28:1. A person is obliged to touch his Tefillin (1) regularly (2) so as not to forget about them, and he should touch (3) the shel yad (4) first. When one says ‘And you shall bind them for a sign on your arm’ he should touch the shel yad, and when he says ‘And they shall be as frontlets between your eyes’ he should touch the shel rosh.
MB 1: regularly – i.e. whenever he thinks about them he should touch them, for through this he will remember them continuously and not come to take his mind off of them. And also he will immediately straighten them so that they don’t move out of place.
MB 3: the shel yad – because that is closer for him to touch, and we don’t pass by a Mitzvah (if he would touch the shel rosh first then his hand would have to by pass the shel yad). ‘Ein Maavirin al Hamitzvah’
MB 4: first – and then the shel rosh. If, when touching the shel rosh, he found that it was out of place, and he then became aware that the shel yad was also out of place, he should restore the shel yad to its correct position first because of the verse “And you shall bind them as a sign on your arm” and then “And they shall be as frontlets between your eyes,” as mentioned earlier in Section 25 Paragraph 6.
Jonathan Chody [email protected]
Siman 28: The Laws of Removing the Tefillin (cont.)
28:2. One (5) takes off the tefillin of the head first because it is written ‘and _they_ should be for totafos between your eyes,’ which implies that as long as they are between your eyes (ie. so long as you are wearing the tefilla “shel rosh”) there should be two. One must remove the tefillin of the head while (6) standing. He should be put the tefilla of the head in the tefillin bag (7) and then put the tefilla of the hand (“shel yad”) on top of it, in order that he will automatically touch the “shel yad” (8) first when he comes to put them on in the morning.
MB 6: Standing – The same law applies to taking the windings off the finger. According to our custom of putting on the tefillin of the hand while standing, we must also take them off while standing, for as they are put on so must they be taken off. There are those of the wise men who would take off the tefillin “shel rosh” with the left hand, which is the weak hand, to show that they are uncomfortable removing them. If he is left handed, he takes them off with his right hand in order not to take them off quickly.
MB 7: And then the tefilla of the hand – The Bach and the Taz, earlier in Siman 25 paragraph 10, wrote that this means that one should make a long and narrow bag so that one (tefilla) should lie on the other. The Magen Avraham wrote that it is better to put the tefillin next to each other, which is our custom. That which the Mechaber (“author” of the Shulchan Aruch) wrote ‘and on it the tefilla of the hand’ [literal translation of the passage above, ‘and then put… on top of it’] means that one should put the “shel yad” slightly higher, in order that he should touch it first. The Shulchan Shlomo wrote that it is proper that tefillin “shel yad” be on the right side of the bag, also for this reason. There are those who make two bags, one for the tefilla of the hand, and one for the tefilla of the head. However, even with two bags it is better that he be careful to put the bag containing the tefilla of the hand slightly higher in order that he touch it first, and not have to pass over a mitzva, because it was the opinion of the Taz earlier (in Siman 25) that even with a bag preventing him from touching the tefillin directly, there is still a problem of “passing over a mitzva” if he accidentally touches the bag containing the “shel rosh” first. Look at the Magen Avraham in Siman 25 paragraph 1. Those people who make separate bags for the tefillin should make a mark on them indicating which one is for the tefilla of the head and which is for the tefilla of the hand, in order that he can be careful not to take out the tefilla “shel rosh” first from the bag. Also, since the holiness of the “shel rosh” is greater than that of the “shel yad”, he will be careful (by making a sign) not to switch bags afterwards and put the “shel yad” in the bag designated for the “shel rosh” – unless he made a pre-condition before using the bag, as we find later in Siman 42.
MB 8: First – and he won’t have to pass over a mitzva. It is proper to be careful not take off the tefilla of the hand until he has put the tefilla of the head into the bag, in order that he not forget and put the tefilla of the hand into the bag first.
28:3. It is the custom of the wise men to kiss the tefillin when putting them on (9) and taking them off.
MB 9: And taking them off – When he folds the tefillin he should not wind the straps around the housings themselves. Rather he should wind them around the sides of the housings, which are called the “titura.” There are those who have the custom to wrap them on the titura so that they look like wings, to represent the wings of a dove. When he wraps the straps on the sides of the tefillin, he must hold the tefillin in his hand and wind the strap around it, and not hold the strap in his hand and wind the tefillin into it. Also, when he takes the tefillin from their bag, he should not shake them out; rather he should take them from the bag with his hand. A tefillin bag may not be made of shaatnez, just like a book cloth may not be made of shaatnez.