Beit Midrash

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Chapter twelve-part three

Laws Pertaining to Tzitzit and Tefillin for Shacharit


Rabbi Eliezer Melamed


9.Tefillin and Tzitzit During Keriat Shema and Shacharit
It is a rabbinic obligation to recite Keriat Shema of Shacharit with tefillin, as written in the paragraph of Shema, "And you shall bind them as a sign on your arm and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes" (Deuteronomy 6:8). Similarly, it is written in the paragraph of V’hayah Im Shamo’a, "Bind them as a sign on your arm and let them be as frontlets between your eyes" (Deuteronomy 11:18). Thus, it is not proper to read these verses without tefillin. The Chachamim teach, "Whoever recites Keriat Shema without tefillin, it is as if he testifies falsely about himself" (Berachot 14b).
In any case, even one who does not have tefillin must recite Keriat Shema, since tefillin and Shema are two separate mitzvot that do not prevent one another from being fulfilled. If he does not have the privilege to perform the mitzvah of tefillin, he must at least fulfill the mitzvah of Keriat Shema, and he is not considered one who gives false testimony, since he is in circumstances beyond his control (Mishnah Berurah 46:33).
It is appropriate to pray the Amidah of Shacharit with tefillin as well; that is part of the complete acceptance of the yoke of Heaven (Berachot 14b).
Regarding a person without tefillin, whose friend can give him his pair to put on after he finishes praying, the Acharonim are uncertain what is the best course to follow. Is it preferable for him to pray in a minyan without tefillin and then put on tefillin afterwards? Or should he pray with tefillin individually after the minyan? The opinion of most poskim is that in practice it is best to pray with tefillin individually. However, one who wants to pray in a minyan without tefillin and then put on his tefillin afterwards is permitted to do so. 10
Likewise, it is proper to put on one’s tzitzit before prayer because the third paragraph of Keriat Shema discusses the mitzvah of tzitzit and it is appropriate to recite it while actually fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzit. It is also customary to hold the tzitziyot and kiss them a number of times while reciting Keriat Shema (see further in this book 15:11). Even though the mitzvah of tzitzit can be fulfilled by wearing a "tallit katan" (tzitzit), it is also customary to put on a "tallit gadol" (tallit) in honor of the Shacharit prayer. However, before marriage, most Ashkenazim suffice with wearing a tallit katan. Only after they marry do they begin to wear a tallit gadol for Shacharit.

10.Laws Pertaining to Tzitzit and Tefillin for Shacharit
A person’s tallit is put on before his tefillin, for tefillin are holier than tzitzit, and it is proper to rise gradually in the levels of sanctity (Shulchan Aruch 25:1).
In addition to the regular kavanah that one must have at the time that he performs any mitzvah, which is the intention to fulfill a mitzvah of Hashem, we learn in the Torah that the mitzvah of tzitzit is to remind us of all Hashem’s commandments so that we may fulfill them. By performing the mitzvah of tefillin we are reminded to "enslave" our hearts and minds to the service of Hashem, and to remember His Oneness and the Exodus from Egypt (Shulchan Aruch 8:8; 25:5). These kavanot are printed in the siddurim, and although there is no obligation to say them, it is at least necessary to think them.
Those who want to enhance the mitzvah put on their tallit and tefillin at home and come to synagogue adorned in them (Shulchan Aruch 25:2). Even if this prevents them from being one of the first ten people to arrive, it is still preferable to put on one’s tefillin at home and come to synagogue wearing them (see Mishnah Berurah 90:47).
Because of the sanctity of tefillin, it is forbidden to let one’s mind wander from them the whole time that he is wearing them. Therefore, one must touch his tefillin frequently (Shulchan Aruch 28:1).

^ 10.The Magen Avraham 66:12 is uncertain concerning this, and tends to resolve the issue by ruling that it is best to pray with tefillin individually. So write the majority of Acharonim, including the Mishnah Berurah 66:40 and Kaf HaChaim 25:28. Still, there are those who disagree, and the Minchat Yitzchak, part 2, 107 writes that one may rely on them. Yalkut Yosef, part 1, p. 144 rules that if a person is unable to concentrate well, it is preferable that he pray in a minyan without tefillin. However, if he can have kavanah, it is better that he wear his tefillin while praying individually.

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