Shipping & Storing Tefilin


When tefilin are shipped long distance, they should be wrapped protectively. This usually includes wrapping them together in airtight packaging to protect against moisture and to prevent the retzu’os from unraveling.1

NOTE: Since tefilin are essentially made of leather, they should never be stored in an airtight container for an extended period of time.

Ideally, once a shipped pair of tefilin has reached its destination, it should be given a chance to “breathe”: After removing the protective wrapping, the retzu’os should be unwound and the batim should be taken out of the covers. The retzu’os should then be spread out as much as possible (loosely arranged) and the tefilin should sit for several hours in the open air. When leaving tefilin unprotected in this way, make sure they are in a safe, clean, cool, and dry location.2 After airing the tefilin out, put the covers back on the batim, rewind the retzu’os, put the tefilin into a fabric bag, and place them in a drawer or on a shelf until needed.

Airing out tefilin


It is not recommended to use a “T’fidanit” or similar protective case for permanent tefilin storage. These cases are weatherproof by design, and are therefore not ideal for long-term use.3 They are useful as a short-term solution to protect the tefilin from adverse conditions that may be present during military service or while traveling. After concluding these activities, it would be preferable to take the tefilin out of the protective container and store them in a breathable fabric bag. For everyday use, the standard hard plastic covers that go over the batim offer adequate protection for most people.

T'fidanit In situations where it is appropriate to use a T’fidanit-style container, there is another issue which should be taken into consideration: By design, the tefilin are stacked in the case with one bayis on top of the other. From a practical perspective, the shel yad – which is used first – must sit on top of the shel rosh. This placement is not ideal, because the shel rosh has a higher level of kedusha, and should not be stored underneath the shel yad. Some poskim say that protecting the tefilin from damage is more important than respecting their relative kedusha status, but this opinion may only apply in a situation where the tefilin are in a truly hazardous environment. In any event, this issue can be avoided altogether by keeping the T’fidanit on its side4 – as opposed to standing upright – which will position the batim next to each other.

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  1. If rough handling is expected, they can also be packed in a cushioning material (e.g. bubble-wrap). ↩

  2. It can not be overemphasized that tefilin must be stored in a cool and dry environment. Heat and humidity can cause the four sections of the shel rosh to spread apart – potentially invalidating the tefilin. This is even more of a concern when “airing out” the tefilin, because the batim are more susceptible to warping when they are out of their protective covers. If the ambient temperature and humidity can not be adequately controlled, the retzu’os should still be unwound and spread out after shipping, but the batim should remain in the covers. As an additional precaution, the “breathing” period should be restricted to an hour or less. ↩

  3. See the note above. ↩

  4. Since the container is tube-shaped, extra care must be taken to make sure it doesn’t roll away and fall. ↩