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If we have our heads covered by a kippa/yarmulka to remind that HaShem is above us, does wearing tefilin fulfill that requirement?

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Curious. Can you explain why you think Tefilin remind us that Hashem is above like the kippah does? – avi Dec 18 '11 at 20:12
@avi, if cloth (or suede, or paper) reminds me of God just be being on my head, likely t'filin do, too, no? (Especially since they have his name in them and are worn to fulfill his command!) However, judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11004 may be relevant to this question. – msh210 Dec 18 '11 at 20:46
Because the של ראש is our (direct) link to HaShem. For example, (somewhat unrelated) we don't go into the bathroom while wearing Tefilin... – wizlog Dec 18 '11 at 20:46
Ok, I think I understand. Btw, I've heard many times that the Tefilin act as a mechanism to bring the Kedusha into ourselves. (Sort of the opposite of what a Kippah does) – avi Dec 18 '11 at 21:00
@wizlog, what source do you have that the purpose of a yarmulke is to remind us that Hashem is above? – YDK Feb 21 '12 at 16:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to Halacha Berura (see O"H siman 2) the Kipa should cover most of the head. Also see Yalkut Yosef vol. 1 1:1. The Tefilin doesn't really cover most of the head (especially those of the Mequbalim).

Yalkut Yosef:

מדת חסידות להקפיד ללכת בכיפה גדולה המכסה את כל הראש, או רובו. ומכל מקום מותר מן הדין ללכת בכיפה קטנה שעל הראש, אף שאינה מכסה את רוב הראש, ובלבד שתהיה נראית היטב מכל צידי הראש הן מלפנים והן מאחור. אולם בשעת קריאת שמע ותפלה וברכת המזון, ראוי להקפיד [היכא דאפשר] לחבוש כובע, או לכל הפחות כיפה המכסה את רוב הראש. [שארית יוסף ח''א עמוד כג, ילקו''י על הל' השכמת הבוקר עמ' רלו].

It is Midat HaHasidut to go with a big kipa that covers the whole head, or at most. The Maskana is that if it is seen from all sides, it is good. HOWEVER! For Shema, Tefila, and Birkat HaMazon it is proper to wear a hat that covers most of the head.

So, probably for Pesuke DeZimra, Korbanot etc. the Tefilin would suffice, however, for Shema and Shemone Esre it would be proper to wear a hat (not with Tefilin: see Yalkut Yosef S"Y 91).

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Tosefot says that tefilin should not be larger than 4 x 4 etzbahs – avi Dec 19 '11 at 7:04
Well that's only if your following the Tosafot – Hacham Gabriel Dec 19 '11 at 13:50
I'm not aware of any tefilin larger than that... – avi Dec 19 '11 at 15:27
What I'm saying is that the Tefilin doesn't cover most of the head and therefore according to the aforementioned sources I don't think Tefilin would count as a head covering. – Hacham Gabriel Dec 19 '11 at 15:42
@YDK cover with the Talit. – Hacham Gabriel Jun 18 '12 at 20:51

The Mishnah Berurah (OC 2 sk 12) quoting the Peri Megadim cautions to be careful when putting on the Tefillin Shel Rosh to make sure the one's head is covered (if it became uncovered in the process of the Tefillin's placement) before one recites the blessing on the Tefillin Shel Rosh. It seems clear that having the Tefillin Shel Rosh alone is not covering enough.

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Playing "devil's advocate", that may be the case only because the bracha for which a head covering is required is prior to the mitzva of tefilin. – YDK Feb 21 '12 at 16:48
@YDK Possibly. But that may depend on your lomdus in the nature of the bracha for ashkenazim. Also, it certainly answers the possibility of the shel rosh serving as a physical covering delo gara from a kippah as HachamGabriel did above. Additionally, it answers that the shel yad is not enough of a reminder even though it is an oat as well. – Double AA Feb 21 '12 at 17:37

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