Shel Yad Placement On Arm

Question: I have a customer, who, for all his children , ordered davkah a very small shel yad so that the tefillin can sit on the right spot on the arm according to as many opinions as possible. His children are on the shorter side and have smallish arms.

Having said this, I am not so boki in these halachos. The customer is a Litvisher (Brisker I think) and asked me to research if what he is doing is indeed meritorious or OTT (Over The Top).

If someone with a good understanding of these halochos could guide me / him on this , I'd appreciate it.



  1. Most Rishonim, followed by the Gra and Aruch HaShulchan, hold that one may place the shel yad on the entire biceps. However, there is minority opinion that one may only place it on the part of the biceps that is on the lower half of the upper arm. Shulchan Aruch and Rama pasken like the minority opinion. Problem is, since Tefillin have grown so much over the years it is very difficult for small people, including many Bar-Mitzvah boys, to fit the Tefillin entirely within the space that fulfills the Shulchan Aruch's opinion. Reb Chaim Kanievsky said that such people may rely on the lenient opinion. However, many people prefer to a smaller shel yad to allow even a Bar-Mitzvah boy to fulfill the Shulchan Aruch.

    In my opinion, this is not at all over the top, provided that smaller Batim are relatively available and can still fit good-quality parshiyos. See also an excellent article by R' Menachem Y. Gross in the second volume of the journal לשכת הקודש, which advances a strong argument that all Tefillin nowadays are too large.

    1. Thanks Yankev. Is this article available anywhere online? Do you have access to it?

  2. It's on Otzar HaChochma page 159.

    Another reason I thought of to get small tefillin, is so that they should not protrude beyond the biceps width-wise. But I'm not aware of any discussion as to whether this might be a problem or not.

  3. perhaps Rabbi Arye Shechter can post -I will email him

    1. המנהג לעשות של יד גבוה וצר אצבע על אצבע על אצבע
      ושל ראש טוב לעשותו אצבעיים
      ש"ע לב סעיף סג ופ'
      וכמה רבנים מהדרין על זה
      עיין פתחי שערים סוף הספר

  4. There is no problem getting regular size parshios into a smaller shel yad.

    It is also possible to make the titura 2 etzbaos according to Rav Avraham Chain Naeh and still be small enough for one with a small arm to be yotze the Shulchan Aruch/Rama.

    As was mentioned, Rav Chaim says one may rely on the Gra. In 5757 we asked him the following question (published in the back of my book):
    Should one be makpid for the tefillin to be on the lower half of the zaroa to be yotzeh the Mechaber and the Ramah, requiring the titura to be less than 2 etzbaos (according to the Chazon Ish) or can one be somech on the Gra and needs to be makpid on 2 etzbaos.

    Rav Chaim responded than one may rely on the Gra.


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