all black Tefillin Retzuot Straps

Retzuot Tefillin Straps

great Discussion about Tefillin Straps – Retzuot: Various requests from my customers have lead me to research the Halachot and customs regarding Tefillin straps. In fact, a specific description made by one of my clients led me on an enlightening journey to learn much more about Tefillin straps.

What makes Tefillin kosher?

What makes Kosher Tefillin ?

Much work goes into making a pair of  kosher Tefillin , Mezuzah, etc.






I personally write the parchment scrolls. In order for Tefillin or Mezuza to be kosher it must be written on parchment from a kosher type of animal. The ink also needs to be kosher and black as a Raven and must be a certain consistency so that it does not get too absorbed into the klaf parchment so that it can be erased with a blade.

kosher ink needs to be as black as a raven
kosher ink needs to be as black as a raven

Mezuzot and Tefillin must be written in order

Mezuzot and Tefillin must be written in order from the first letter to the last. Because of this, fixing them is often forbidden. The unkosher scrolls are buried in the Geniza.

Maimonides – Rambam style Parchment

Gall from an Oak Tree often called Oak Apple
Gall from an Oak Tree often called Oak Apple

I buy the lined parchments clean without writing as well as Tefillin Boxes,  as I do not make these . Many hours of work go into making these, They are all hand made too. The parchments need to be treated. According to  Maimonides – Rambam and the Talmud  (Shabat 75 b)  the parchment needs to be salted, treated with flower and then with Gall.

Most parchment today is not made according to Rambam,  instead it is treated with lime. Those who make the Klaf according to Rambam today make a very superior parchment that is a pleasure to write on. It costs 3 times as much for this parchment. You can order Rambam Mezuzot and Tefillin directly from me.


Tefillin Parchment written on Oak Gall treated parchment.
Tefillin Parchment written on Gall treated parchment.
Mezzuza Scroll written on Lime treated parchment
Mezzuza Scroll written on Lime treated parchment – Clear and Beautiful Handwriting of Rabbi Steve Bar Yakov Gindi

The boxes of tefillin are also made of leather and are also completely hand made. Many Halachot apply to the Boxes of Tefillin. They need to be square, The pattern of the holes for the sewing must be square. It must have a whole for the straps to pass through and much more. The Tefillin put on the head needs to have four completely separate compartments. They must be sewed closed using a thread made of sinew.

The parchments need to rolled up and placed in the correct order in the boxes. The klaf parchments need to be wrapped in another piece of blank parchment and tied closed with hairs from the tail of a kosher animal.
Many man hours of work go into preparing the parchment, ink and Boxes of these holy articles. This is why you should be suspicious if a Mezuza costs less than you would pay a professional worker for 2 hours of work and a pair of Tefillin for 25 – 30 hours of work.

I have only touched on the many Halachot  regarding Tefillin and Mezuzot. Much More has not been discussed.

I have previously discussed the meaning of the contents from the Torah wirtten on the parchments  of Mezuzot and Tefillin, you can read them at : My milknhoney website 

Vaetchanan Teaching Your Kids To Be Sharp – Inside Tefillin

Inside Tefillin – Teaching Your Kids To Be Sharp

The Shemah Yisrael prayer we place inside Mezuzot hung on our doorframes and repeat it several times a day. This prayer contains the words “Veshinantam Lebanecha – Teach them to your children” These two Hebrew words are very powerful. Tons of discussion can be based on them. The literal and accepted translation of the word “Veshinantam” is to teach. However, the word also contains the best method of teaching them. Its root “Shenen” mean to sharpen. The Halachic Midrash Sifrey (34) points this out, it sites the Pasuk (Tehilim 45-6) Your Arrows are sharpened – “Hitzecha Shenunim”.

You Children Should be Sharp
You Children Should be Sharp

The Sifrey says that you should know the Torah so that it will be sharp in your mouth. If anyone asks you a question you shouldn’t stammer when answering instead you should answer right away. (See Rashi) Rashbam builds on this concept by stating “Veshinantam” is a usage of the root “to sharpen”, you should know how to explain them clearly as “They sharpened their tongue like a sword” (Tehilim 64 – 4) Interestingly enough the sharpened tongue in that chapter of Tehilim does not refer to those who sharpen themselves with Torah but to the evil enemy politicians who were ministers that entrapped and destroyed people with their evil tongues. We can see that one can use the human mind’s sharpness to clearly understand many concepts starting with Torah knowledge through knowing all about sports or politics to memorizing evil methods like torture, murder, theft and rape.