• Tfilin Shel Rosh

Tfilin Shel Rosh

The Tfilin shel Rosh consist of the following parts and their laws.
a. The box itself, which must be square but need not be a cube. It should be perfectly black.
b. The box itself is made of four separate compartments into which are placed four separate scrolls of parchment. The box should be made from one skin. The four compartments should be visibly marked and separate all the distance to the base of the Tfilin.
c. The Mishna Brura 32:41 points out the problems which occur when the size of the boxes are too small. However, in 27:36 he points out the problems with Tfilin that are too large to control when placed on the head. Therefore, a more middle size should be used.
d. The “shins” formed from the leather on the two sides are very important and should reach the base - i.e. the point of the bottom of the “shin” should touch the base.
e. The base itself, the “titura” should be a perfect square exclusive of the passageway for the straps, the “mavarta”.
f. There are 12 stitches around the perimeter of the Tfilin, which should be a perfect square both on bottom and on top.
g. The parshios which are placed inside the compartments are wrapped in parchment and tied with hairs of a calf which is a subtle reminder of the “golden calf”. Some of this hair should protrude outside, and be visible at the base of the batim.
h. The “retzuos” (straps) are of the utmost importance. They should be perfectly black. The right strap should extend, at least, to ones waist. The left one, at least, to the chest.
i. Care should be taken that the black of the Tfilin straps should not peel off. This could happen, especially at the point of the knot of the Tfilin. When painting the Tfilin or repairing the color, one should always have in mind that it is being done for the “sake of the mitzvo of Tfilin.”
j. Care should be taken that the black side of the straps should face outwards. If it remained twisted on the portion that circles the head, the custom is to fast or give tzedakah.
k. The box of the Tfilin shel rosh should be left uncovered when being worn. Even one’s talis should not fully cover it.
l. The front of the Tfilin should be in the middle of the head. The bottom of the box should not extend below the real hairline and should be firmly placed on the head.
m. The back knot should be placed slightly above the indentation in the back of the head.
n. Many fold the straps on the sides of the Tfilin like the wings of the dove to remind us of the miracle mentioned in the Gemora when the Tfilin turned into a dove.