Perhaps you want to take on the mitzvah of tefillin but can’t yet afford to buy a set. Perhaps you want to try the mitzvah for a while in order to decide whether you want to take it on long-term.
If you are male and traditionally Jewish, there are any number of people who will be delighted help you out. Synagogue rabbis may have spare sets or discretionary funds; it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you haven’t a synagogue, or your synagogue hasn’t funds, Chabad has a dedicated tefillin bank; contact your local Chabad to access these.
If you are female, your options are rather more limited since rather fewer people think you have any business laying tefillin at all. Even rabbis of egalitarian shuls may well be less willing to help you than to help men. Your options are also limited if you are male but Chabad et al don’t agree that you’re Jewish.
Our tefillin loans exist to help people who are serious about the mitzvah of tefillin but do not have the means to buy their own.
How do I get some?
In the interests of strengthening communities, I ask that you try local resources first. If you do belong to a synagogue, ask whether there are spare tefillin, or discretionary funds which could help you. Or if your bar mitzvah pair is languishing in your parents’ attic, call your parents. For example.
If you have funds, but just aren’t sure if you want to take on the mitzvah, you may be asked to make a deposit while you are borrowing tefillin.
If you do not have funds, references may be provided in lieu of a deposit.
You may choose to save up for a pair of your own while you are borrowing, or you may (depending on availability) be able to buy the pair you have borrowed.
Can I donate?
By all means. Donations of tefillin are gladly received; financial donations also very welcome.
If you’d like to donate tefillin but aren’t sure whether they’re kosher, don’t worry; they will be checked and repaired if possible, and if they can’t be made kosher they will be used for teaching people about tefillin.
What do you mean, test out the mitzvah?
Many people operate in a framework in which adopting certain mitzvot is a personal choice. It is hard to make informed choices about a mitzvah like tefillin without trying it first.