov 7, 2017 at 16:47
  • @ger the question is what is the burden of proof to disprove something which there is no reason to assume is correct, and every reason to assume is incorrect.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 7, 2017 at 16:49
  • Prob. didn’t wear at first upon becoming bar mitzvah.
    – Oliver
    Jan 27, 2019 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


R Yisroel Reisman in his book Pathways of the Prophets asks a very similar question (p. 413) regarding the source of the dispute between Rashi and R Tam, specifically how could such a dispute have started if there was a continued tradition of wearing tefillin?

He explains there are two approaches to explain -- the second sheds light on your question.

First approach is that there were always two pairs of tefillin (he quotes the Divrei Chaim, Teshuvos v'Hanhagos and Ben Yohada). The second pair was worn as a sign of great piety and the dispute between Rashi and R Tam revolved around which was the primary pair? The main difficulty with this approach is that the gemara doesn't discuss both pairs, nor do the Rif or Rambam. He writes that maybe, since these tefillin were reserved for people with great yiras shamayim who lived humble and holy lives, they were not mentioned by the gemara.

The second approach is that R Tam changed the accepted custom based on his understanding of the true halacha. He could only do this since it was a custom not explicitly mentioned in the gemara. That was the opinion of Michtav M'Eliyahu (4:25) who writes "Certainly there has been an accepted practice, but because there was no precise mesorah... this remains a custom. Torah Law requires that the ruling be examined according to the rules of establishing [halacha] ... and because this resulted in a conclusion that contradicted the custom, the custom was pushed away by the halachic conclusion".

The Gra disagreed, treating the issue as any other machlokes Rishonim in which a definitive ruling already exists.

He explains separately that R Tam's opinion was to put the parchments horizontally into the boxes and we don't follow his opinion. As such even R Tam was not wearing what we know today as R Tam's tefillin ! (Noda B'Yehuda explains why we don't follow this - R Tam was alone in his view while regarding the order of the parchments, other Rishonim concurred with him).

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    The shita of Rabenu Tam is an old shita. Rishonim say it was the Minhag of Rav Hay gaon, and Rav Yosef Tov elem, rits ben geat, the raavad on Rambam also holds it. Maybe the father of Rabenu Tam also. He didn't invent those tefilin
    – kouty
    Sep 28, 2021 at 18:01
  • See at the end of masechet menachot Rosh, hilchot tefilin siman 5
    – kouty
    Sep 28, 2021 at 18:26
  • Rav shrira Rabenu Chananel
    – kouty
    Sep 28, 2021 at 18:28
  • According to the first explanation why was wearing a second pair of tefillin ever a sign of great piety? What piety is there is wearing tefilin other than the correct ones?
    – Schmerel
    Sep 30, 2021 at 1:44

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