How to Put on Tefillin

A step-by-step guide to putting on tefillin to pray in the morning.

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MyJewishLearning.com asked Rabbi Steven Exler to demonstrate how to put on tefillin, the ritual phylacteries worn every day during the morning prayer service.

 

 

A Visual Guide

Tefillin consist of two leather boxes with parchment with biblical passages inside. The first one goes on your arm, the second on your head.

A right-handed person should place tefillin on the left arm (lefties wear it on their right). The box is placed on the lower half of the bicep. Just before tightening through the loop, the first blessing is recited:

how to wear tefillin

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצונו להניח תפילין
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctified us with God's commandments and commanded us to place the tefillin.

The Sephardic and Hasidic custom is to wrap the tefillin strap away from the torso. The Ashkenazic practice is to wrap towards the torso. In both cases, the strap is wrapped around the arm seven times.

how to put on tefillin

The Head Tefillin

The head tefillin is placed with the front at the hairline (or where that hairline used to be).

how to put on head tefillin

Before tightening it, the following blessing is recited:

ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצונו על מצוות תפילין
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctified us with God's commandments and commanded us regarding the mitzvah of tefillin.

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