With Shabbos ending early this time of year, Motzei Shabbosim become opportunities for productive and significant meaningful activities such as special shiurim, Avos U’banim, and chesed programs. But last Motzei Shabbos presented a unique opportunity for the Rebbeim and bochurim of Yeshiva Mayan HaTorah of Lakewood. They spent the evening tapping in to the unique services of the Tefillin Awareness Project (TAP), also known as Hanacha K’Halacha.
TAP is a program that raises awareness of the proper way to perform the mitzvah of tefillin. At designated times, qualified sofrim visit shuls and Yeshivas in different communities to check and adjust the tefillin of mispallelim. They adjust the placement of the Rosh, the Yad, both kesharim, the blackness, width and condition of the retzuos, the tefiros, the re’buah, and more.
According to TAP askonim, many people are simply unaware that they are not wearing their tefillin properly, and some are thus not yotzeh the mitzvah. TAP was established to help correct that unfortunate reality. The program is endorsed by leading Rabbonim, Admorim, and Roshei Yeshiva both in the United States and Eretz Yisroel. TAP’s services are free of charge to the individual but sponsors are appreciated.
According to R’ Avrohom Schachter, founder and director of TAP, the program has visited over 600 sites since its inception twelve years ago, usually in the mornings after Shacharis minyanim. This is the first time, he says, that TAP sofrim visited a site in the evening hours. It turned out to be a huge success.
It was actually Rav Avrohom Mordechai Newman, Rosh Yeshivas Mayan HaTorah, who encouraged Mr. Schachter to introduce the program on Motzei Shabbos. “It’s a time when the boys are readily available and everybody is relaxed,” he said. Mr. Schachter reviewed the halachos and discovered that it is permitted to put on tefillin in the evening for this purpose “as long as you don’t make a bracha and you have in mind not to be mekayaim the mitzvah.”
Mr. Schachter arrived at the Yeshiva with two sofrim and two batim machers. The program was to have lasted until 10:30 PM but in fact they were all busy until almost midnight. Many residents of the neighborhood joined as well, eager to take advantage of this opportunity to have their tefillin properly checked.
As it turned out, the sofrim found serious issues that needed correction in some of the tefillin that were checked and there were even a few that were actually posul. Retzuos (straps) had to be changed and others repainted. Mr. Schachter isn’t surprised. “It’s not just the middle aged population who need to have their tefillin checked,” he said. “We’ve discovered issues in the tefillin belonging to people of all ages, even young bochurim.” Occasionally, the tefiros (stitching) of a bochur’s tefillin can loosen or tear. And there are times when boys discover that they are not wearing their shel yad or shel rosh in the proper place.
Mr. Schachter encourages other Yeshivos to consider hosting a Tefillin program, and recommends it as an excellent Motzei Shabbos activity. “The atmosphere is relaxed,” he points out. “Nobody is rushing off to breakfast.” Other times are equally beneficial.
It’s a long winter with many weeks of long Motzei Shabbosim stretching before us. TAP can make that time productive and meaningful. Says Mr. Schachter, “Take advantage of the clock.”
For more information about Hanacha K’halacha (TAP), call 646 776 2220 or email [email protected]. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
(TLS – Press Release)