Sunday, 18 May 2014

Left Handed

Question: I am left handed. Other than placing Tefillin on my right arm, are there any other considerations that I should be aware of?
Answer: Which hand a left-handed person should use, depends on which reason a right-handed person is supposed to use their right hand: either because their right hand is more prominent, or because Kabbalistically, the right hand represents the force of Chessed.
The Mishna Berura (4:22) writes that when washing one’s hands, one washes one’s right hand first irrespective as to whether one is right or left-handed. Likewise, everyone should put their right sleeve, etc. in first when getting dressed (See Mishna Berura 2:4). Unlike right-handed people who tie their left shoes first, however, left-handed people should tie their right shoes first (corresponding to which arm they would tie their Tefillin on).
R’ Chaim Kanievsky (Ish Iteir n19) writes that when saying Shema, one should always use one’s right hand to cover one’s eyes.
The Mishna Berura (206:18) writes that a left-handed person should hold the food in their left hand when reciting a Bracha.
Many Sefardim follow the Shulchan Aruch (OC 651:3) who writes that a left-handed person should hold the Lulav in their right hand while most Ashkenazim follow the Rema who writes that one should use one’s left hand.
R’ Paysach Krohn (Yad Eliezer p25) writes that the consensus is that a left-handed person should blow the Shofar from his right side.


  1. What about when doing nafilas apayim for a child who does not yet wear tefillin? Would he lean on his right arm?

  2. No, he'd also lean on his left arm, as would a grown-up during Mincha.
    R' Paysach Krohn (Yad Eliezer p15) explains:
    This is done because of the respect one must pay to Hashem who is considered as being on man’s right side, in accord with the verse ה' צִלְּךָ, עַל-יַד יְמִינֶךָ. “Hashem is your shadow, at your right side (Tehillim 121:5)”