SECTION 33 Laws Relating to the Repair of the Compartments and to the Straps. (1–6)

סימן לג דִּין תִּקּוּנֵי הַתְּפִלִּין וְדִינֵי הָרְצוּעוֹת, וּבוֹ ו סְעִיפִים:

1 [The following rules apply] if the internal dividers1 separating the compartments of the head-tefillin are torn,2 even though from the outside [the cube] is intact.3 If [the tefillin] are new, they remain valid under any circumstances (unless three compartments are torn in this manner).

If they are old, they are invalid even if only two compartments are torn. Indeed, they are invalid even if there is a complete divider between them, but the divider on the right [outer] side of one compartment and the divider on the left [outer] side of the other compartment are torn. If, however, there is one intact compartment between them, i.e., both of its dividers are whole, [the tefillin] are valid even if they are old, provided all of the other three compartments, i.e., the other three dividers, are not torn.

Some authorities take the opposite view, maintaining that new [tefillin] are inferior to old ones [and should be judged more stringently], for the fact that they were torn to this degree in a short time indicates that the leather used to make them was certainly flawed from the outset. One should be mindful of the more stringent elements of both these views.4

א אִם נִקְרְעוּ מְחִצּוֹת הַפְּנִימִיּוֹתא,1 שֶׁבֵּין בַּיִת לְבַיִתב,2 בִּתְפִלִּין שֶׁל רֹאשׁ וּמִבַּחוּץ כֻּלָּן קַיָּמִין וּשְׁלֵמִים,3 אִם הֵם חֲדָשִׁים – כְּשֵׁרִיםג בְּכָל עִנְיָן (אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִקְרְעוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה בָּתִּים בְּעִנְיָן זֶה),ד וְאִם הֵם יְשָׁנִים – פְּסוּלִים, אֲפִלּוּ לֹא נִקְרְעוּ אֶלָּא שְׁנֵי בָּתִּים, וַאֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ מְחִצָּה שְׁלֵימָה בֵּינֵיהֶם,ה אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּקְרְעוּ בָּזֶה מְחִצָּה שֶׁל צַד יָמִין וּבָזֶה מְחִצָּה שֶׁל צַד שְׂמֹאל.

אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶם בַּיִת אֶחָד שָׁלֵם, דְּהַיְנוּ שְׁתֵּי מְחִצּוֹת שְׁלֵמוֹת – כְּשֵׁרִים אֲפִלּוּ הֵם יְשָׁנִים, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא נִקְרְעוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה בָּתִּים,ו דְּהַיְנוּ כָּל שָׁלֹשׁ מְחִצּוֹת הַנִּשְׁאָרוֹת. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים לְהֵפֶךְ,ז שֶׁחֲדָשִׁים גְּרוּעִים מִישָׁנִים, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁבִּזְמַן מוּעָט נִקְרְעוּ כָּל־כָּךְ – בְּוַדַּאי עוֹר מְקֻלְקָל הוּא מֵעִקָּרוֹ. וְיֵשׁ לְהַחְמִיר כְּדִבְרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם:ח,4

2 There is an authority who holds that the same rule applies to the stitches: if two stitches which are [vertically] opposite each other,5 or three stitches even when they are not [vertically] opposite each other, are severed, [the tefillin] are invalid.

When does this apply? With regard to old [tefillin]. With regard to new [tefillin], as long as the leather at the base of the compartments is intact, they are valid.

Tefillin are classified as new if they are strong enough not to tear even if one holds on to part of the leather whose stitching was torn, and suspends the tefillin from that part. If [the leather of the tefillin cannot withstand this test] but tears, [such tefillin] are considered old.

According to the view6 that new [tefillin] are inferior to old ones with regard to torn compartments, they are similarly inferior with regard to severed stitches. Hence it is advisable to be mindful of this view in questions of severed stitches as well, and to rule with [equal] stringency concerning new [tefillin] as concerning old ones. This applies even if two stitches which are [vertically] opposite each other5 are severed, despite the fact that there are authorities who rule on this with complete leniency, regardless of whether [the tefillin] are new or old.7 But if three stitches are severed, even if they are not [vertically] opposite each other, all authorities rule that [the tefillin] are invalid.

However, in a situation where it is impossible to find other [valid] tefillin or to restitch these tefillin, one may rely on the more lenient views if two stitches [vertically] opposite each other are severed, regardless of whether [the tefillin] are new or old, so that one’s observance of the mitzvah of tefillin not be suspended.

ב יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵרט שֶׁהוּא הַדִּין בַּתְּפִירוֹת, אִם נִפְסְקוּ שְׁתֵּי תְּפִירוֹת זוֹ בְּצַד זוֹ,5 אוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ אֲפִלּוּ זוֹ שֶׁלֹּא כְּנֶגֶד זוֹ – פְּסוּלִים.

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בִּישָׁנִים, אֲבָל בַּחֲדָשִׁים כָּל זְמַן שֶׁעוֹר מוֹשַׁב הַבָּתִּים קַיָּם – כְּשֵׁרִים.י וְאֵלּוּ הֵם חֲדָשִׁים: כָּל שֶׁאוֹחֲזִין מִקְצָת הָעוֹר שֶׁנִּקְרַע תִּפְרוֹ וְתוֹלִין בּוֹ הַתְּפִלִּין וְהוּא חָזָק וְאֵינוֹ נִפְסָק, אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ רָאוּי לִתְלוֹת בּוֹ אֶלָּא הוּא נִפְסָק – הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ יְשָׁנִים.

וּלְדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמְרִים6 שֶׁחֲדָשִׁים גְּרוּעִים מִישָׁנִים לְעִנְיַן נִקְרְעוּ הַבָּתִּים – הוּא הַדִּין שֶׁהֵם גְּרוּעִים לְעִנְיַן נִפְסְקוּ הַתְּפִירוֹת.יא וְטוֹב לָחוּשׁ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם,יב גַּם בְּנִפְסְקוּ הַתְּפִירוֹת, לְהַחְמִיר בַּחֲדָשִׁים כְּמוֹ בִּישָׁנִים, אֲפִלּוּ בְּשֶׁנִפְסְקוּ שְׁנַיִם זוֹ בְּצַד זוֹ,5 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ מְקִלִּין בָּזֶה לְגַמְרֵייג בֵּין בַּחֲדָשִׁים בֵּין בִּישָׁנִים.7 אֲבָל בְּשֶׁנִּפְסְקוּ שָׁלֹשׁ אֲפִלּוּ זוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּצַד זוֹ – הֵם פְּסוּלִים לְדִבְרֵי הַכֹּל.

וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִמְצֹא תְּפִלִּין אֲחֵרִים וְלֹא לַחֲזֹר וְלִתְפֹּר תְּפִלִּין אֵלּוּ – יֵשׁ לִסְמֹךְ עַל הַמְּקִלִּין בְּנִפְסְקוּ שְׁתֵּי תְּפִירוֹת זוֹ בְּצַד זוֹ בֵּין בַּחֲדָשִׁים בֵּין בִּישָׁנִים, שֶׁלֹּא לְהִתְבַּטֵּל מִמִּצְוַת תְּפִלִּין:יד

3 The leather for the straps8 must derive from a kosher animal or beast, for the service of Heaven can be performed only with [products from] kosher species [of animals].9

[This leather] must be processed with the purpose [of the mitzvah] in mind. If not, it is invalid according to all authorities. Even [those] who accept [leather that was not processed with this intent] for the compartments10 [do not allow such leniency with regard to the straps].

The straps may even be made of parchment, as stated in sec. 32[:56].

ג עוֹר הָרְצוּעוֹת8 – צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת מִבְּהֵמָה אוֹ חַיָּה הַטְּהוֹרִים,טו שֶׁלֹּא הֻכְשְׁרוּ לִמְלֶאכֶת שָׁמַיִם אֶלָּא טְהוֹרִים בִּלְבַד.טז,9 וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁיְּהֵא מְעֻבָּד לִשְׁמוֹ,יז וְאִם לָאו – פָּסוּל לְדִבְרֵי הַכֹּל,יח וַאֲפִלּוּ לְהַמַּכְשִׁירִים בַּבָּתִּים.יט,10 וְיָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹתָן אֲפִלּוּ מִקְּלָף,כ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן לב:כא

4 It is a halachah transmitted to Moshe at Sinai that the outer surface of the straps be black.11 The underside, however, may be made any color one desires except red. This would be disrespectful, for people might say that [the straps] were colored by the blood of the wearer’s scabs.

With regard to the compartments, [the requirement that] they be black was instituted only in order to make the mitzvah esthetic; it is not rooted in a halachah transmitted to Moshe at Sinai, as stated in sec. 32[:60].

ד הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הָרְצוּעוֹת שְׁחֹרוֹת מִבַּחוּץ,כב,11 אֲבָל מִצַּד פְּנִים יַעֲשֶׂה מֵאֵיזוֹ צֶבַע שֶׁיִּרְצֶה, חוּץ מֵאָדֹם שֶׁהוּא גְּנַאי, שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ שֶׁמִּדַּם חֲטָטָיו נִצְבְּעוּ וְהֶאֱדִּימוּ.כג אֲבָל הַבָּתִּים אֵין צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת שְׁחֹרוֹת אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם נוֹי מִצְוָהכד וְלֹא מֵהֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן לב:כה

5 Since it is a halachah transmitted to Moshe at Sinai that the straps be black, they must be dyed black by a Jew with the intent that they be used for the mitzvah. If [they are dyed] by a non-Jew they are invalid, even after the fact, unless this is done in the manner explained with regard to the processing [of parchment] in sec. 32[:12].12

There is an authority who holds that [if a non-Jew dyed the straps] they can be corrected by having a Jew re-dye them with the purpose of the mitzvah in mind.13 It is desirable, however, to be stringent [and not to accept this solution].

If the compartments were dyed black by a non-Jew, [the tefillin] are valid, because they would be valid even if the compartments had not been dyed black at all. At the outset, nevertheless, it is preferable that a Jew dye them black with the intent that they be used for the mitzvah, as is done with regard to the straps.

ה וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרְצוּעוֹת שְׁחֹרוֹת הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי – צָרִיךְ שֶׁיַּשְׁחִירֵן יִשְׂרָאֵל לִשְׁמָן, וְלֹא נָכְרִי.כו וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּדִיעֲבַד פְּסוּלוֹת עַל יְדֵי נָכְרִי,כז אֶלָּא עַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן לב בְּעִבּוּד.כח,12 (א) וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵרכט שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶן תַּקָּנָה שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר וְיַשְׁחִירֵן יִשְׂרָאֵל לִשְׁמָן.13 וְטוֹב לְהַחְמִיר.

אֲבָל אִם הַנָּכְרִי הִשְׁחִיר אֶת הַבָּתִּים – כְּשֵׁרִים, שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲפִלּוּ לֹא הִשְׁחִירָן כְּלָל – כְּשֵׁרִין.ל וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, לְכַתְּחִלָּה טוֹב שֶׁיַּשְׁחִירֵן יִשְׂרָאֵל לִשְׁמָן, כְּמוֹ הָרְצוּעוֹת:לא

6 Once a strap is severed it cannot be rectified — neither by tying nor sewing.14 This [restriction] is derived from the word וקשרתם — “and you shall bind them,” which our Sages interpret15 as קשר תם, meaning “a binding which is intact.” I.e., the strap with which the tefillin are bound in place should be intact and complete, not tied or sewn together.

When does the above apply? When [the straps] are severed within their [minimum] required length. This means, with regard to the head-tefillin, [at least long enough to reach down] to the navel for the right strap, and to the chest for the left strap. With regard to the arm-tefillin, [this means that the strap must be at least long enough] to be wound around the upper arm in order to securely bind the tefillin to the arm, and then to be extended to reach the middle finger and be coiled around it three times and [then] be tied [in place]. As to the entire additional length of the strap which enables it to be wound several times around the arm, tying or sewing a [severed] strap does not disqualify it.

Some [more lenient] authorities maintain that tying or sewing disqualifies [a severed strap] only at the part that encircles the head, or that encircles the arm to bind the tefillin to the arm. For when that part [of the severed strap] is tied or sewn together, the binding of the head-tefillin or of the arm-tefillin cannot be considered “a binding which is intact.” By contrast, [these authorities hold that] with regard to the parts of the straps that hang down from the head to the chest and the navel and which extend from the arm to the middle finger, tying or sewing is effective.

Other authorities are even more lenient and [accept] sewing even the parts [of a severed strap] that encircle the head and the arm, [provided] it is the inner side which is sewn, so that the stitching not apparent from the outside and the strap appears complete, and it is sewn with kosher sinews. And there are even more lenient authorities who rule that this is acceptable even if thread is used.16

With regard to the actual halachic ruling, one should be stringent (with regard to a Scriptural [requirement]) and follow the first opinion wherever possible. [When necessary,] one may rule more leniently and [permit] sewing together the underside of [the part of the straps] which hang from the head, for there are authorities who permit this even for the part that encircles the head, though it is difficult to ensure that the stitching will not be at all visible from the outside. In a pressing situation, however, one may rely on the more lenient opinions, so that his observance of the mitzvah of tefillin will not be suspended. [In such an instance,] however, a blessing should not be recited, for the blessings are not indispensable [to the fulfillment of the mitzvah].

ו רְצוּעָה שֶׁנִּפְסְקָה – אֵין לָהּ תַּקָּנָהלב לֹא בְּקְּשִׁירָה וְלֹא בְּתְּפִירָה,לג,14 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:לד "וּקְשַׁרְתָּם", וְדָרְשׁוּ רַזַ"ל:לה,15 קֶשֶׁר תָּם, דְּהַיְנוּ הָרְצוּעָה שֶׁקּוֹשֵׁר בָּהּ הַתְּפִלִּין – תִּהְיֶה תַּמָה וּשְׁלֵמָה,לו וְלֹא קְשׁוּרָה אוֹ תְּפוּרָה.

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁנִּפְסְקוּ תּוֹךְ שִׁעוּרָן, דְּהַיְנוּ בְּשֶׁל רֹאשׁ עַד הַטַּבּוּר מִצַּד יָמִין וְעַד הֶחָזֶה מִצַּד שְׂמֹאל,לז וּבְשֶׁל יָד עַד כְּדֵי שֶׁתַּקִּיף הַזְּרוֹעַ לִקְשֹׁר הַתְּפִלָּה עִם הַזְּרוֹעַ, וּכְדֵי שֶׁתִּמָּתַח עַד אֶצְבַּע אֶמְצָעִית וְיִכְרֹךְ מִמֶּנָּה עַל אוֹתָהּ אֶצְבַּע שָׁלֹשׁ כְּרִיכוֹת וְיִקְשֹׁר,לח אֲבָל כָּל יִתְרוֹן הָאֹרֶךְ שֶׁהִיא בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁכּוֹרֵךְ הָרְצוּעָה כַּמָה פְּעָמִים סְבִיב הַיָּד – אֵין הַקְּשִׁירָה וְהַתְּפִירָה פּוֹסְלִין בּוֹ.לט

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםמ שֶׁאֵין קְשִׁירָה וּתְפִירָה פּוֹסֶלֶת בּוֹ אֶלָּא בְּמַה שֶּׁמַּקִּיף הָרֹאשׁ בִּלְבַד, אוֹ בְּמַה שֶּׁמַּקִּיף הַזְּרוֹעַ לִקְשֹׁר הַתְּפִלָּה עִם הַזְּרוֹעַ, שֶׁכְּשֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם קֶשֶׁר אוֹ תֶּפֶר – אֵין הַקֶּשֶׁר שֶׁל רֹאשׁ אוֹ שֶׁל יָד נִקְרָא קְשִׁירָה תַּמָּה, אֲבָל בְּמַה שֶּׁתָּלוּי מִן הָרֹאשׁ עַד הֶחָזֶה וְהַטַּבּוּר, וְכֵן בְּמַה שֶּׁנִּמְתָּח מֵהַזְּרוֹעַ עַד אֶצְבַּע אֶמְצָעִית – מוֹעֶלֶת בָּהּ קְשִׁירָה אוֹ תְּפִירָה.

וְיֵשׁ מְקִלִּים עוֹדמא שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ בְּמַה שֶּׁמַּקִּיף הָרֹאשׁ וְהַזְּרוֹעַ – מוֹעֶלֶת תְּפִירָה כְּשֶׁתּוֹפְרָן מִצַּד פְּנִים, שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה הַתֶּפֶר נִרְאֶה מִבַּחוּץ וּתְהֵא נִרְאֵית כִּשְׁלֵמָה,מב וְהוּא שֶׁיִּתְפְּרֶנָּה בְּגִידִים כְּשֵׁרִים.מג

וְיֵשׁ מְקִלִּיןמד אֲפִלּוּ בְּחוּטִים.16

וּלְעִנְיַן הֲלָכָה – יֵשׁ לְהַחְמִיר (בְּשֶׁל תּוֹרָה)מה כַּסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר.מו וְאַף שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְהָקֵל לִתְפֹּר מִבִּפְנִים בְּמַה שֶּׁתָּלוּי מִן הָרֹאשׁ, הוֹאִיל וְיֵשׁ מַתִּירִים אֲפִלּוּ בְּמַה שֶּׁמַּקִּיף הָרֹאשׁ, מִכָּל מָקוֹם קָשֶׁה לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא תְּהֵא הַתְּפִירָה נִרְאֵית כְּלָל מִבַּחוּץ.מז אֲבָל בִּשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק – יֵשׁ לִסְמֹךְ עַל דִּבְרֵי הַמְּקִלִּין יוֹתֵר, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִתְבַּטֵּל מִמִּצְוַת תְּפִלִּין.מח וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם – לֹא יְבָרֵךְ, שֶׁבְּרָכוֹת אֵינָן מְעַכְּבוֹת:מט