The Rama says (OC 38:3) that one must protest a woman's putting on Tefillin. The Magen Avraham there (sk 3) says that this is...:

מפני שצריכין גוף נקי ונשים אינם זריזות להזהר...
...because [Tefillin] require a clean body, and women aren't quick to be careful [about this].

What kind of cleanliness are we talking about? It's kind of hard to believe that women (even 400 years ago) would need to go to the bathroom uncontrollably.

  • I have a very adult and un-PC theory about this.
    – Seth J
    May 14, 2013 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


The Aruch Hashulchan 38:6 writes that women are patur and if they want to we should protest because of the reason of having a clean body.He brings Elisha from the gemara in shabbas with the story of the Romans and his teffilin turning into kanfei yona ,the point was that Elisha was very careful in being clean while donning teffilin.One has to be in his state of cleanliness(breaking wind,falling asleep is forbidden).

So how can mean wear it they aren't any cleaner.So he answers men only wear it for prayer and we wear it because we are obligated but one who is exempt should not put themselves into a situation when it is very hard to be clean like Elisha.

He mentions that by Michal the chachamim did not protest because it was known she was a complete tzaddeikas and she was very careful.

  • The quoted Magen Avraham himself already brings the same point about overriding chiyuv. Can you elaborate on what defines "cleanliness"? Women then probably weren't falling asleep uncontrollably either.
    – Double AA
    May 14, 2013 at 3:06
  • @doubleaa yep , he writes at the end look at the Magen Avraham.
    – sam
    May 14, 2013 at 3:09
  • Clean like Elisha
    – sam
    May 14, 2013 at 3:11
  • I never met Elisha. In what ways was he so clean?
    – Double AA
    May 14, 2013 at 3:12
  • 1
    Is the aruch talking about Elisha and Michal wearing tefillin for all day or just an hour? It is hard for anyone to maintain that cleanliness all day so the male chiyuv would be the only reason to wear them. But if the current practice of just in davening is considered, it might not be that hard for anyone.
    – rosends
    May 14, 2013 at 21:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .