Orthodox Flap Rages Over Tefillin Straps

Several recent rabbinic rulings that have invalidated certain kinds of tefillin straps as unfit for use are causing an uproar in the Orthodox community.

A number of rabbis in Jerusalem, Chicago, Brooklyn and Lakewood, N.J., have issued rulings prohibiting the use of tefillin straps (retzuot in Hebrew) that peel, and so-called leatherboard straps, according to Yeshiva World News. One community newspaper in New York, the Five Towns Jewish Times, reportedly has been paying for laboratory tests to determine whether newly manufactured straps – which according to Jewish law must be leather and painted black – contain any laminates or other foreign materials.

The straps at issue are relatively recent innovations and have been on the market only in the past year and a half or so, according to the reports.

At issue with the peelable straps is whether the black peel is made of dye and is part of the strap, or whether it is a fabricated laminate. Some rabbis have ruled that the peelable straps are kosher, the Orthodox website Vos Iz Neias reported.

At issue with the leatherboard straps is whether the material used in the strap was made expressly for use in tefillin, or phylacteries.

Written by


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Orthodox Flap Rages Over Tefillin Straps

Thank you!

This article has been sent!