By: Rabbi Ari Enkin
In addition to the Tefillin of Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam (which was discussed here: link), there are in fact two additional types of Tefillin that are somewhat rare. These are the Tefillin known as “Shimusha Rabba” and “Ra’avad”. The former are what can be called the mirror image of the Rashi Tefillin, while the latter mirror the Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin. Although there are actually scores of opinions on how Tefillin should be prepared, there are generally only four types of Tefillin which are worn today. The commentators teach that the Hebrew words of the verse “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace”, refer to these four types of Tefillin. It is interesting to note that according to Torah law there may be no true obligation to wear Tefillin every single day, though of course, doing so has become normative practice.
As is the case with Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin, the issues surrounding Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad Tefillin concerns the order of the parshiot, though there are also some subtle differences in the style of writing used in Shimusha Rabba Tefillin. The Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad Tefillin are essentially unrelated to any practical halachic disputes and are only intended for those individuals attracted to mystical practices. Wearing these Tefillin also requires one to be exceptionally pure in both mind and body. Only the most pious individuals wear these Tefillin. It is reported that when Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson had encouraged his son-in-law Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson to begin wearing all four pairs of Tefillin he told him that it should remain a secret.
It is taught that the Tefillin of Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad relate to a higher level of Divinity than those of Rashi or even of Rabbeinu Tam. The Tefillin of Rashi relate to a level of Divinity known as “Mochin D’imma” in Kabalistic literature while the Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam relate to a level known as “Mochin D’abba”. The Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad Tefillin relate to the highest level of Divinity known as “Keter”. It is for this reason that a blessing is only recited when putting on Rashi Tefillin. The great spiritual energies that are aroused when wearing the other pairs of Tefillin transcend the need for a blessing to be recited upon them.
Not everyone who wears the Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad Tefillin does so with a complete set. For example, the Rebbes of Chabad advise that those who choose to wear Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad Tefillin merely use the shel-rosh of these sets. According to this approach, one wears the Rashi Tefillin for the entire Shacharit service. Following Shacharit, one removes only the shel-rosh of the Rashi Tefillin and replaces it with the shel-rosh of the Shimusha Rabba Tefillin. The Shema should be recited at this time. Afterwards, one puts on the Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin and again recites the Shema. Finally, the head piece of the Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin is removed and replaced with the shel-rosh of the Ra’avad Tefillin and the Shema is recited once more. There are a number of other suggested readings one can undertake while wearing the different sets of Tefillin as well.
In some circles the custom is to wear the Tefillin of Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam at Shacharit and the Shimusha Rabba and Ra’avad Tefillin at Mincha. The Shimusha Rabba Tefillin are always made exceptionally large in order to comply with his view that the Tefillin boxes must be a minimum size of two fingers by two fingers. It is interesting to note that according to some opinions there is actually no difference between Rashi and Shimusha Rabba Tefillin other than the size of the Tefillin boxes. According to this approach, the order of the parshiot is identical. It is for this reason that some individuals use very large boxes for the Rashi Tefillin. In this way one is able to accommodate both the view of Rashi and Shimusha Rabba at once according to the view that the only difference between them is the size of the boxes.
 Some the halachot as to the writing and placement of Shimusha Rabba Tefillin can be found in the Halachot Ketanot of the Rosh in the back of Masechet Menachot as well as in Ot Chaim 34.
 The order of Shimusha Rabba Tefillin is: V’haya Im Shamoa, Shema, V’haya Ki Yeviacha, Kadesh. The order of Ra’avad Tefillin is: Shema, V’haya Im Shamoa, V’haya Ki Yeviacha, Kadesh
 Tehillim 37:37, Pri Etz Chaim, Sha’ar Hatefillin 10
 Teshuvot V’hanhagot 2:7
 Orchot Chaim 34:2, cited in Ta’amei Haminhagim
 See Igrot Harames, sec. 5: “The Tefillin of Shimusha Rabba… require an untainted body, and pure and clean thoughts.” R. Menachem Azariah of Fano writes in his Responsa that “these Tefillin plumb such deep mysteries that permission was barely granted to use them.” Accordingly, as Ot Chaim (sec. 34) writes at length, most people do not put them on. The author of Emek Hamelech writes in Sha’ar Kiryat Arba. 68: “There is no one who can put on those Tefillin, which relate to [the transcendent level of Divinity known as] Arich, and which are arranged according to the teachings of the author of Shimusha Rabba… no man can put them on.” Cited at: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/proceeding-together-1/02.htm
 It is well known that all the Rebbes of Chabad wore four pairs of Tefillin regularly. In this case, however, Rabbi Menachem Mendel was being told to begin wearing all fours pairs of Tefillin long before he was to become the Rebbe of Chabad. It is believed that Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak’s directive was a hint that Rabbi Menachem Mendel would be the next Rebbe of Chabad.
 Cited at: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/proceeding-together-1/02.htm#n32
 The Atzei Eden on Menachot chapter. 4 writes that a beracha should be pronounced over the Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam when they are being used alone. The author of Matzat Shimurim holds that the same applies to the Tefillin of Shimusha Rabba. There are also views cited in Ta’amei Haminhagim that one could recite a blessing over Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin. See also Torah Or, Shemot 52b
 Hayom Yom, p. 80; see also Likutei Sichot, Vol. II, p. 507ff.
 Piskei Teshuvot 34:1 n.8. According to Sefer Ma’amar Mordechai, cited in Ta’amei Haminhagim, this is the only difference between Shimusha Rabba and Rashi Tefillin. It is recorded that this was the opinion of the Ari, as well.