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Teffilin

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Rabbi David Sperling

Nisan 4, 5774
Question
My husband has two frozen shoulders and has a difficult time putting on his teffilin while wearing his tallit. Can he put on his teffilin first? Thank you, Louise
Answer
Shalom, First let me wish your husband only the best of health. In connection with the order to put on Tallit and Teffilin – the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Haim 25) rules that one puts the Tallit on before putting on Tefillin. Even though one should try to keep to this ruling, if this is very difficult for your husband, he could rely in the opinion that says it is enough for him to be wearing his "Tallit Katan" before he puts on his tefilin, even though he will not put on his Tallit Gadol until after the tefillin. Though the Rema writes that our custom is wear the Tallit before the Tefilin even when wearing the small Tallit Katan, the Aruch HaShulchan explains that the Rema agrees that the basic halacha (as opposed to the practice in his time) is in fact in line with the ruling that wearing the Tallit Katan before putting on Tefilin is enough. Based on this, in your husband's case, if it will really help him put on Tefilin properly and without hassles or pain, he could rely on this ruling and put his tefilin on before his Tallit, based on the fact that his already is wearing tzitzit on his small Tallit Katan under his shirt. Once again – blessings for the best of health.
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