Donning Tallit and Tefillin

Please note that this page contain the name of God.
If you print it out, please treat it with appropriate respect.

If you do not have experience reading transliteration
please see the Guide to Transliteration.

A tallit is worn at morning services, both on weekdays and on Shabbat, and also on the night of Yom Kippur. Tefillin are worn at morning services on weekdays only.. For more information, see Signs and Symbols. Tallis and tefillin should be put on before you begin prayer, and tallis should be put on before tefillin.

Donning a Tallit

Stretch the tallit before you, holding it with both hands, and recite this blessing:

Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew Hebrew
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'hit'ateif ba-tzitzit
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in the tzitzit

Right and wrong ways to wear a tallit After reciting the blessing, throw the tallit over your shoulders like a cape and bring your hands together in front of your face briefly, covering your head. Then adjust the tallit comfortably on your shoulders. The tallit should be draped over the shoulders like a shawl or a cape, not around the neck like a scarf.

The blessing above is often embroidered on the atarah of the tallit, that is, on the ornamental area at the neck of the garment. If you are planning to embroider this yourself, please take particular care to alter the Divine Names to avoid the risk that something disrespectful might happen to the tallit and thereby to the Names.

The way I usually see it on an atarah replaces the Yod-Yod above (which is actually a substitution anyway) with a Dalet-Yod, and the Eloheinu changed to Elokeinu (the Heh replaced with a Qof). See the Hebrew Alphabet page if you're not familiar with the letter names.

Laying Tefillin

Man wearing tefillin, front and back

Putting on tefillin, traditionally described as "laying" tefillin, is difficult to explain with words alone. You should have someone experienced show you how to do it if you have never done it before. The instructions below merely provide a broad overview.

Roll up your sleeve and place the hand tefillin loosely around the bicep of your non-dominant arm (left arm if you are right-handed; right arm if you are left-handed) and recite this blessing:

Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
Hebrew
l'hani'ach t'filin
to put on tefillin

After reciting the blessing above, tighten the strap and wind it around the forearm. Wrap the rest of the strap temporarily around the palm of the hand (not around the fingers yet! That comes later).

Then take out the head tefillin and place it loosely on the head, above the hairline between the eyes. Recite the following blessing:

Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
Hebrew
al mitzvat t'filin
about the mitzvah of tefillin
Hebrew
Barukh Sheim k'vod mal'khuto l'olam va'ed
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever

Tighten the straps and drape the excess straps forward over your shoulders, hanging loosely in front of your chest.

The excess hand strap is then unwrapped from around the palm and rewrapped around the fingers. Once it is properly wrapped around the fingers, recite this passage from the Biblical book of Hosea chapter 2:

Hebrew  Hebrew
v'eiras'tikh li l'olam
I will betroth you to me forever
Hebrew  Hebrew
v'eiras'tikh li b'tzedek
I will betroth you to me with righteousness
Hebrew
uv'mish'pat uv'chesed uv'rachamim
and with justice and with kindness and with mercy
Hebrew  Hebrew
v'eiras'tikh li be'emunah
I will betroth you to me with faithfulness
Hebrew
v'yada'at et Adonai
and you will know the Lord

© Copyright 5766-5771 (2006-2011), Tracey R Rich
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