Parasha descending into the Titurah

There are times when a set of tefillin are brought in to be checked, and the housing is just too small to accomodate the parasha of the shel yad fully within the bayit.  The result is that a good portion of the parasha extends down to the Titurah resting outside of the confines of the bayit.

At this point it is easy to recommend that the client purchase a new and larger bayit for the shel yad in order to resolve the problem.  But are there other solutions that do not involve the client spending money?  Is there anything else that can be done?

Perhaps, just like we place the mezuzah at an angle; we may also place the parasha of the shel yad at an angle in order to take up the slack.  This solution is brought-up in the Sefer "Zikhron Eliyahu."

Needless to say, I have tried this solution, and it did not work. The Perasha is just too large for the bayit and although part of the lower section of the scroll ended further in within the housing there still remained a significant section sticking out. See picture below.

So what else to do?  Perhaps we can flatten the parasha of the Shel Yad in a way similar to what we do when we insert the scrolls into the Shel-Rosh.  Perhaps a combination of both of the above methods will be sufficient to take up the slack and have the parasha fit fully within the bayit. So let's go and try again...

Re-wrap and we are all ready to go.  Will it work?  Here are the results.....

Much, much better, but we still have a tip of the margin sticking out.  Perhaps this may be the best that we can do?  Apply a little more pressure and... there it is!  The scroll is now inside the bayit!!!

What do you think? There are some that would hold that since the bottom part of the scroll still lies within the titurah elyona then, this section (on tefillin gazot) is considered to be outside of the bayit. This is particularly the case since there is a change in the ribuah on the outside of the Tefillah.   Notwithstanding, the above opinion, is there room to be lenient and accept this solution lechatechila and consider the parasha as laying fully within the bayit?  Or should the client be made to purchase a larger shel yad?  Your input is duly welcomed.


  1. Why would you encourage the customer to purchase a new bayit when most Poskim agree that the parsha may extend into the Titura?

  2. לעניות דעתי אלברטו צודק
    יש כאן שאלה של פסול מן התורה
    דעת המתירים לא ברורה

    1. I have had this discussion with many Poskim, and we have discussed it on this forum many times as well.

      Firstly, its important to point out that only the letters have to be in the bayis, so the space of the margin under the letters can stick out without any problem.


      Having said the above, all major poskim I have ever asked agree that in today's gassot, the titurah elyonah (above the filler piece) has the same din as bayis and is perfectly mehudar. So unless the WRITING is low enough that it protrudes past the filler, the tefillin are mehudar. This was the answer I received directly from Rav Wosner's beis din.

      In Chabad, some are more strict because of the S"A HArav who is strict about parshiyos not decending to the titurah. However it is well understood that the A'R was talking about dakkos batim which do not have an uvei titurah that is made of the same ohr as the bayis. Therefore it's much worse. Most explain the A'R would have no problem with the titurah elyona made of the same ohr as the bayis to be a non issue. This argument is brought down as well in the sefer Zichron Eliyohu, and I have previously posted it onto this forum.

      Rabbi Zirkind OBM was the one who explained this to me as well, and had no problem unless the parsha went past the filler.

  3. Thank you R. Moshe. This is my understanding as well that since whe are dealing with a Mitzva DeOraita the practice is to go LeChumra and not take into account the opinion of those that permit the partial descent of the parasha into the Titorah of Tefillin Gassot.

    The question that I have is, where do we place the limit and consider the parasha descending into the Titurah. To me it is evident that everyone agrees that as long as the parasha is above the Titurah HaElyona everyone considers it within the Bayit.

    However, what would be the case in Gassot where the parashiot descend a bit further down, yet do not descend into the Chalal, but remain within the upper Titurah? That is, if we look at the Tefillah from within the inside, the perasha appears to be fully inside the bayit. However, if looking from the outside of the Tefillah, the bottom of the perasha would appear to be whithin the thickness of the top part of the Titurah, as in my last picture above.

    My personal understanding is that this section cannot be considered as part of the bayit, for the reason that, the outer squareness of this section is completely different than that of the rest of the bayit. However, if there are those who argue, what is their rational to consider this section as part of the bayit? Also, if theirs is a proper rational to consider this as a proper part of the bayit, why should their view be considered lenient?

    My second question is regarding the placement of the parchment at an angle. The halacha requires that the writing be positioned horizontally within the bayit. If placed vertically, we are still able to use the tefillin, but we must rectify the situation as soon as possible. Would placing the parasha at angle as described above also require that we repair this situation as soon as possible because the writing is not vertical? Or is it a solution that we can apply Lechatechila as long as the writing is not vertical?

    1. I agree with what you wrote.
      In regard to the 2nd question: placing the parsha on an angle is kosher, and proof from the minhag ashkenaz [from rishonim] to place a mezuza on an angle, still does not negate Rashi and Rambam that the mezuza should be standing -vertical.

  4. Alberto, please see here

    In that post is the shtikel from the zichron Eliyohu that explains why by gassot it would be no problem even in Chabad

  5. Additionally, although in Zichron Eliyahu they interpret Chacham Ovadya as holding that parshiyos protruding into the titura elyona are pasul b'dieved, in Yeriot Shelomo he has an essay explaining that he clarified with the Yosefs that this is in fact not the case and as long as it is above the filler piece it is kosher.

  6. As R' Eli wrote, there are many (Ashkenazi) poskim who don't have an issue with the ksav of the shel yad (klaf below is never an issue) going into the titura. If you want to suggest to an Ashkenazi customer to replace his bayis shel yad (chumra), it's your obligation to make it clear to the customer that the vast majority of poskim hold it's fine.

    As the Ashkenazi poskim are mostly not makpid, the vast majority of batim makers make the shel yad too shallow to contain the entire ksav in the ketzitza.

    I'd think by folding the shel yad it would have to be pressed considerably to make it flat and may (eventually) cause ink to crack along the inner folds, which is a far more serious problem. Even on parshios shel rosh we must be very careful not to press the edges.

    What Rav Ovadia held isn't so clear. I gave Rav Gidon Ben Moshe a graphic (such as in my book) and he showed it to Rav Ovadia and Rav Ben Moshe's understanding from him was that it was pasul. Also, Rav Friedlander's understanding of the Shu't of Rav Ovadia was that it was pasul, same as how Rav Dovid Morganstern (ZA) understood it.

    I have to clarify the issue of deepening the bayis shel yad from the inside. It's commonly done, even by experts.

  7. Shalom Rav Yerachmiel,
    Indeed, that is my understanding as well of R. Ovadia's Teshuva - that it is passul. In addition, there are newer revised versions of his son's Yalkut Yosef that are clearly Machmir on this issue. The Rishon LeTzion cites both opinions but rules LeChumra.

    יש סופרים שנוהגים לקדור בתוך עובי עור התיתורא, ופרשיות התפילין יורדות מחוץ לבתים אל תוך חלל התיתורא, עד שנוגעות בגוף התיתורא, מפני שהפרשיות עודפות על הבתים, ואין נכנסות כולן לתוכן, וכמה פוסקים כתבו לפסול בזה, כי לדעתם צריך להכניס הפרשיות כולן לתוך הבתים, ולא יצא מהן החוצה כלל, ואין לומר בזה רובו ככולו. ואמנם יש חולקים וסוברים להכשיר. ולדינא יש להחמיר

    ויש מי שכתב שאם הבתים עשויים מעור אחד עם הבית, והתיתורא נכפלת מעור הבתים עצמן, יש להקל אם הפרשיות יוצאות קצת מהתיתורא. אבל אם התיתורא עשויה מב' עורות, וחפרו בתוך התיתורא, והפרשיות יורדות לתוך התיתורא התפלין פסולות

    ומדברי הפוסקים הקדמונים, לא נראה שחילקו בזה, וכל שהפרשיות יורדות לתיתורא לא נחשב שהן נמצאות בתוך ה''בית'' של התפילין, וכיון שהוא ספק דאורייתא יש להחמיר בזה. [שם הערה יב. שאר''י א עמ' תלז

    As to the pressing of the parashiot of the shelyad, it certainly can be an issue. However, by tying them with hairs from the top (like usually done on the shel rosh) as opposed to along the girth, one avoids having to press the parasha at the edges. Instead the hairs running vertically along the middle length of the parasha keep it from spreading out, thus avoiding the need to press the edges.

    Notwithstanding, as much as I have tried the parasha still extends a bit into the Titurah elyona, which for most Ashkenazim is not a problem. However, since the client follows Edot HaMizrach I have been going back and forth on this issue. My own position is to be Machmir, as R. Moshe Weiner explains above; the rational of those who are matir is not clear, plus it is an issue mideoraita. However, I also feel that it is my duty to spare the client the extra expense if possible.

    My own teacher, R. Shimon Assoulin, was careful about this lechatechila, but allowed it bedieved. Yet my own understanding differs from his, and is consistent with the interpretation of R. Ovadia's position as it being passul. Needless to say, I'm still a bit torn by this and truly appreciate your input above.

    In the end, I think I will do what I always do. I will present the situation to the client, and have him decide. I thank you very much for your post and appreciate your concerned and detailed input.

    If any one has something else to add, please go ahead and post. Your input is most welcomed.

  8. I haven't tried it but I'm not sure how much flatter you'd get the shel yad than rolling it due to the many folds required, unless pressing it as flat as possible. I'm not sure how the direction of the saaros would make much of a difference.

    I will clarify the deepening of the bayis shel yad as I know experts who do it and the sefer Yerios Shlomo suggests it and makes no comment about cutting into folds. If it’s okay, then since the ceilings are usually quite thick, a few mms should be able to be removed so this would solve the problem on some tefillin with taller ketzitzahs (and normal height parshios).
    At least on new parshios (consult a posek re used parshios) sometimes a mm or so can be trimmed off the top of the klaf and/or the longer letters on the bottom row can be shortened a bit.

    Yerios Shlomo is quite clear than even for Sephardim it is lechatchila as long as it’s not opposite the filler. He also points out, as I did in my earlier post, that the vast majority of batim are made not to hold the ksav all the way inside and that is because the vast majority of poskim hold it’s fine.

  9. Shalom R. Yerachmiel,
    One can see from the pictures posted above that rolling it flat makes a significant difference. As to this particular bayit of the shel yad, it is smaller than normal and the top is thin. Likewise, the top has folds at the top corners to take in the slack in the leather created by stretching of the skin when molding the sides of the housing.

    Because the parchment is going in flat and at an angle to the sides of the bayit, any reducing of the ceiling would have to be made at one of the top sides of the bayit. That's exactly where the folds are located.

    These glued folds act like tabs glued to the top of the bayit. They also aid in maintaining the structural integrity and squareness of the top side walls. They can be reduced a little, but not much as to make a significant difference in this case. Likewise, there is the possibility of opening a fold. So, for now, I think it best to follow R. Eli's advice.

    I very much appreciate your input and look forward to hear what the experts you know have to say.

  10. I spoke with a batim expert and a maker and they say that there's no reason for concern. It's also been recommended in Yerios Shlomo.

    The expert told me that no glues in needed and if it's put in some cheaper batim, if it's removed it should not affect the integrity of the bayis and in almost 30 years I've yet to see a bayis cave in or lose its shape on top because it was deepened.

  11. My Teffilin were drilled fifteen years ago without any problem I keep the plastic on always and BH they are fine

    My Rebbi asked Hacham Ovadia himself and he said if it sticks down onto to titura haelyona it is pasul
    I recently met a sofer from Eretz Yisroel that I am close to and he told me that he himself checked Rav Ovadias Teffilin and the parshiot stuck down onto the titura haelyona

  12. My Teffilin were drilled fifteen years ago without any problem I keep the plastic on always and BH they are fine

    My Rebbi asked Hacham Ovadia himself and he said if it sticks down onto to titura haelyona it is pasul
    I recently met a sofer from Eretz Yisroel that I am close to and he told me that he himself checked Rav Ovadias Teffilin and the parshiot stuck down onto the titura haelyona


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