STaM Alert: Double Sided Black Retzuos

21  Tevet 5771
December 28, 2010

tefillin-strapsAn advisory has been issued concerning to those individuals who have purchased double-sided black retzuos.

One may think that since they are black on both sides that they are also black in the inside and therefore do not to be checked for cracking or not being black on the outer surface.

However, although they are painted black on both sides the middle remains white or grayish. They are not 100% black inside and out, and therefore when the paint cracks the reztuos will not be black on the outer surface which is required according to halachic.

If the straps are not black when they are worn, they are considered invalid. In order to use them one would have to paint them so that they are totally black on the outer surface when worn.

The blackness is judged when they are being worn, not when spread flat. 

Remember: One must say: –“ leshem kedushas Tefillin” before painting the straps of Tefillin.

To contact Rabbi Moshe Flumenbaum directly, one may email


  • Moshe
    December 28, 2010 - 13:12 | Permalink

    so what is the benefit to the double-sided black retzuot? In any case, the paint could come off or crack and it would have to be reapplied no matter what the other side looks like.

  • Yaakov freed
    December 28, 2010 - 14:29 | Permalink

    Keep up the זכוי הרבים!
    Your friend
    Yaakov Fried

  • Yaakov K
    December 28, 2010 - 23:38 | Permalink

    My uncle is making a bar mitzva for his son this week, and he told me that the straps on the tefillin that he purchased are totally soaked through in black and not just painted black on both sides. So I suppose there are a number of different styles, but I don’t think it is correct to say that all double sided black straps are problematic.

  • Michael Tzadok
    December 29, 2010 - 12:13 | Permalink

    My simple question is this. Is Rabbi Flumenbaum going to continue to attack anything sold by someone else then himself?

    All black tefillin straps in various Halakhic sources are stated as those died all the way through black. Rav Eliyahu ZTz”L, Rav Abba Shaul ZTz”L, Rav S.Z. Auerbach ZTz”L(and the list goes on) have all written that they are preferrable because they eliminate the danger of them becoming pasul on account of cracking.

    So who is the authority that this issuing this warning that is contrary to so many Gedolim?

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