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Assuming that prosthetic limbs are not considered part of one's body:

How would someone put on Tefillin if r"l his non-dominant arm was replaced by a prosthetic from the shoulder?

  1. Would the halachos be the same as a cast or other obstruction? Or perhaps this case is worse, since in those cases the person has an arm, just that there's something in the way?
  2. If the answer to #1 is that one should not put Tefillin on the prosthetic arm, is there any benefit to putting Tefillin on the biological arm, even though it's the person's dominant arm?
  3. If the answer to #2 is that one should put Tefillin on the dominant arm, what if the person had both of his arms replaced? Is he entirely exempt from Tefillin at that point, or should he put it on one of the prosthetics?

(This answer takes it for granted that one doesn't put Tefillin on a prosthetic arm, but it's unsourced.)

  • Can you clarify where the loss of limb occurs? At the shoulder? Above the elbow? There's a fellow at my daily minyan who wears a prosthesis on his left arm but he has most of his upper arm, allowing the shel yad to be placed. – Shmuel Brown Mar 20 at 0:47
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    @ShmuelBrown I assumed it was implicit that it was from the shoulder. Edited to clarify. – DonielF Mar 20 at 1:37
  • There is a Shaagat Arieh on tefillin Shel Rosh for one who hasn't hand – kouty Apr 19 at 6:51
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Rema in OC 27:1 rules that one who is missing his hand but has a remaining arm lays tefillin without a blessing, citing a machlokes between Tosafos in Menachos (37a) and the Ohr Zarua. Mishne Berura rules that one who is missing his left arm entirely - or even one is is missing the majority of his upper arm - is exempt from laying the shel yad at all, but that there are those who are stringent. He clarifies that this is specifically regarding the left arm (i.e. the weaker arm) as this is the prescribed place for tefillin; one who is missing his right arm is obligated to lay tefillin and would have to request assistance in laying the tefillin.

  • What about someone with a prosthetic? That was the whole question – Double AA Mar 20 at 3:53
  • OP' question led with the presumption that prostheses are not considered part of the body. If that's the case then there's certainly no difference between OPs case and a "classic" case of an amputee from the shoulder. – Shmuel Brown Mar 20 at 13:09
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    If that's your answer then say so, but note the OP had already seen that as an unsourced claim so you're not adding anything by just asserting it – Double AA Mar 20 at 13:10
  • As Double said, I’d prefer an answer that rejects my premise and is sourced than an answer that assumes my premise is correct but doesn’t back it up with anything. – DonielF Mar 20 at 13:56
  • Working on an edit. – Shmuel Brown Mar 20 at 14:39

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