On shabbat we don't wear tefillin because shabbat is an אות. However yom tov is not referred to as an אות. So why don't we wear tefillin on yom tov?

  • I thought this question was going to be easily google-able, and it isn't. Huh... good question. :)
    – rosenjcb
    May 11, 2014 at 7:53
  • but yontiff is refered to as shabbos
    – Dude
    Nov 5, 2015 at 19:32
  • Sourcing your first sentence would strengthen the question.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 13, 2017 at 18:38
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    – mevaqesh
    Jun 13, 2017 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


The Rambam (Hil. Tefilin 4:10) disagrees with you. He says:

וכן שבתות וימים טובים, אינן זמן תפילין, שנאמר "והיו לך לאות" (ראה שמות יג,ט), ושבתות וימים טובים הן עצמן אות.

The Rambam says clearly that Yom Tov is an אות and therefor does not warrant putting on Tefillin.

The Rambam's source is a Gemara (Menachot 36):

ר´ עקיבא אומר יכול יניח אדם תפילין בשבתות וימים טובים? תלמוד לומר "והיה לאות על ידך ולטוטפות בין עיניך", מי שצריכין אות, יצאו שבתות וימים טובים שהן גופן אות

The question now becomes: How is Yom Tov an אות?

The Aruch Hashulchan in Hil. Tefilin 31:3 answers this in 2 ways:

  1. That Yom Tov is also called a שבתון - we even see it called שבת as in ממחרת השבת regarding Sefirat HaOmer. So it has the same אות status as Shabbat.
  2. The fact that Melacha is forbidden makes it an אות (as per the Tos. HaRosh)
  3. Since Yom Tov is [also] זכר ליציאת מצרים - in memory of the Exodus, it is an אות. (as per the Rokach 30)
  • Hard to call it disagreeing. All of your 2/3 suggested answers agree it isn't ever actually called an אות.
    – Double AA
    May 11, 2014 at 9:00
  • If an איסור מלאכה makes it an אות, then why does the Torah use the terminology of ״אות״ regarding shabbos? And by the way shabbos is also זכר יציאת מצרים! May 11, 2014 at 10:07
  • @DavidFeigen - 1. It's not unusual for the Torah not to repeat itself, but rather to rely on some connection/Drush. 2. Correct - note the [also] I inserted, for that very reason. May 11, 2014 at 11:46
  • The ערוך השלחן is not listing three ways that we know יו"ט is an אות; rather the first one in your numbered list is how we know יו"ט is an אות, and the other two explain the nature of the אות (although, as the ערוך השלחן explains at the end of סעיף ד, the nature of the אות might also have a bearing on whether the שבתון comparison extends to חוה"מ). In fact, other explanations quoted in the ערוך השלחן for the nature of the אות are that the day itself is the אות (Rashi, Rif, Or Zaru'a, Rabbeinu Elyakim), or that the mitzvos associated with the chagim are the אות (Tos. HaRosh). @DoubleAA
    – Fred
    May 11, 2014 at 17:26
  • @Fred - correct, 31. Edited. May 12, 2014 at 7:51

Additionally, Pesach Mitzrayim is refered to in the Torah as an ot, and as all the yamim tovim are connected to the Exodus, there's a sort of transitive operation by which the others can be considered otot as well.

  • well yea that is why the Misheh Brura calls yomim tovim an Ot in siman 31:1
    – Shlomy
    May 28, 2014 at 0:54

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