Teaching Students About Tefillin: A Comprehensive Guide


Tefillin, a sacred item in Jewish tradition, holds great significance to the Jewish people. It is a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with specific Torah verses. Tefillin is worn by adult Jewish males during morning prayers as a means of connecting with God and reminding oneself of their obligations to the Almighty. Therefore, teaching students about Tefillin plays a crucial role in nurturing their cultural identity and religious understanding.

Step-by-Step Guide on Teaching Students About Tefillin

1. Introduce the Concept of Tefillin

Begin with an introduction to the concept, purpose, and history of Tefillin. Explain that it is a mitzvah (commandment) given by God to bind the Tefillin on one’s arm and forehead during weekday morning prayers. This physical act serves as an outward expression of commitment and meditation for the Jewish people.

2. Teach the Components of Tefillin

Demonstrate both the Shel Rosh (head Tefillin) and Shel Yad (hand Tefillin) components. Discuss the different materials used, such as leather straps and parchment scrolls inscribed with specific verses from the Torah (Exodus 13:1-10, 13:1116, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and 11:13-21). Also, explain how the boxes and straps are meticulously crafted by skilled artisans called soferim (scribes). Ensure that students understand the importance of having kosher Tefillin.

3. Demonstrate How to Put on Tefillin

Show students how to put on the Tefillin correctly according to Jewish law (Halacha). Start with placing the Shel Yad on their weaker arm – adjacent to their heart – then progress towards wrapping the straps around their arm following a specific pattern. Next, showcase placing the Shel Rosh on their forehead between the eyebrows. Finally, wrap the straps around the hand and fingers to complete the process.

4. Discuss the Prayers Recited While Binding Tefillin

Introduce students to the brachot (blessings) and prayers recited during the process of putting on Tefillin. Teach them how to properly pronounce each prayer and delve into a deeper understanding of their meanings and significance in context with wearing Tefillin.

5. Encourage Practical Experience

Provide opportunities for students practically to experience putting on Tefillin – under your supervision – so they can get accustomed to the process. This hands-on approach will enhance their learning immensely and leave them with a cherished memory.

6. Appreciate Tefillin’s Symbolism and Its Importance

Help students grasp the deeper symbolism behind Tefillin, such as how it symbolizes unity with God, continuous devotion, and a reminder of their Jewish identity. Encourage them to reflect on its importance in their lives as they grow within their Jewish faith.


Teaching students about Tefillin involves not only imparting knowledge but also fostering an understanding of Jewish practices, heritage, and values. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that this sacred tradition is passed down from generation to generation, enriching our students’ spiritual lives while strengthening their connection to their faith.

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