Orach Chaim 39:2 - Biur Halacha seems to say that a minor can not do any part of making of the Tefilin. However a reading of the Mishna Berura 10 seems to say that a minor can work on producing the parchment. Recently I saw a sign posted in a store in Yerushalayim that was saying that the recent trend to allow boys who are becoming Bar Mitzva to place their own Parshios into the Batim is against Halacha as all parts of the Tefilin making must be done by a adult. Well Mishna Berura allows a child to produce parchment and does not mention this prohibition of a minor installing the Parshios. It mentions not allowing a minor to make the Batim, the Shin, the sewing, and the knots. What is the source that this is forbidden or is there a source that allows it?

  • Aside from the comment on that page ("ומ"מ נ"ל דקטן בן י"ג שנה שלא ידעינן אם הביא ב' שערות אין להחמיר בו בדיעבד לענין חפוי ותפירה"), see the continued Bei'ur Halacha on the following page: "ונ"ל דאין להחמיר בזה בקטן שהוא בן י"ג שנה אם גדול עומד על גביו ומצויהו לעשות לשמה אף שלא ידעינן שהביא ב"ש דבלא"ה יש הרבה מקילין בזה, וכנ"ל. וגם לדברי התוספות שבת ס"ב ע"א ד"ה שי"ן עי"ש אין מקום לזה וכ"ש דא"צ להחמיר הקטן הזה לעצמו בזה דאם לא הביא ב"ש ואינו חייב במצות רק מדרבנן הלא גם בתפילין אין חייב רק מדרבנן, אך הקשר שעשה הקטן הזה לעצמו קודם שנעשה בן י"ג נ"ל דצריך להתירו לאחר שנעשה בן י"ג ולחזור לעשותו". – Fred Jan 6 '16 at 21:01

The source for this appears to be Gittin 45b (translation from artscroll)

A Torah scroll, tefilin or mezuzot written by [...] a minor [...] are invalid for it is said "and you shall bind them ... and you shall write them" (Deuteronomy 6:8-9) -- whoever is involved in the mitzvah of binding tefilin on his arm is eligible to engage in the writing of [...] tefilin and whoever is not involved in the mitzvah of binding is not eligible in the writing.

So it appears to be a question of definition of what is writing tefilin and how much of the production is called writing.

For what is worth when I bought tefilin for my son from Tefilin Beth El (a well-known tefilin factory near Jerusalem with plenty of haskamot), they allowed my son to start putting the parchment in the batim but asked me to complete it to avoid the issue you mention.

Also seems like the Mishna Brura you cite says a minor can produce the parchment but only under supervision by an adult and lshem mitzvat tefilin.

  • 1
    your source does not forbid the minor to place the Parshios into the Batim? – Gershon Gold Jan 6 '16 at 17:03
  • @GershonGold you are right. I wanted to share the earliest source I knew for your question - and now that I read the braita I understand better how some poskim might hold for and against the issue. Depends how you read "engaged in the writing of tefilin" and how broad you understand this – mbloch Jan 6 '16 at 17:28
  • Then this should be a comment, not an answer. – Gershon Gold Jan 6 '16 at 18:48
  • so much for trying to help :-> – mbloch Jan 6 '16 at 18:53
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    @mbloch Comments can be helpful. :) But I think the final sentence in your answer addresses the question directly enough (see also my comment on the question above). +1. – Fred Jan 6 '16 at 21:08

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