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Tefillin, Mezuzah and Sefer Torah - Chapter Four

Tefillin, Mezuzah and Sefer Torah - Chapter Four

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Halacha 1

Where are the head tefillin placed? They should be placed at the point of the skull, the end of the hairline towards the face, the place where a child's brain [can be felt] to pulsate.

Care must be taken to position them in the center, so that they will be "between the eyes." The knot should be at the top portion of the neck, the bottom of the skull.

Halacha 2

The arm [tefillin] should be tied to one's left arm at the muscle - i.e., the bulging flesh of the arm between the shoulder and the elbow. Thus, if one presses his arm to his ribs, the tefillah will be opposite his heart, thus fulfilling the directive [Deuteronomy 6:6], "And these words... shall be upon your heart."

Halacha 3

A person who places the arm tefillah on his palm, or the head tefillah on his forehead, follows the way of the Sadducees. A person who makes his tefillin rounded like a nut does not fulfill the mitzvah at all.

A left-handed person puts tefillin on his right hand, since [figuratively,] it is his left hand. If he is ambidextrous, he should place them on his left hand - i.e., his left hand in a literal sense.

The places where to tie and place the tefillin were received as part of the oral tradition.

Halacha 4

The [absence of the] head tefillah does not preclude [wearing tefillin] on the arm, and similarly, the [absence of the] arm tefillah does not preclude [wearing tefillin] on the head. They are two mitzvot, each one to be considered independently.

What blessings are recited? On the head tefillin, one recites: "[Blessed are You...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of tefillin." On the arm tefillin, one recites: "[Blessed are You...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to put on tefillin."

Halacha 5

When does the above apply? When one puts on only one of them. If, however, one puts them both on, one recites only a single blessing, "...to put on tefillin."

One should tie the tefillin on one's arm, and afterwards put on the head tefillin. When one removes them, the head tefillin should be removed, and then the arm tefillin.

Halacha 6

[After] reciting the blessing, "...to put on tefillin," and tying the tefillin on one's arm, one is forbidden to talk - even to respond to a greeting from one's teacher - until he puts on the head tefillin. If he talks, it is considered to be a transgression. [In such an instance,] one is required to recite the second blessing, "...concerning the mitzvah of tefillin," and then put on the head tefillin.

Halacha 7

Whenever a person puts on tefillin - even if he removes them and puts them on several times throughout the day - he should recite a blessing for them.

With regard to all mitzvot: one recites a blessing for them before performing them. Therefore, one should recite the blessing for the arm tefillah after placing it on one's muscle, before tying it, since tying it comprises the fulfillment of the mitzvah.

Halacha 8

When a person removes his tefillin to place them in a container, he should not place the arm tefillah below and the head tefillah above, because when he wants to put them on, he will encounter the head tefillah first. Thus, he will [be forced to] ignore it and take out the arm tefillah, since one should not put on the head tefillah before the arm tefillah.

[This is undesirable because] it is forbidden for a person to ignore one mitzvah and proceed to the fulfillment of another mitzvah. Rather, as soon as a mitzvah comes to a person's hand, he should occupy himself with it. Therefore, a person should place the arm tefillin above, so that he will encounter it first, and thus put on the tefillin in the proper sequence.

Halacha 9

A container that was made for tefillin to be placed in and which was used for that purpose becomes holy. It is forbidden to use it for mundane purposes.

If a container was prepared for that purpose, but never used for it, or if a container was temporarily used for tefillin, but was not prepared for that purpose, it does not become holy. Rather, it is considered an ordinary article as before.

It is forbidden to suspend tefillin. [This applies regardless of whether one suspends them] by their straps or from the tefillah itself. One may, however, suspend the bag in which they are placed.

Halacha 10

The time for wearing tefillin is the day and not the night, as [Exodus 13:10] states: "And you shall observe this statute in its appointed time, from day to day." "This statute" refers to the mitzvah of tefillin.

Similarly, Sabbaths and holidays are not days on which tefillin [are worn], as [Exodus 13:9] states: "And they shall be a sign for you." Since the Sabbaths and the holidays are themselves signs, [the sign of tefillin is unnecessary].

When does the time to put them on begin? When one can see a colleague standing four cubits away and recognize him. [It continues] until sunset.

Halacha 11

It is permitted for a person who put on tefillin before sunset to continue wearing them after nightfall. They may even remain upon him the entire night.

This law, however, is not to be taught in public. Instead, everyone should be taught not to wear tefillin at night and to remove them before sunset.

A person who puts on tefillin after sunset transgresses a Scriptural prohibition, as [implied by Exodus 13:10]: "And you shall observe this statute... from day to day."

Halacha 12

When a person is wearing tefillin in the midst of a journey and the sun sets, marking the commencement of the Sabbath, he should cover them with his hand until he reaches his home and then, remove them.

If he is sitting in the house of study and the sun sets, marking the commencement of the Sabbath, he should cover them with his hand until he reaches his home, and then remove them.

If there is a house located near the wall [of a city] where they would be safe, he should place them there. If, however, he did not remove his tefillin after sunset because he did not have a place where they would be safe, it is permissible for him to continue wearing them in order to protect them.

Halacha 13

All those who are exempt from the obligation to recite the Shema are exempt from the obligation to wear tefillin. If a minor knows [the importance of] guarding his tefillin, his father should obtain tefillin for him, to educate him regarding the performance of mitzvot.

A person with stomach problems and anyone who can contain his excretory functions only with difficulty are exempt from the obligation to wear tefillin. [In contrast,] all those ritually impure are obligated to wear tefillin like one who is pure.

A person who suffers discomfort, or someone who is disturbed and cannot concentrate his thoughts, is exempt from the obligation to wear tefillin, since a person who wears tefillin is forbidden to divert his attention from them.

Priests who are in the midst of [the Temple] service, Levites who chant on the platform, and Israelites while they are attending the Temple [ceremonies] are exempt from the obligation to pray and to wear tefillin.

Halacha 14

A person should touch his tefillin [from time to time] during the entire time he is wearing them, so that he will not divert his attention from them even for a single moment, for their holiness surpasses that of the tzitz. The tzitz has God's name [written] upon it only once, while the head tefillin - and similarly, the arm tefillin - contain the name י-ה-ו-ה 21 times.

Halacha 15

tefillin require a clean body; i.e., that one should be careful not to release gas while wearing them.

Accordingly, it is forbidden to sleep while wearing them - neither a long sleep nor a nap. If, however, one places a cloth over them and a woman is not with him, one may nap while wearing them. What should he do? Place his head between his knees and sleep while sitting.

Halacha 16

A person who has tefillin wound around his hand is permitted to sleep with them. [This applies] even to a long sleep.

He may eat only a snack while wearing them. If, however, he enters to partake of a regular meal, he should remove them and place them on the table until after he washes his hands [at the conclusion of the meal]. Afterwards, he should put them on and recite grace over his meal while wearing them.

Halacha 17

[The following rules apply with regard to a person] wearing tefillin who must use the lavatory: [He should remove his tefillin but,] while he enters, he should not place them in the holes [of the outer wall of the lavatory] which are near the public domain, lest they be taken by passersby.

What should he do? Even if he [merely] has to urinate, he should remove his tefillin four cubits away [from the lavatory] and roll them in his clothes like a Torah scroll, holding them near his heart with his right hand. He must take care that the strap does not protrude more than a handbreadth from his hand. Afterwards, he should enter and relieve himself. After leaving the lavatory and walking more than four cubits away, he should put them on.

Halacha 18

When does the above apply? In a permanent lavatory where drops [of urine] will not sprinkle upon him. In contrast, in a place that is temporarily being used as a lavatory, one should not enter, [holding tefillin] wound up in one's hand. Instead, one should remove them [outside the lavatory] and give them to a colleague to guard.

Urine cannot be expelled [without drops sprinkling] even in a permanent lavatory unless one squats. If [the floor is covered] with soft dust, [drops will not sprinkle] even when one stands. If the floor is hard, one should stand on an incline [and urinate], so that drops will not sprinkle on him.

Halacha 19

When a person is wearing tefillin and must relieve himself in the evening, when there would be no time left in the day to put them on again after he finishes, he should not enter a lavatory, [holding them] rolled up in his clothes.

What should he do [instead]? He should remove them and place them in their container if it is a handbreadth in size, or in another container which is not specific for them even though it is not a handbreadth in size. He should hold the container in his hand when he enters the lavatory. Similarly, if he needs to relieve himself at night, he should place them in a container and enter the lavatory, holding the tefillin in his hand.

Halacha 20

If a person forgot and entered a lavatory while wearing tefillin, he should cover them with his hand until he completes expelling the first issue of feces or urine, and then leave the lavatory, remove the tefillin, return, and complete relieving himself. Were one to interrupt in the midst of expelling the first outburst of feces or urine, he might become very dangerously ill.

Halacha 21

If a person forgot and had intercourse while wearing tefillin, he should not hold either the straps or the compartments themselves until he washes his hands. [Then, he should] remove them. [This restriction was instituted] because hands are active.

Halacha 22

[The following rules apply to] a person who enters a bathhouse: In the rooms where people stand clothed, it is permitted to put on tefillin. In the rooms where some of the people stand naked and some clothed, one need not remove one's tefillin, nor, at the outset, should one put tefillin on there. In the rooms where [everyone] stands naked, one should remove one's tefillin and, needless to say, one should not put them on.

Halacha 23

A person should not walk in a cemetery wearing his head tefillin. Even [outside a cemetery], a person should remove his tefillin if he comes within four cubits of a corpse or a grave, until he distances himself four cubits from them.

A person should not put on tefillin [when he is naked]. He must first cover his genitalia and put on his clothes.

A person who is carrying a load on his head should remove his head tefillin [and not put it on again] until he puts down his load. It is even forbidden to wear a handkerchief around one's head when wearing tefillin. One may, however, wear a hat over the tefillin.

Halacha 24

When tefillin or a Torah scroll are in a room, it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations, unless they are removed or placed into a container, and that container placed into a second container which is not specific to them. If, however, the second container designated for them, even ten containers are considered as a single container.

Should a person place [the sacred articles] in two containers, he may place them at the head of his bed, between a cushion and a pillow, as long as they are not under his head, so that he can protect them. [This applies] even if his wife is together with him in bed.

Halacha 25

The holiness associated with tefillin is very great. As long as a person is wearing tefillin on his head and arm, he will be humble and God-fearing and will not be drawn to frivolous behavior or empty speech. He will not turn his thoughts to evil matters, but rather will direct his heart to words of truth and justice.

Accordingly, a person should try to wear [tefillin] throughout the entire day, for this is the mitzvah associated with them. Among the praises conveyed upon Rav, the student of Rabbenu Hakadosh, was that he was never seen walking four cubits without [reciting words of] Torah, without tzitzit, and without tefillin.

Halacha 26

Although it is a mitzvah to wear [tefillin] throughout the entire day, it is most important during prayer. Our Sages declared: "Whoever recites the Shema without tefillin is considered as if he is giving false testimony."

Whoever does not wear tefillin transgresses eight positive commandments, for in each of the four passages contained in the tefillin we are commanded to wear both head and arm tefillin. [The rewards for wearing tefillin are also great.] Whoever wears tefillin regularly will live long, as [implied by Isaiah 38:16]: "God is upon them, they shall live."

Commentary Halacha 1

Where are the head tefillin placed? - Though all four Biblical passages state that the tefillin should be worn "between your eyes," Menachot 37b establishes a correlation between these verses and Deuteronomy 14:1, "Do not place a bald spot between your eyes," and explains that, just as in the latter verse, "between your eyes" refers to the skull, so, too, the verses which concern tefillin imply a place on the skull.

They should be placed at the point of the skull, the end of the hairline towards the face - The Tur (Orach Chayim 27) states that the place for the head tefillin is the point of the skull, "the end of the hairline towards the face until the place where a child's brain [can be felt] to pulsate." In his commentary on the Tur, Rav Yosef Karo notes the difference in phraseology between the Tur and the Rambam, and in his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 27:9), he quotes the Tur's text.

the place where a child's brain [can be felt] to pulsate. - Our translation is based on the Kessef Mishneh. Instead of "pulsate," Rashi (Menachot 37a) interprets רופס as "is soft."

Care must be taken to position them in the center - of the head,

so that they will be - parallel to the place

"between the eyes." - However, to place the tefillin actually between one's eyes is forbidden and is considered as heresy (Halachah 3; Megillah 4:7).

The knot - mentioned in Chapter 3, Halachah 13

should be at the top portion of the neck - Menachot 35b states that lifting the knot to the top portion of the neck will cause "Israel to be above and not below."

the bottom of the skull. - the portion opposite the face. Care should be taken that the knot be positioned in the center of the neck and not move from side to side (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 27:10). This point is directly opposite the space between the eyes.

Commentary Halacha 2

The arm [tefillin] should be tied to one's left arm -Menachot 37a brings a number of exegetical references which indicate that tefillin should be placed on the left arm. Among them, "It is written, 'And you shall tie' and 'And you should write.' Just as writing is done with the right hand, so, too, tying should be done with the right hand." Tying tefillin with one's right hand implies that they are placed on the left.

at the muscle - but not above the muscle (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 27:2; Mishnah Berurah 27:4)

i.e., the bulging flesh of the arm between the shoulder and the elbow. - Menachot 37b explains that though the verse literally states that tefillin should be placed on the hand, the exegesis of several verses indicates that they are placed on the muscle. The interpretation of the verse, "And these words..." quoted by the Rambam is one of the proofs cited there.

Thus, if one presses his arm to his ribs, the tefillah will be opposite his heart - The tefillin, and, in particular, the yud of the knot, should be tilted to face the heart (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 27:1,2).

thus, fulfilling the directive [Deuteronomy 6:6], "And these words... shall be upon your heart." - This position implies that one should subjugate the desires and feelings of his heart to God (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 25:5).

Commentary Halacha 3

A person who places the arm tefillah on his palm - in contrast to our Sages' definition of the phrase, "on your hand"

or the head tefillah on his forehead - in contrast to our Sages' definition of the phrase, "between your eyes"

follows the way of the Sadducees. - In his commentary on Avot 1:3, the Rambam writes that Tzadok and Baithos were students of Antigonus of Socho. When they heard their teacher declare, "Do not serve the master for the sake of receiving a reward," they were upset, since they thought that he was implying that no reward would be given for the performance of mitzvot. They spoke about the matter between themselves and decided to reject the Torah.

They began splinter groups which rejected the core of Jewish practice, and coveted material wealth. They found that they could not convince the majority of the people to reject the Torah entirely, so they adopted a different tactic. They claimed that they were true to Torah, but the only Torah that was Divine was the Written Law. The Oral Law was merely a human invention.

This thesis was only a ruse to sway the people from the performance of the mitzvot. Accordingly, the Sages would frequently refer to all those who deny the Torah and its tradition to be Sadducees ("followers of Tzadok") or Baithosees ("followers of Baithos").

A person who makes his tefillin rounded like a nut - Megillah 24b, the source for this law, adds, "they are dangerous," for they can fracture the person's skull. Though absent in the standard published edition, this line is included in many texts of the Mishneh Torah. The Kessef Mishneh, however, explains the line's omission since it does not teach us any halachic concepts.

does not fulfill the mitzvah at all - because, as stated in Chapter 3, Halachah 1, tefillin must be square.

A left-handed person puts tefillin on his right hand, since [figuratively,] it is his left hand. - Menachot 37a states that tefillin must be placed on the weaker hand. For a left-handed person, this is the right hand.

If he is ambidextrous, he should place them on his left hand - i.e., his left hand in a literal sense. - Note the Ramah (Orach Chayim 27:6), who explains that everything depends on the hand with which the person writes. If he writes with his left hand, the tefillin should be placed on the right.

Rav Shlomo Kluger, the Tzemach Tzedek, and other later authorities have dealt with questions concerning people who are ambidextrous to varying degrees. Frequently, they have advised that such a person wear tefillin on one of his arms during the prayer service, and afterwards place them on the other arm, to make sure that he fulfills the mitzvah.

The places where to tie and place - The arm tefillah is "tied," while the head tefillah is "placed." This reflects the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:8, "And you shall tie them... on your hand and they shall be... between your eyes." We must actually tie the arm tefillin upon our bodies. In contrast, the mitzvah of the head tefillin is that "it be" - i.e., be positioned in its appropriate place.

the tefillin were received as part of the oral tradition. - In his Introduction to the Commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam explains that, on Mount Sinai, Moses was given instructions how to observe all the mitzvot. This constituted the "oral tradition." Though the Sages of the Talmud may have used certain verses from the Torah as allusions to these instructions, the fulfillment of the mitzvot began at Sinai (or shortly afterwards, depending on the mitzvah). The people did not need the allusions from the Torah to tell them how to fulfill the mitzvot, since they had already received this information orally from Moses.

To relate these concepts to the present context: Although the Sages mentioned several exegetical references to the places where tefillin are worn, it is not that the Sages discovered the proper position for tefillin. Rather, directly after they were given the commandment to put on tefillin, the Jews placed them on their arms and heads. Years later, the Sages sought allusions for these practices in the Written Law.

Commentary Halacha 4

The [absence of the] head tefillah does not preclude [wearing tefillin] on the arm - i.e., if a person does not have a head tefillah or is in a situation where it is inappropriate to wear the head tefillah (see Halachah 23), he should still wear the arm tefillah

and similarly, the [absence of the] arm tefillah - or if a person lost the arm on which he should place tefillin

does not preclude [wearing tefillin] on the head. - The Kessef Mishneh mentions a version of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Menachot 4:1) which differs with this ruling. Rav Kapach explains that he is referring to the initial version of the Commentary on the Mishnah, which the Rambam later revised.

In that initial version, the Rambam explains (based on Menachot 44a) that the Sages feared that if a person were given license to wear only one tefillah, he might hesitate from purchasing the other one. Therefore, they allowed one to wear a single tefillah only when he already possessed the second one. When the Rambam reviewed that commentary, he emended the text to concur with the decision here.

They are two mitzvot, each one to be considered independently. - Since there are two different commandments in the Torah, "And you shall tie... and they shall be...," they are regarded to be two separate mitzvot.

What blessings are recited? On the head tefillin, one recites: - See the following halachah, where the Rambam explains that, generally, it is proper to recite only a single blessing.

"[Blessed are You...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of tefillin." On the arm tefillin, one recites: "[Blessed are You...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to put on tefillin." - It is possible to explain the difference in the two blessings as follows: With regard to the arm tefillin, the Torah states, "And you shall tie them," requiring a deed, and hence the expression "put on." In contrast, the head tefillin are required "to be... between your eyes." Since less emphasis is placed on our actions, it is appropriate to praise God "concerning the mitzvah of..." (Rav Yehudah ben Yakar).

Commentary Halacha 5

When does the above apply? When one puts on only one of them. - As mentioned in the previous halachah, at times one can put one on without the other. On such occasions, the appropriate blessing should be recited for each tefillah.

If, however, one puts them both on - one after the other without interruption. (The rulings governing an interruption are discussed in the following halachah.)

one recites only a single blessing, "...to put on tefillin." - This phrase can also refer to putting on the head tefillin, since both mitzvot share the same intent. Hence, if no interruption is made between the two, it is unnecessary - and therefore, we are forbidden - to recite a second blessing.

This ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 25:5) and is followed by all Sephardic authorities and some Ashkenazic authorities. The majority of the Ashkenazic community follows the opinion of Rabbenu Asher (quoted by the Ramah, Orach Chayim, loc. cit.) which maintains that the two blessings should be recited even when no interruption is made between putting on the two tefillin.

This opinion agrees that the blessing "...to put on tefillin" also applies to the head tefillin. Therefore, even according to this opinion, it is forbidden to make an interruption between putting on the two tefillin; nevertheless, the Sages instituted a second blessing in recognition of the unique importance and holiness of the head tefillin.

The later authorities have added that because of the possibility that the second blessing is being recited in vain, one should recite the phrase Baruch shem kavod malchuto le'olam va'ed.

One should tie the tefillin on one's arm - Rabbenu Asher and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 25:11) write that one should put on the head tefillin directly after tying the tefillin to the arm, before continuing to wind the straps around the hand. Thus, no interruption at all will be made between the fulfillment of the two mitzvot.

There are, however, certain opinions (see the commentary of Rav David Arameah) that maintain that since tying the arm tefillin around the middle finger is an essential element of the mitzvah, this should be done before putting on the head tefillin.

Our present practice follows the Ari zal who would wind the tefillin straps around his forearm, put on the head tefillin, and then, tie the straps around his hand (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 25:24, Mishnah Berurah 25:38).

and afterwards, put on the head tefillin - following the order stated in the Biblical commandment (Menachot 36a).

When one removes them, the head tefillin should be removed, and then the arm tefillin. - Menachot (loc. cit.) continues, explaining that the phrase, "they shall be totafot (plural) between your eyes," teaches us that "as long as the tefillin are 'between your eyes,' 'they should be' - i.e., one should wear both tefillin. Thus, the head tefillah should be removed before the arm tefillah.

Commentary Halacha 6

[After] reciting the blessing, "...to put on tefillin," and tying the tefillin on one's arm, one is forbidden to talk - for doing so would constitute an interruption between putting on the two tefillin. Other interruptions - e.g., to signal to a colleague or to wink at him - are also forbidden. They do not, however, require a second blessing.

even to respond to a greeting from one's teacher - The Rambam chooses this example because a person is required to show deference to his teacher. Accordingly, although normally one is forbidden to interrupt the recitation of the Shema, one may do so to greet his teacher or return his greetings, according to the rules outlined in Hilchot Kri'at Shema 2:15-16.

The comparison to a teacher is also significant from a different perspective. Hilchot Kri'at Shema (loc. cit.) discusses when one may interrupt one's prayers "because of fear" - e.g., when one encounters a gentile king. Whenever an interruption is allowed in deference to such a king, one may also respond to Barchu, Kedushah, or Kaddish, for they are expressions of deference to the King of kings (Tur, Orach Chayim 66).

From the fact that the Rambam mentions the prohibition against talking between putting on the two tefillin in the context of deference to one's teacher, one might assume that he would allow an interruption in the above situations when deference to God is involved. Though this opinion is accepted by many early and later authorities (Rabbenu Tam, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi), the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 25:10) forbids making such an interruption.

until he puts on the head tefillin. If he talks, it is considered to be a transgression - since, by doing so, he obligates himself to recite a second blessing that would otherwise not be required. Reciting an unnecessary blessing violates the prohibition, "Do not take the name of God, your Lord, in vain" (Exodus 20:7).

Based on Deuteronomy 20:8, the Sages explained that the Jewish army should be composed only of righteous men. Any sinners were excused from military service. Significantly, there are opinions which consider this transgression significant enough for a person to be included in this category (Sotah 44b).

[In such an instance,] one is required to recite the second blessing, "...concerning the mitzvah of tefillin," and then put on the head tefillin. - The Ramah (Orach Chayim 25:9) requires that the person also repeat the blessing "...to put on tefillin" in this instance. According to his opinion, the blessing "...concerning the mitzvah of tefillin" was instituted as praise for the special holiness of the head tefillin, and is not recited for the performance of the mitzvah itself.

Commentary Halacha 7

Whenever a person puts on tefillin - This halachah may be difficult for many people to comprehend, because they associate wearing tefillin with the prayer service alone. In truth, as explained in Halachot 10, 25, and 26, the mitzvah of tefillin applies throughout the entire day, and the restriction of wearing them only during the prayer service is a relatively recent development.

even if he removes them and puts them on several times throughout the day - Every moment one wears tefillin, one fulfills a mitzvah. Therefore, it is proper to recite a blessing each time one puts them on.

he should recite a blessing for them. - The Ramah (Orach Chayim 25:12) states that if a person removes his tefillin with the intent of putting them on again in the near future, it is not necessary for him to recite a blessing.

With regard to all mitzvot: one recites a blessing for them before performing them. - See Hilchot Berachot 11:2-8 for a discussion of this principle.

Therefore, one should recite the blessing for the arm tefillah after placing it on one's muscle - and not beforehand, so that the blessing is recited directly before the mitzvah is fulfilled (Kessef Mishneh).

before tying it - i.e., tightening the knot around the muscle

since tying it comprises the fulfillment of the mitzvah. - See the commentary on Halachah 3.

One should recite the blessing for the head tefillah after placing it on one's head, before adjusting the straps around the head (Ramah, Orach Chayim 25:8).

Commentary Halacha 8

When a person removes his tefillin to place them in a container - This refers to the bag in which the tefillin are held, and not the cases in which they are usually placed. Based on Shulchan Aruch HaRav 25:3, it appears that as long as the tefillin are enclosed in these cases, the laws mentioned below would be modified slightly.

he should not place the arm tefillah below and the head tefillah above, because when he wants to put them on, he will encounter the head tefillah first. - From Shulchan Aruch HaRav 25:3 and the Mishnah Berurah 25:3, it appears that "encounter" must be taken literally. One need not actually hold the tefillin for these laws to apply.

Thus, he will [be forced to] ignore it and take out the arm tefillah, since one should not put on the head tefillah before the arm tefillah - as explained in Halachah 5.

[This is undesirable because] it is forbidden for a person to ignore one mitzvah and proceed to the fulfillment of another mitzvah. - From the Rambam's statements, it appears that even when one encounters the head tefillin first, it is proper to put on the arm tefillin first. Although there are authorities (e.g., Rabbenu Yerucham) who do not accept this decision, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 25:6) rules in this manner.

This decision can be explained as follows: The concept not to bypass the performance of a mitzvah is a Rabbinic law. (Although below, a verse from the Torah is cited as the source for this concept, that verse is merely an allusion.) In contrast, the obligation to put the arm tefillin on first is derived from the Torah itself. Hence, it is given priority (Mishneh Berurah 25:23).

Rather, as soon as a mitzvah comes to a person's hand, he should occupy himself with it. - On Exodus 12:17, "And you shall watch the matzot," the Mechilta comments, "Do not read 'matzot'; read 'mitzvot,' and explains that just as matzot must be baked hurriedly so they do not leaven, mitzvot should be performed with eagerness, without delay.

Therefore, a person should place the arm tefillin above, so that he will encounter it first, and thus put on the tefillin in the proper sequence. - The Rambam's statements are quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 28:2). Shulchan Aruch HaRav 28:8 and the Mishnah Berurah 28:7, however, suggest that it is preferable not to place the arm tefillin directly above the head tefillin, because the head tefillin possess a higher level of holiness (Chapter 3, Halachah 17). Rather, a wide bag should be made, where they can be placed side by side, with the arm tefillin slightly above.

Commentary Halacha 9

A container that was made for tefillin to be placed in and which was used - even once (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 42:3)

for that purpose - As will be explained, both these particulars are necessary.

becomes holy. It is forbidden to use it for mundane purposes. - e.g., to serve as a container for ordinary articles. If, however, when the container was made, the person had the intent to use it for tefillin only temporarily, and then to use it for another purpose, the Ramah (Orach Chayim, loc. cit.) allows it to be used for mundane purposes.

If a container was prepared for that purpose, but never used for it - This ruling depends on the principle mentioned in the commentary on Chapter 3, Halachah 17, that הזמנה, designating an article to be used for a sacred purpose, is not sufficient for holiness to be imparted to the article. It must first be used for the purpose for which it was intended.

or if a container was temporarily - Shulchan Aruch HaRav 42:4 and the Mishnah Berurah 42:24 explain that even if a person used a container for tefillin many times, as long as he never intended the container to be used for this purpose continually, it is not considered as holy. Should, however, a person even once consider the container as intended for tefillin, it may never be used for another purpose.

used for tefillin, but was not prepared for that purpose, it does not become holy. Rather, it is considered an ordinary article as before. - Shulchan Aruch HaRav, loc. cit., allows one to use the container for mundane purposes at the same time it is used for tefillin. The Mishnah Berurah 42:26, however, suggests that this does not show respect for the tefillin.

It is forbidden to suspend tefillin - from a hook. Doing so is considered as disgracing the mitzvah. Berachot 24a states, "The life of a person who hangs tefillin will also hang [by a thread]."

[This applies regardless of whether one suspends them] by their straps or from the tefillah itself. - Holding the head tefillin by the straps and letting the tefillah hang while putting it on is not included in this prohibition (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 40:1; Mishnah Berurah 40:1). It is, nevertheless, proper to put them on without letting the tefillah hang.

One may, however, suspend the bag in which they are placed.

Commentary Halacha 10

The time for wearing tefillin is the day and not the night - The laws concerning continuing to wear tefillin at night are discussed in the following halachah.

Significantly, the Tur (Orach Chayim 29, 30) and subsequent Ashkenazic authorities maintain that, according to Torah law, tefillin should be worn at night. We nevertheless do not wear them during those hours, because of a Rabbinic decree lest we fall asleep while wearing them.

as [Exodus 13:10] states: "And you shall observe this statute in its appointed time, from day to day." "This statute" refers to the mitzvah of tefillin. - Most commentaries on the Torah interpret "this statute" as referring to the Paschal sacrifice, and render the Hebrew מימים ימימה as "from year to year." Though this is the accepted meaning with regard to the Torah's simple interpretation, from a Halachic perspective the matter is the subject of a debate between the Sages (Menachot 36b), and the interpretation quoted by the Rambam is advanced by Rabbi Yosse HaG'lili.

Similarly, Sabbaths and holidays - The expression יום טוב generally refers to the days of the festival on which it is forbidden to do work - and not chol hamo'ed, the intermediate days. Thus, it would appear that the Rambam requires wearing tefillin on chol hamo'ed. Similarly, the Kessef Mishneh citesHilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 7:13 which also appears to indicate that one should put on tefillin on chol hamo'ed.

The Kessef Mishneh concludes by stating that, originally, it was customary to wear tefillin on chol hamo'ed. Afterwards, the later Rabbis discovered a statement of the Zohar Chadash (Shir HaShirim 1:3), which severely criticizes those who wear tefillin on these days, and the custom of not wearing tefillin spread.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 31:1) forbids wearing tefillin on chol hamo'ed. The Ramah (loc. cit.) maintains that they should be worn and a blessing recited. At present, even those who wear tefillin on chol hamo'ed generally do not recite a blessing (Mishnah Berurah 31:8). In the Sephardic and Chassidic communities and, similarly, in all communities in Eretz Yisrael, it is customary not to wear tefillin on these days.

are not days on which tefillin [are worn] - Not only are we not obligated to wear tefillin on these days, doing so is considered to be a disgrace to the Sabbath and a transgression of the prohibition forbidding us to add to the Torah's commandments (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 31:1; Mishnah Berurah 31:5). (See also the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah: Eruvin 10:1; Beitzah 1:10.)

as [Exodus 13:9] states: "And they shall be a sign for you." - The citation of this proof-text reflects a general pattern within the Mishneh Torah. As mentioned in Menachot (loc. cit.), there is a debate whether the verse, "And you shall observe this statute..." applies to tefillin or the Pesach.

Rabbi Yosse HaG'lili interprets the verse as referring to tefillin, and explains that it teaches that tefillin should not be worn at night, nor on Sabbaths and holidays. Rabbi Akiva differs, and interprets the verse as referring to the Paschal sacrifice. Though he maintains that tefillin should be worn at night, he agrees that they should not be worn on Sabbaths and holidays, and derives that concept from the verse, "And they shall be a sign...."

The Rambam quotes the proof-texts cited by both the differing opinions because each one clearly alludes to the halachic principles he seeks to express (Radbaz, Vol. V, Responsum 1693). For this same reason, he sees no difficulty in quoting the verse, "And you shall observe these statutes..." in Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh 1:7 according to the interpretation of Rabbi Akiva.

Since the Sabbaths and the holidays are themselves signs - See Exodus 31:13: "It (the Sabbath) is a sign between Me and you." This sign refers to the mitzvot associated with the Sabbath and holidays (Tosafot) or to the prohibition against performing work on these days (Rabbenu Asher).

[the sign of tefillin is unnecessary]. - Two witnesses are required by Torah law. Thus, at all times we must have two signs of our commitment to Torah. One is circumcision; the other, either tefillin, or the Sabbath or the festivals.

When does the time to put them on begin? When one can see -13 Rabbenu Yonah explains that tefillin are associated with sight because the Torah also mentions them in connection with that sense.Menachot 35b interprets the verse, "And all the nations of the earth shall see that the name of God is called upon you" (Deuteronomy 28:10), as a reference to tefillin.

a colleague standing four cubits away - The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 1:2) explains that this refers to a colleague with whom one shares occasional contact. One would recognize a close friend easily, and a person with whom one is not acquainted would never be recognized.

and recognize him. - This time is between עלות השחר, "dawn," the first shinings of the sun's rays, and הנץ החמה, "sunrise," the appearance of the sun on the horizon.

[It continues] until sunset - More particularly, most authorities interpret the Rambam to be referring to the appearance of the stars. The Ari zal, however, states that the tefillin should be removed at sunset (Mishnah Berurah 30:15).

Commentary Halacha 11

It is permitted for a person who put on tefillin before sunset to continue wearing them after nightfall. - Menachot 36a relates that Rav Ashi wore his tefillin at night.

They may even remain upon him the entire night. - One must, however, remove them before going to sleep. Sleeping in tefillin is forbidden, as stated in Halachah 15.

This law, however, is not to be taught in public - lest the common people fail to treat the matter with the proper concern.

Instead, everyone should be taught not to wear tefillin at night and to remove them before sunset. - lest one fall asleep while wearing them.

A person who puts on tefillin after sunset transgresses a Scriptural prohibition - This prohibition is not, however, included as one of the 613 mitzvot, nor is it punished by lashes. The Radbaz (Vol. V, Responsum 1468) explains that since a person may continue wearing tefillin at night, we see that this prohibition does not have the same force as others. Therefore, its violation is not punished by lashes.

as [implied by Exodus 13:10]: "And you shall observe - The word השמר and its derivitives connote a Torah prohibition (Menachot 36b).

this statute... from day to day." - The Rambam's statements represent an intermediate position between the opinions of the Ashkenazic authorities, who maintain that the prohibition against wearing tefillin at night is merely a Rabbinic decree, and the practice of "the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael who would recite the blessing, 'who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to observe His statutes' before removing their tefillin at night.

According to the Rambam, the prohibition against wearing tefillin at night stems from the Torah. A blessing, nevertheless, is not required when removing them.

Commentary Halacha 12

When a person is wearing tefillin in the midst of a journey and the sun sets, marking the commencement of the Sabbath - Our translation follows the standard published text of the Mishneh Torah, which reflects Rashi's commentary in Beitzah 15a.

Other versions of the text divide the halachah in two: with the first clause speaking about nightfall during the week, and the second clause speaking about the commencement of the Sabbath. The manner in which these laws are stated in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 30:4) follows the latter version.

he should cover them with his hand - so that others will not see him and think that it is proper to wear tefillin at this time

until he reaches his home - Since one wears tefillin like a garment, taking them home in this manner does not constitute a violation of the prohibition against carrying on the Sabbath.

and then remove them. - According to the versions which state that this clause applies during the week, the person does not remove the tefillin and carry them during his journey, lest they fall from his hand.

If he is sitting in the house of study - In Talmudic times, the houses of study were located in the fields, and it was not safe to leave articles there.

and the sun sets, marking the commencement of the Sabbath - The authorities agree that this refers to sunset and not the appearance of the stars, since it is forbidden to carry from sunset onwards.

he should cover them with his hand until he reaches his home, and then remove them.

If there is a house located near the wall [of a city] where they would be safe, he should place them there. - This applies both on the Sabbath and during the week. Since the person has a safe place where the tefillin could be kept, he is not allowed to continue wearing them.

If, however, he did not remove his tefillin after sunset because he did not have a place where they would be safe, it is permissible for him to continue wearing them in order to protect them. - The Kessef Mishneh explains that, although in the previous halachah, the Rambam had also stated that it is permissible to continue wearing tefillin at night, people should not be informed about this leniency. In contrast, when one's intent is to protect the tefillin, one may wear them without compunction (Kessef Mishneh). One may not, however, put on tefillin at night even for the purpose of protecting them (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 30:4; Mishnah Berurah 30:9).


Commentary Halacha 13

All those who are exempt from the obligation to recite the Shema - This includes:
a) women and Canaanite slaves (Hilchot Kri'at Shema 4:1), who are not obligated by either of these mitzvot, since these mitzvot are associated with certain time limits (מצות עשה שהזמן גרמה).
b) minors, who, according to Torah law, are not obligated to perform any mitzvot. (There is, however, a Rabbinic obligation to educate them in the performance of mitzvot.)
c) individuals whose thoughts are unsettled or who are occupied with the performance of other mitzvot. (See the subsequent halachot of Hilchot Kri'at Shema, Chapter 4.)

are exempt from the obligation to wear tefillin. - Significantly, in Hilchot Tzitzit 3:9, the Rambam mentions that women and slaves may wear tzitzit or perform any other mitzvah which they are not obligated to fulfill. Perhaps, he does not make that statement with regard to tefillin, because as the Ramah (Orach Chayim 38:3) states, the obligation to concentrate one's thoughts on the tefillin and to control one's body is the reason that women should not take on the practice of wearing tefillin. Our Sages, nevertheless, cite the example of Michal, King Saul's daughter, who would wear tefillin.

If a minor knows [the importance of] guarding his tefillin - who knows not to sleep, not to enter a lavatory, and not to release gas while wearing them (Shulchan Aruch, Ramah, Orach Chayim 37:3)

his father should obtain tefillin for him - In some Sephardic communities, it is customary for children to wear tefillin from the age of nine. In Ashkenazic communities, however, a minor begins putting on tefillin two to three months before becoming Bar-Mitzvah (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 37:3; Mishnah Berurah 37:12).

to educate him regarding the performance of mitzvot. - Many times throughout the Mishneh Torah - e.g., Hilchot Tzitzit 3:9, Hilchot Berachot 5:1, Hilchot Sukkah 6:1 - the Rambam mentions a father's obligation to educate his children regarding the performance of mitzvot.

A person with stomach problems and anyone who can contain his excretory functions only with difficulty - because he may release gas (see Halachah 15) and because he may not be able to concentrate on the tefillin

are exempt from the obligation to wear tefillin. - If, however, one feels that he can control his body and thoughts for a limited time, he should wear them for that interval (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 38:2).

[In contrast,] all those ritually impure are obligated to wear tefillin like one who is pure. - See Hilchot Sefer Torah 10:8.

A person who suffers discomfort, or someone who is disturbed and cannot concentrate his thoughts, is exempt from the obligation to wear tefillin - The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 2:3) cites the example of Rabbi Yannai, who would not put on tefillin until the third day after he recovered from illness.

since a person who wears tefillin is forbidden to divert his attention from them. - as explained in the following halachah.

Priests who are in the midst of [the Temple] service - offering or partaking of the sacrifices

Levites who chant - while the sacrifices are being offered

on the platform - the three steps which separated the courtyard of the Israelites from the Priestly Courtyard. (See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 6:2.)

and Israelites while they are attending the Temple [ceremonies] - This refers to the Israelites who were part of the ma'amadot and would attend the Temple service as emissaries of the entire Jewish people. (See Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 6:5.)

are exempt from the obligation to pray and to wear tefillin.- Since a person who is occupied with the performance of one mitzvah is exempt from the obligation of performing others (Rashi, Zevachim 19a).

That passage continues to explain that these individuals were allowed to wear tefillin - and would do so - with the exception of the priests, who would not wear the arm tefillin, for doing so would cause a separation between the priestly garments and their flesh. (See also Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 10:3,6.)

Commentary Halacha 14

A person should touch his tefillin - touching the arm tefillin before the head tefillin (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 28:1)

[from time to time] during the entire time he is wearing them - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, loc. cit.) quotes this law and adds that, in particular, one should touch the tefillin when reciting the verse, "And you shall tie them... and they shall be..." in the Shema.

so that he will not divert his attention - The Mishnah Berurah (28:1) also mentions that one should check that they have not moved from their proper place.

from them even for a single moment - As mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 25:5), when putting on tefillin, a person should intend "to subjugate his desires and thoughts to God." There is no need, however, for this intent to be in the forefront of one's thoughts throughout the entire time one is wearing tefillin. On the contrary, in Talmudic times (see Halachah 25), tefillin would be worn throughout the day, even during one's involvement in mundane affairs.

Accordingly, the Rabbis (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 28:1; Mishnah Berurah 44:3) explain that here, by "diversion of attention," the Rabbis meant that a person's mind should not become focused on frivolous matters or on his bodily needs to the extent that he forgets about the fear of God. Thus, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 38:4) states that a person who cannot control himself from thinking about lewd things should not put on tefillin, and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 38:8 and the Mishnah Berurah 38:30 free a person who is troubled by cold from the obligation of wearing tefillin.

The Sha'agat Arieh (Responsum 39), however, interprets the Rambam's words very strictly and maintains that, according to the Rambam, even the slightest diversion of attention from tefillin is forbidden.

for - The Rambam emphasizes that because tefillin possess such great holiness, diverting one's attention from them would be considered an act of disrespect, and is therefore forbidden (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 14).

their holiness surpasses that of the tzitz. - The head-plate worn by the High Priest. (See Exodus 28:36-38; Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 9:1-2.)

The tzitz has God's name [written] upon it only once - The words קדש לי-ה-ו-ה (consecrated unto God) are embossed on it.

while the head tefillin - and similarly, the arm tefillin - contain the name י-ה-ו-ה 21 times - in the passages from the Torah they contain.

Commentary Halacha 15

Tefillin require a clean body - In this context,Shabbat 130a cites the example of Elisha, ba'al hak'nafayim.

i.e., that one should be careful not to release gas while wearing them. - As mentioned in Halachah 13, a person who cannot control himself and feels that he must release gas, is exempt from the obligation of wearing tefillin.

Accordingly, it is forbidden to sleep while wearing them - Shabbat 130a explains that the Rabbis forbade sleeping in tefillin lest one accidentally release gas. Significantly, the Rabbis did not consider sleeping a diversion of one's attention from the tefillin (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 44:1; Mishnah Berurah 44:3).

neither a long sleep nor a nap. If, however, one places a cloth over them - The Kessef Mishneh interprets Sukkah 26a as indicating that this will keep the person's attention focused on the tefillin and prevent him from releasing gas.

and a woman is not with him - lest this lead to sexual relations, which are forbidden in the presence of tefillin, as stated in Halachah 24.

one may nap while wearing them. What should he do? Place his head between his knees and sleep while sitting. - This will prevent him from falling into a deep slumber in which he might lose control of himself.

Commentary Halacha 16

A person who has tefillin wound around his hand - If, however, he is merely holding them, it is forbidden, lest they drop from his hand (Kessef Mishneh). The Ramah (Orach Chayim 44:1) states that if the tefillin are placed in a container, there are no restrictions.

is permitted to sleep with them. [This applies] even to a long sleep. - Since he is not wearing them, there is no difficulty even if he were to release gas (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 44:1; Mishnah Berurah 44:6).

He may eat only a snack - a meal of less than ak'beitzah, approximately 2 ounces in modern measure.

while wearing them. If, however, he enters to partake of a regular meal, he should remove them - lest he become drunk while eating and act in a manner unbecoming to the tefillin (Berachot 23b).

and place them on the table until after he washes his hands [at the conclusion of the meal]. - The Rambam discusses the obligation of washing after eating (mayim acharonim) in Hilchot Berachot 6:3.

Afterwards, he should put them on and recite grace over his meal while wearing them. - Wearing tefillin while reciting grace will add to one's concentration on the blessing.

Commentary Halacha 17

[The following rules apply with regard to a person] wearing tefillin who must use the lavatory - In Talmudic times, the lavatories were outhouses in the fields.

[He should remove his tefillin - Rashi (Berachot 23a) relates that this is a Rabbinic decree ordained lest one relieve himself while wearing them. There is no prohibition in the Torah itself against wearing tefillin in a place of filth.

[Note the contrast between this position and the prohibition against reciting prayers and other holy matters in a lavatory (Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:2,4). The latter prohibition appears to have its source in the Torah itself.]

but,] while he enters, he should not place them in the holes [of the outer wall of the lavatory] which are near the public domain, lest they be taken by passersby. - Berachot 23b relates that once, a student of Torah left his tefillin in a hole in the wall of a public lavatory. A woman took them, and afterwards came to the house of study. She told the student's colleagues, "See what so-and- so gave me as payment."

When the student heard this, he climbed to the roof of the house of study to hide himself in shame. Shortly afterwards, he slipped and fell to his death. When the story became known, the Sages ordained that a person should bring his tefillin into a lavatory lest the story repeat itself.

What should he do? Even if he [merely] has to urinate, he should remove his tefillin four cubits away [from the lavatory] and roll them in his clothes like a Torah scroll - The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 43) points out that Rashi and other Ashkenazic authorities do not require that the tefillin be covered.

holding them near his heart with his right hand - since a person uses his left hand to wipe himself (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 43:3; Mishnah Berurah 43:20).

He must take care that the strap does not protrude more than a handbreadth from his hand. - The straps also possess a dimension of holiness, and hence, care should be taken regarding them.

Afterwards, he should enter and relieve himself. After leaving the lavatory and walking more than four cubits away - When our Sages established the decree forbidding a person from wearing tefillin in a lavatory, they added this distance as a safeguard.

he should put them on. - It must be emphasized that this and the following two halachot no longer apply, since, at present, homes are equipped with toilet facilities, and there is no longer a need to use public outhouses. At home, or in other places where one could keep the tefillin in a safe place, it is forbidden to wear tefillin in a lavatory (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 43:5).
1. See Halachah 11, which prohibits putting on tefillin after sunset.
2. As explained in Halachah 24, a container which is always used for tefillin or other sacred articles is considered as an accessory to the tefillin with no importance of its own. Thus, it is as if the tefillin are being held without any covering at all. Nevertheless, if it is a handbreadth in size, it is given halachic significance as an ohel. Hence, it is considered to be a separation between the tefillin and the lavatory.

Needless to say, these laws apply only when the person does not have a safe place where he can deposit his tefillin. If such a place is available, he may not bring tefillin into a lavatory (Kessef Mishneh).
3. See Halachah 24, which forbids engaging in intercourse in a room which contains tefillin that are open.
4. Thus, it is feared that they may have touched the genitalia (Rashi, Sukkah 26b). Note the Ramah (Orach Chayim 40:7), who prohibits a person from wearing tefillin if he has any traces of semen on his body.
5. This halachah is dependent on the description of a bathhouse inShabbat 10a. There were three rooms: a waiting room, a dressing room, and the actual bathing room.
6. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 45:3 and the Mishnah Berurah 45:5 explain that this applies even when no one there is actually naked. Those sources also state that these laws apply only in bathhouses which contain filth. In contrast, there are no restrictions against wearing tefillin in the bathing room of a mikveh if no people are standing there naked. Compare also to Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:3-4, 16.

Commentary Halacha 23

A person should not walk in a cemetery - even if he is not within four cubits of a grave (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 45:1; Mishnah Berurah 45:1)

wearing his head tefillin. - Arm tefillin, however, need not be removed, for they can be worn under one's sleeve. As mentioned in Halachah 4, the two tefillin are two separate mitzvot, whose observance is not necessarily dependent on each other. One must be careful, however, to cover the straps of the arm tefillin, even those around one's hand and finger (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 45:2; Mishnah Berurah 45:3).

Even [outside a cemetery], a person should remove his - head

tefillin if he comes within four cubits of a corpse or a grave - Proverbs 17:5 states: "One who mocks the poor (רש) reproaches his Creator." Berachot 18a explains that the word רש can also refer to the dead, and states that performing mitzvot in the presence of a corpse or by his graveside would be, in a certain sense, mocking him, since he is unable to perform mitzvot. Accordingly, the Sages forbade Torah study, the recitation of the Shema, and the performance of other mitzvot in these situations.

until he distances himself four cubits from them. - Beyond this distance, one is not considered to be in the actual presence of the corpse. If a cemetery is surrounded by a wall, one may wear tefillin outside the wall even within four cubits of a grave, because the wall constitutes a separation (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 45:1; Mishnah Berurah 45:1).

A person should not put on tefillin [when he is naked]. He must first cover his genitalia - From the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 2:3), it appears that, in addition to wearing a cloak over one's body, one must also cover one's genitalia before putting on tefillin.

and put on his clothes. - Shulchan Aruch HaRav 45:3 and the Mishnah Berurah 45:5 associate this prohibition with the prohibition against standing naked in the presence of sacred texts.

A person who is carrying a load on his head should remove his head tefillin [and not put it on again] until he puts down his load. - Bava Metzia 105b considers this a lack of respect for the tefillin.

It is even forbidden to wear a handkerchief - or any other article which is not a garment and is not usually worn on one's head (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 41:1)

around one's head when wearing tefillin. One may, however, wear a hat over the tefillin. - Preferably, the tefillin themselves should not be covered. Since the hat is being worn as a garment, it is not considered disrespectful to the tefillin. Our Sages relate that the High Priest would wear his turban over the tefillin (Zevachim 19b), and the king would wear his crown above the tefillin (Avodah Zarah 44a).

Commentary Halacha 24

When tefillin or a Torah scroll are in a room, it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations, unless they are removed or placed into a container, and that container placed into a second container - These laws also apply with regard to sacred texts (Mishnah Berurah 40:4) and mezuzot (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 40:5).

which is not specific to them. - Covering the tefillin's container with another garment is sufficient. There is no need for a second container. The bag in which the tefillin bag and the tallit are placed is also considered specific to the tefillin bag and another covering is necessary (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 40:3; Mishnah Berurah 40:7).

If, however, the second container designated for them, even ten - or a hundred (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 40:2).

containers are considered as a single container. - Note that in Chapter 10, Halachah 7, the Rambam offers a third alternative: setting up a partition ten handbreadths high between a Torah scroll and the bed. This is also acceptable for tefillin. See also the commentary on that halachah.

Should a person place [the sacred articles] in two containers, he may place them at the head of his bed - Placing them at the foot of the bed is considered to be disrespectful to the tefillin and is forbidden, even though one is not sleeping together with one's wife (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 40:3).

between a cushion and a pillow - Our translation of רכ and תסכ is based on Rav Kapach's text of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 4:2. The Aruch renders the phrase, "between the mattress and the pillow."

as long as they are not under his head - Placing them under one's head would be tantamount to using them as a pillow and would be considered disrespectful to the tefillin. Hence, it is forbidden at all times (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.).

so that he can protect them - from thieves; alternatively, from mice (Rashi, Berachot 24a).

[This applies] even if his wife is together with him in bed - and they intend to be intimate (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.).

Commentary Halacha 25

The holiness associated with tefillin is very great. - See Halachah 14 above and also Hilchot Sh'vuot 11:11-12, where the Rambam equates the sanctity of tefillin with that of a Torah scroll.

As long as a person is wearing tefillin on his head and arm, he will be humble and God-fearing and will not be drawn to frivolous behavior or empty speech. - Berachot 30b relates that when Rabbah reproached Abbaye for light-headedness, which he thought would lead to frivolous behavior, Abbaye answered him, "I am wearing tefillin," implying that the tefillin would prevent him from losing self-control.

He will not turn his thoughts to evil matters, but rather will direct his heart to words of truth and justice. - Menachot 43b states that a person who wears tefillin on his head and arm will surely not sin.

Accordingly, a person should try to wear [tefillin] throughout the entire day - In Talmudic times, not only Torah scholars, but also common people would wear their tefillin throughout the entire day. In the later generations, this practice was generally followed only by Torah scholars, as the Hagahot Maimoniot relates in the name of Rav Amram Gaon:

We saw the Geonim, the heads of the court, and the giants of the previous generations... who would not remove their tefillin until after... the Shema of the evening service.

Nevertheless, at present, even Torah scholars have accepted the practice of wearing tefillin only during the morning prayers. This practice was instituted since tefillin require "a clean body" (Halachah 15) and one cannot divert his attention from them (Halachah 14), and most people cannot meet these requirements (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 37:2).

for this is the mitzvah associated with them. - Note the questions in the Pri Megadim and the Bi'ur Halachah (Orach Chayim 37): Is the mitzvah of tefillin to wear them all day, or is the mitzvah to put tefillin on once each day, with the remaining time one wears them being merely the continuation of the mitzvah.

Among the praises conveyed upon Rav, the student of Rabbenu Hakadosh - Though we find Megillah 28a conveying such praise on Rav Zeira, there is no passage in the Talmud which describes Rav in these terms. Nevertheless, the responsa of the Geonim (Damasek Eliezer 178) include these among the ten acts of pious behavior for which Rav was noted.

was that he was never seen walking four cubits without [reciting words of] Torah, without tzitzit, and without tefillin. - See Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 5:11, which describes such behavior as an example of Kiddush Hashem (the sanctification of God's name).

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