This answer to another question about women and talit/t'filin says (about t'filin):

Because of the Rema is the foremost Ashkenazic authority of halakha, the great modern Askenazic poskim (R. Moshe Feinstein-Igrot Moshe IV OC #9, Chafetz Chaim-Mishnah Berura OC 38:3, Arukh HaShulchan-OC:38) have similarly ruled against it. Sephardic opinions and other poskim who have explicitly allowed it deserves its own question.

I'll bite. What do Sephardic sources have to say on this? (A) I'm curious, and (B) it might provide one tiny nugget of information for this question.


3 Answers 3


In terms of halacha, the foremost Ashkenazic rishonim (Rema, following Maharam and Kol Bo, Maharshal and the Levush) ruled that one should protest a woman wearing tefillin (mainly due to cleanliness concerns).

However, none of the Sephardic rishonim ruled likewise. Tefillin, like any positive time-bound mitzvah, is theoretically optional if they wish to partake in it. See, for example, the Rambam (Hil. Tzitzit 3:9):

ונשים ועבדי' שרצו להתעטף בציצית מתעטפים בלא ברכה, וכן שאר מצות עשה שהנשים פטורות מהן אם רצו לעשות אותן בלא מ ברכה אין ממחין בידן, טומטום ואנדרוגינוס חייבין בכולן מספק לפיכך אין מברכין אלא עושין בלא ברכה.

Women and servants who wish to wrap themselves in tzitzit may do so without reciting a blessing. Similarly, regarding the other positive commandments which women are not required to fulfill, if they desire to fulfill them without reciting a blessing, they should not be prevented from doing so.

Here the Rambam states the opposite of the Askenazic rishonim, as one shouldn't protest women performing such mitzvot. Similarly, there is no resistance from the Shulchan Arukh about women wearing tefillin. All that he says (in OC 38:3) is:

נשים ועבדים פטורים מתפילין, מפני שהוא מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא

Women and slave are exempt from donning phylacteries for it is a positive time-bound commandment.

While one might expect Sephardim to lead the way for women wearing tefillin, there is another twist in the halachic puzzle. Regarding mitzvot that women are not obligated to perform, the Shulchan Arukh states that women should not say a blessing before performing it, while the Rema states that they can (OC 589:6):

אע"פ שנשים פטורות, יכולות לתקוע; וכן אחר שיצא כבר, יכול לתקוע להוציאן, אבל אין מברכות ולא יברכו להן. הגה: והמנהג שהנשים מברכות על מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא על כן גם כאן תברכנה לעצמן, אבל אחרים לא יברכו להן אם כבר יצאו ואין תוקעין רק לנשים, אבל אם תוקעין לאיש המחוייב, מברכין לו אע"פ שכבר יצאו, כמו שנתבאר סימן תקפ"ה סעיף ב' הגהה א' ד"ע

Even though women are exempt, they may blow the Shofar. Similarly, after a man fulfills the mitzvah himself, he can blow to cover the women. However, they (the women) do not make the blessing and he shouldn’t make the blessing for them. Rema: The [Ashkenazic] custom is that women make blessings on a positive time-bound mitzvot, and so in this case they should make the blessing for themselves. But others shouldn’t make the blessing for them if they already fulfilled the commandment. If you are not only blowing the Shofer for women, but you are also blowing it to cover a man, you make a blessing even if you yourself already fulfilled the commandment; as explained in 585:2.

Many Sephardic poskim (such as R. Ovadia Yosef) have followed this ruling for all such optional mitzvot (i.e., shofar, lulav, etc.) and women performing them. So we have a strange case here, where a Sephardic model might provide room for women wearing tefillin but without a beracha, and an Ashkenazic model which allows for saying brachot for optional mitzvot but doesn't allow tefillin specifically. All acharonim and modern rabbis should be taken into account (especially if one is seeking a practical solution), but it is noteworthy that all Sephardic rishonim permit tefillin wearing, like all positive time-bound mitzvot, for women to perform.


Hacham Yishak Shalit"A writes (Yalkut Yosef various places) in accordance with that Rama that we should protest women donning Tefilin and Talit.

  • Does he explain why he chooses to "cross the aisle" and rule like an Ashkenazi?
    – Double AA
    May 13, 2013 at 3:39
  • 1
    He's probably following the Ben Ish Chai (an unpopular move in the Yosef family), who often follows the Rama and Kabbala sources over pshat Shulchan Arukh. See Ben Ish Chai, Year I, Lech Lecha #13.
    – Aryeh
    May 13, 2013 at 6:40
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    @DoubleAA there are a few Kelalim where we are allowed (supposed to) not follow Maran. 1)Safek Berachot 2)Minhag Kadum Lifne Maran 3)Lo Ra'a Et HaSefer Shelifne and a few others. I'm betting this is a Minhag Kadum. Jul 9, 2013 at 15:44
  • @HachamGabriel There is a Minhag Kadum to be Mocheh?? Do you have any evidence for this custom?
    – Double AA
    Jul 28, 2014 at 17:35

It's more stringent since according to sefardim women don't (have) to do Mitzvos Ase Shehazman Grama

  • Hello and welcome to Mi Yodeya! Can you add any sources to support this answer? Thanks and I look forward to seeing you around the site. May 12, 2013 at 21:15
  • 1
    ummm...according to Ashkenazim, Teimanim and everyone I can think of they also don't have to. What are you trying to say?
    – Double AA
    May 12, 2013 at 21:20
  • @DoubleAA Ashkenazi women do mitzvos asey shezman grama (with a bracha). That's why it's only a shaala for the Rama. Sefardim say that a woman shouldn't (I can't remember if it's talking about doing the mitzvah or saying the bracha)
    – none
    May 12, 2013 at 22:05

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