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Hilchos Tefillin 25 (page 65)

The Necessary Intentions When Donning Tefillin
The Beracha on Tefillin
Reciting Baruch Shem After a Beracha L'vatalah

The necessary intentions when donning tefillin 

When discussing tefillin the Torah says: "...in order that Hashem's Torah may be in your mouth, for with a strong hand Hashem removed you from Mitzrayim." Chazal understood the pasuk to be instructing us to bear in mind a special kavanah for tefillin on top of the standard kavanah needed for every mitzva. When putting on tefillin one should consider that these four parshiyos -- shema, v'haya im shamoa, kadesh and v'haya ki yeviacha - declare:  1) the Oneness of Hashem, 2) yetzias Mitzrayim and the many miracles that Hashem performs for us, and 3) Hashem's ability to control His creations. We are to tie the tefillin on our arms (near our hearts) and on our heads (the seat of the neshama) as a reminder of the obligation to serve Him with our hearts and minds.

(סעיף ה וס"ק טו)


The beracha on tefillin 

According to many Rishonim, the Mechaber and the Gra, only one beracha-l'haniach tefillin-is recited before tightening the shel yad and no beracha is recited on the shel rosh. According to many other Rishonim and the Rama, the beracha of l'haniach is recited before the shel yad and a second beracha of al mitzvas is recited before the shel rosh. The most common Ahkenazi practice follows the opinion of the Rama, and two berachos are said. Nevertheless, the custom is to recite baruch shem after positioning the tefillin on the head in case the beracha was unnecessary.

(סעיף ה, ס"ק כא, וביה"ל ד"ה וטוב)

Reciting baruch shem after a beracha l'vatalah

Someone who starts, or completes, an unnecessary beracha should immediately recite the pasuk baruch shem. The Rambam explains that if Hashem's name is ever mentioned in error, the speaker should immediately rectify it by reciting Hashem's praises to transform it from being recited in vain. If someone began an unnecessary beracha and is required to praise Hashem but at the same time needs to respond yehei shemai rabbah, there is an opinion suggesting that this expression can serve as the required praise.

(ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 30)







  • The Zohar emphasizes the importance of donning talis and tefillin at home and then going to shul wrapped in his talis and crowned with tefillin. When possible, it is appropriate to do so.
  • Chazal considered the recitation of Shema without tefillin to be like bearing false witness. Nevertheless, a person should not postpone reciting Shema past the zman if he is still waiting for tzitzis or tefillin at that time.
  • A person should focus on fulfilling the mitzva of loving Hashem before reciting the verse of v'ahavta es Hashem so as to keep his speech commensurate with his beliefs.






  • Donning the arm tefillin before the head tefillin

  • When to recite the beracha on tefillin

  • Avoiding interruptions between the arm and head tefillin