What is the proper way to take off and put away tefillin? Is there a procedure to follow?


There is no single way to put away your tefillin. However, Jewish law and custom does provide some guidance:

  • When removing your tefillin, you reverse the order in which they were put on:

  • First unwind the straps from your finger and your hand.1
  • Then remove the head tefillin.2 Show your reluctance by using your weaker hand.3
  • Finally, remove the rest of the hand tefillin.
  • The prevalent Chabad custom is to stand while removing the tefillin.4

  • There is no blessing to be said while removing tefillin.5

  • Wrap the straps for easy storage, but don’t wrap them around the square boxes (batim), as it would be an inappropriate use of the sacred boxes that contain the Torah verses. Instead, wrap the straps around the protruding bases6—wrapping them on both sides so that they resemble a dove’s wings.7

  • For the same reason of respect, when wrapping the tefillin, make sure you hold the box still and wrap the strap around it, rather than moving the box around the strap.8

  • When wrapping the head tefillin, place the knot on top of the base rather than under it.9

  • After wrapping the hand tefillin, the knot of the tefillin should be touching the box.10

  • Ideally, tefillin should be put away side by side, with the hand tefillin to the left and slightly closer to the opening of the bag. That way when you open the bag the next morning, you will encounter them first. This is ideal since they are to be put on first.11

  • Give your tefillin a kiss when you put them away.12 They are a treasured friend with whom you just had a very intimate rendezvous.