SECTION 37 The Time for Wearing Tefillin. (1–3)

סימן לז זְמַן הֲנָחַת הַתְּפִלִּין, וּבוֹ ג סְעִיפִים:

1 The reward for observing the mitzvah of tefillin is great. [Conversely,] a person who does not put on tefillin is included in the category of “the sinners of Israel with their bodies.”1 Even one who refrains [from wearing tefillin] because they require bodily purity,2 and he fears that he will not be able to show vigilant respect for their holiness, is acting sinfully [by not wearing them]. For at least while he is reciting the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh, he can easily be vigilant.

Our Sages teach:3 On the Day of Judgment, if one was meritorious in observing the mitzvah of tefillin, this will tip the scales in his favor, and if he has transgressed with regard to [this mitzvah], the scales will tip against him. For there is no positive mitzvah in the Torah greater than tefillin. Indeed, the entire Torah has been equated to tefillin, as it is written,4 “[And it shall be... as a sign upon your hand and as a reminder between your eyes,] so that the Torah of G‑d will be in your mouth.” Everyone should therefore be careful in his observance of the mitzvah of tefillin. Whoever is careful in its observance will have his days prolonged.5

א גָּדוֹל שְׂכַר מִצְוַת תְּפִלִּין.א וְכָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְנִיחָן – הֲרֵי הוּא בִּכְלַל פּוֹשְׁעֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּגוּפָן.ב,1 וְאַף אִם נִמְנָעג מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצְּרִיכִים גּוּף נָקִיד,2 וְשֶׁמָּא לֹא יִזָּהֵר בִּקְדֻשָּׁתָן – עֲבֵרָה הִיא בְּיָדוֹ, שֶׁבִּשְׁעַת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּתְפִלָּה עַל כָּל פָּנִים, בְּקַל יוּכַל לִזָּהֵר.

וְשָׁנוּ חֲכָמִים:ה,3 לְיוֹם הַדִּין, אִם יִהְיֶה זַכַּאי בְּמִצְוַת תְּפִלִּין – כַּף זְכוּת מַכְרַעַת, וְאִם פָּשַׁע בָּהֶן – כַּף חוֹבָה מַכְרַעַת, שֶׁאֵין לְךָ גְּדוֹלָה בְּכָל מִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה יוֹתֵר מִמִּצְוַת תְּפִלִּין, שֶׁהֻקְּשָׁה כָּל הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ לִתְפִלִּין,ו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:ז,4 "לְמַעַן תִּהְיֶה תּוֹרַת ה' בְּפִיךָ", לְכָךְ צָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם שֶׁיְּהֵא זָהִיר בְּמִצְוַת תְּפִלִּין.ח וְכָל הַזָּהִיר בָּהֶן – מַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים:ט,5

2 It is a mitzvah to wear [tefillin] throughout the day.6 Nevertheless, because tefillin require bodily purity, i.e., one should not vent wind while wearing them, and one may not divert his attention from them while wearing them, as stated in sec. 28[:1], and not everyone is capable of such vigilance, it has become customary not to wear them throughout the entire day. Nevertheless, everyone should be careful to wear them during the recitation of the Shema7 and the Shemoneh Esreh8 (for at that time he is compelled to be careful about venting wind9 and also, as explained in sec. 28[:1-2], about not diverting his attention from them).10

ב מִצְוָתָן לִהְיוֹת עָלָיו כָּל הַיּוֹם.י,6 אֲבָל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצְּרִיכִים גּוּף נָקִייא שֶׁלֹּא יָפִיחַ בָּהֶן,יב וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁלֹּא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מֵהֶם עַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן כח,יג וְאֵין כָּל אָדָם יָכוֹל לִזָּהֵר בָּזֶה – נָהֲגוּ שֶׁלֹּא לַהֲנִיחָן כָּל הַיּוֹם. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, צָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם לִזָּהֵר בָּהֶן לְהָנִיחַן בִּשְׁעַת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע7 וּתְפִלָּהיד,8 (שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ הוּא נִזְהָר מֵהָפִיחַטו,9 וְהֶסַּח הַדַּעַתטז בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן כח):10

3 When a minor is able to maintain [a state of bodily] purity [while wearing] tefillin — not venting wind while wearing them, not sleeping while wearing them, nor entering a lavatory while wearing them even to urinate — his father is obligated to buy him tefillin to train him in the observance of the mitzvos.11

There is an opinion that the minor referred to above is a boy who has reached the age of thirteen,12 but has not shown signs of physical maturity.13 A boy who is younger than this does not have the mental capacity to maintain the vigilance [required for] tefillin, and he should not be trained in their observance. This was the accepted custom in these countries14 in past eras. At present,15 it is customary to train boys in the observance of this mitzvah two or three months prior to its mandatory time.16

ג קָטָן הַיּוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁמֹר תְּפִלִּיןיז בְּטָהֳרָה, שֶׁלֹּא יָפִיחַ בָּהֶן, וְשֶׁלֹּא לִישֹׁן בָּהֶם,יח וְשֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנֵס בָּהֶן לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּאיט אֲפִלּוּ לִקְטַנִּיםכ – חַיָּב אָבִיו לִקְנוֹת לוֹ תְּפִלִּיןכא לְחַנְּכוֹ בְּמִצְוֹת.כב,11

וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵרכג שֶׁקָּטָן זֶה הוּא בֶּן י"ג שָׁנָה וְיוֹם אֶחָד,12 אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא הֵבִיא ב' שְׂעָרוֹת,כד,13 אֲבָל פָּחוֹת מִכֵּן – אֵין בּוֹ דַּעַת לִשְׁמֹר תְּפִלָּיו, וְאֵין מְחַנְּכִין אוֹתוֹ בָּהֶן. וְכֵן נָהֲגוּכה בִּמְדִינוֹת אֵלּוּ14 מִקֶּדֶם.

וְעַכְשָׁו15 נוֹהֲגִיםכו לְחַנְּכוֹ ב' וְג' חֳדָשִׁים קֹדֶם הַזְּמַן:כז,16