Small Shel Yad

Tefilin with small shel yad

The Tefilin Shel Yad is supposed to sit on the lower half of the bicep of the non-dominant arm. A standard-sized bayis (50mm) has a base that is about 68mm long. On many Bar-Mitzvah-age boys (as well as adults of slight stature), there is not enough room on the lower half of the bicep to hold a standard sized bayis, so part of the bayis rests on the upper half of the muscle. Many Poskim hold that the entire bayis must rest on the lower half of the muscle. To comply with their opinion, it is possible to get a Shel Yad with a base that is 42mm × 60mm (about 20% smaller).

note: The Shel Rosh would be 50mm regardless — making it smaller involves many technical and halachic difficulties. There is no halachic reason for the batim to be exactly the same size.

As of this posting (Iyar 5771), a smaller Shel Yad adds less than $50 to the price of the Tefilin.

UPDATE (Kislev 5777): A small shel yad can be added free of charge to any complete tefilin order.1

-= 8 =-

  1. Prices subject to change. Contact me for details.