My shul has a policy that anyone (male, over Bar Mitzva, of course) not wearing tefillin cannot receive an aliyah. Is there any halacha or minhag to support this rule?

My rav is in Eretz Yisra'el, now, so I cannot ask him directly.

  • 2
    To the best of my knowledge there is no Halacha or Minhag that supports this policy. Perhaps this was instituted in your Shul to avoid giving an Aliya to individuals that are not Shomer Shabbos or for some other reason. – Gershon Gold Jul 22 '14 at 16:45
  • @GershonGold - No - I asked about that and it is specifically those not wearing tefillin. The majority of shul members are not Shomer Shabbat, and such people get aliyot on Shabbat itself, let alone on weekdays as well, if they wear tefillin during davening. – DanF Jul 22 '14 at 18:30
  • Perhaps it is done in order to get people to wear Tefilin? – Gershon Gold Jul 22 '14 at 18:45
  • @GershonGold - Possible, but doubtful. There's a regular minyanaire who never wears tefillin, but we're grateful he's there to help make the minyan. Granted, he may be an exception to your idea. – DanF Jul 22 '14 at 18:53
  • @DanF, I don't know, but outright refusal to wear Tefillin may be different than simply not happening to be wearing at that time (say you already davened in an earlier minyan, or whatever). – Yishai Jul 22 '14 at 18:59

A suggestion which I admit is not totally supported by the quoted source.

www.torah.org has an article on tefillin from which I abstracted some lines which might be put together to justify the policy of your shul.

In short I am thinking that the shul might think that to read from the Torah one needs a clean body (guf noki) and that someone not wearing tefillin might not have a guf noki.

The relationship between tefillin and Torah is very significant:

1 The very mention of tefillin in to be found in the context of Torah learning: "You shall teach them [the Torah] thoroughly to your children…Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be totafos (tefillin) between your eyes" (Devarim 6:7-8).

The tefillin house four Torah passages (Shemos 13:1-10, Shemos 13:11-16, Devarim 6:4-9 & Devarim 11:13 -21) which are written on parchment like a Torah scroll.

2 One who wears tefillin is compared to one who is reading from the Torah (Pesikta Zutrasa Shemos 13).

3 Torah in its entirety is compared to tefillin (Makkos 11a, Rosh Hashanah 17a).

And in the same way that the holiness of Torah housed in the tefillin demands the wearer to have a clean body (guf noki) to wear these religious artifacts (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 38:1-2), so too, should the holiness of Torah indeed filter down and spiritualize our physical bodies.

  • @AvrohomYitchok - To me, item 3 seems to lend stronger support than the guf noki analogy. I'll have to pass this one onto my rav when he returns, shortly. If his reasoning is drastically different, b"n, I'll post it, here. – DanF Jul 22 '14 at 18:33

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