I know there's some controversy on the permissability of women wearing tefillin and that most poskim forbid it. From what I understand that is for women to wear tefillin for the purpose of the mitzvah of tefillin. Is the same true if they are worn as an amulet for protective purposes? Is it still forbidden?

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    Why would anyone want to do this? – Double AA Jul 7 '14 at 21:33
  • The problem has to do with Kedusha (acc to some) so an amulet would have same problem – sam Jul 7 '14 at 21:38
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    @sam What does amulet have to do with Kedusha? – Double AA Jul 7 '14 at 21:41
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    Please clarify what you mean by "wear[ing] tefillin as an amulet." Do you mean wearing it in the standard manner (wrapped around the arm and on the head), or rather as some sort of necklace or something? – Fred Jul 7 '14 at 21:48
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    see also archive.org/details/historyamuletsc00rodkgoog – user6641 Jul 8 '14 at 15:02

The Mishna Berura (301 sk 158) quotes an argument among Rishonim and Achronim about whether a woman who finds Tefillin in public on Shabbat may wear them as amulets to "carry" them back to a safe place. The debate centers around defining normal modes of wearing clothing. He doesn't cite anyone who suggests that the Rama's exhortation (OC 38:3) of "מוחין בידן" protesting women wearing Tefillin would prevent the woman from "carrying" the Tefillin back to a safe place.

It seems from this that there would be no problem, but perhaps the Mishna Berura's case is unique as the safety of the Tefillin is at stake. On the other hand I don't know of any other case where someone would want to do this.

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    I don't think it's talking about a women wearing them as an amulet, but rather about wearing them as a tachshit. Anyway, as mentioned there, typical tefillin-like amulets don't have r'tzu'os and are not worn in the usual manner (see sk 156). – Fred Jul 7 '14 at 21:56
  • @Fred mechon-mamre.org/i/3119.htm#14 I'm not so sure the distinction is particularly relevant here, though what exactly the OP was thinking is not entirely clear. (Tefillin amulets certainly could have straps, even if that wasn't standard among tefillin-amulet-makers.) – Double AA Jul 7 '14 at 21:58
  • Fair enough, the theory holds - but it doesn't seem that they happened to be discussing a scenario where someone wears them in the normal manner yet, at the same time, as an amulet. They don't seem to address using it as an amulet in that way. In other words, that's not explicitly the case under disagreement. – Fred Jul 7 '14 at 22:04
  • @Fred I guess it's fair to say that I don't know how anyone, whether back in the day or the OP, thought to use them as an amulet. Until I hear otherwise I only know of one way to wear them. – Double AA Jul 7 '14 at 22:07
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    Findings from Qumran certainly suggest using tefillin-like objects as amulets (apparently without straps), similar to what the MB (citing the Magen Avraham) mentions. – Fred Jul 7 '14 at 22:08

No it is prohibited for a woman to wear tefillin as an amulet according to Rambam.

It is also forbidden for men to wear tefillin as an amulet.

He writes the following in Hilkhot Avodah Zara (11:13):

יג [יב] הלוחש על המכה וקורא פסוק מן התורה, וכן הקורא על התינוק שלא ייבעת, המניח ספר תורה או תפילין על הקטן בשביל שיישן--לא דיי להן שהן בכלל חוברים ומנחשים: אלא שהן בכלל הכופרים בתורה, שהן עושין דברי תורה רפאות גוף, ואינן אלא רפאות נפשות, שנאמר "ויהיו חיים, לנפשך" (משלי ג,כב).

One who whispers a spell over a wound, at the same time reciting a verse from the Torah, one who recites a verse over a child to save it from terrors, and one who places a Torah scroll or phylacteries on an infant to induce it to sleep, are not merely in the category of sorcerers and soothsayers, but are included among those who repudiate the Torah; for they use its words to cure the body, whereas these are only medicine for the soul, as it is said, "They shall be life to your soul" (Prov. 3:22).


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