A cochlear implant is attached on the outside of the head as shown in this picture

Cochlear implant attachment

As you can see, there isn't much leeway to move the coil off the head into a different position as there is a magnet inside the head to which the outer magnet attaches. Inevitably when wearing the tefillin shel rosh, the strap will go over the coil. You can't put the coil over the tefillin strap, as it won't fit correctly.

Also, removing the coil completely makes the person deaf. (Well, he still is deaf, but, I mean with the coil, he can hear.) Please don't suggest davening without the coil attached, unless you are deaf or have extensively dealt with deaf people themselves.

Is having the coil in place with the tefillin strap over it considered a chatzitza (interference)?

  • Exactly how poorly fitting will the tefillin be if the coil goes over the strap? Can you use a lopsided knot to keep the box in place and the knot over the nape? Jan 15, 2015 at 4:52
  • How easy/annoying is it to detach and reattach the coil? (ie to wear the tefilin without the coil for just a few seconds daily?)
    – Double AA
    Jan 15, 2015 at 5:36
  • @DoubleAA judaism.stackexchange.com/a/18268
    – msh210
    Jan 21, 2015 at 19:45
  • In many cases, the alignment of the coil is important, as technically it carries an electronic / magnetic signal. Thus, it works best when the coil is closest to the head and in a "straight line". Wrapping the coil over the tefillin strap could disturb the signal. So, it's not a matter of removing and reattaching the coil.As I've stated in the question, it also, doesn't fit well, with the coil over the strap.
    – DanF
    Nov 5, 2019 at 2:43

3 Answers 3


We learn in Shulchan Aruch Hilchot Tefilin - סימן כז - מקום הנחתן ואפן הנחתן:

ד: לֹא יְהֵא דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ בֵּין תְּפִלִּין לִבְשָׂרוֹ, לָא שְׁנָא שֶׁל יָד, לָא שְׁנָא שֶׁל רֹאשׁ: הגה: וְדַוְקָא בִּתְפִלִּין אֲבָל בִּרְצוּעוֹת אֵין לְהַקְפִּיד (רַשְׁבָּ''א בתשו' סי' תתכ''ז):‏

The Remo states clearly that there's no issue of chatzitza (interference) with regards to the strap.

Actually, the Mechaber doesn't really argue, as we see in the next Halacha that he allows one to wear one's Tefilin Shel Rosh over one's thin Kippa, if needed.

ה: אָדָם שֶׁהוּא עָלוּל לִנְזִילוּת, וְאִם יִצְטָרֵךְ לְהָנִיחַ תְּפִלָּה שֶׁל רֹאשׁ עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ לֹא יְנִיחֵם כְּלָל, יֵשׁ לְהַתִּיר לוֹ לְהָנִיחַ תְּפִלָּה שֶׁל רֹאשׁ עַל הַכּוֹבַע דַּק הַסָמוּךְ לְרֹאשׁ וִיכַסֵם מִפְּנֵי הָרוֹאִים: הגה: וְהַמְנִיחִים בְּדֶרֶךְ זֶה לֹא יְבָרֵךְ עַל שֶׁל רֹאשׁ רַק יְבָרֵךְ עַל שֶׁל יָד לְהָנִיחַ (לְדַעַת רַשְׁבָּ''א).‏

Not everybody agrees with the 2 Halachot above, as the Be'er Heitev mentions. However, considering the extenuating circumstances (the alternative would be davening while deaf) I imagine one could rely on the lenient opinion.

Also see the קיצור ש''ע ילקוט יוסף in סימן כז - מקום הנחתן ואופן הנחתן who says that one needn't remove one's wristwatch, as there is no chatzitza (interference) regarding tefillin straps after winding the strap 7 times around - though one should be stringent.

יא: תפילין של יד מותר להניחם גם מבלי להסיר את השעון יד מעליו, שאין ברצועות דין חציצה לאחר שכרך שבע הכריכות על זרועו, והמחמיר תבוא עליו ברכה. [ילקוט יוסף על הלכות תפילין סימן כז הערה יא. מהדורת תשס''ד עמוד קפא. שארית יוסף חלק א' עמ' שפה].‏

  • 2
    Why don't you translate the second Rama on this page? This answer is incomplete and misleading. No +1 from me.
    – Double AA
    Jan 15, 2015 at 15:58
  • 2
    Your last source is less relevant as it refers to parts of the strap which follow the knot, not the parts that are in between the box and the knot.
    – Double AA
    Jan 15, 2015 at 16:21
  • @DoubleAA - the Be'er Heitev and others state that the 2nd Remo refers only to a full Chaziza - so in our case he would make a Brocho. Hence it's not relevant to the discussion, not misleading. Jan 18, 2015 at 10:16
  • 1
    I don't know what Be'er Heitev you are looking at (nor what a "full Chaziza" even means). The Be'er Heitev I see says that the first Rama does NOT apply to the parts of the straps before the knot, making your entire answer irrelevant. Mishna Berura and Arukh Hashulchan both agree citing many authorities who rule similarly. The Be'er Heitev I see also yells at people who think like you and allow putting the head Tefillin on a toupee (the Mishna Berura explicitly extends this to where only the straps are over the toupee).
    – Double AA
    Jan 19, 2015 at 23:20

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe OC 4:40:18) rules that one who wears a toupee regularly should wear his head Tefillah without a blessing at Shul and then put it on another time without the toupee but with a blessing that day. Some Googling indicates that Rs Shlomo Aviner Hakohein, Chaim David Halevi and Ovadia Yosef agree with this ruling.

It seems that those with cochlear implants do not sleep with them in. Thus the cases seem parallel.

Accordingly, one in this situation should don his Tefillin briefly at home before putting in the implants, and then don them again at Shul with the implants in place but omitting any blessing(s) on the head Tefillah.

  • 2
    Is not sleeping with the toupee the determining factor in I"M? If so, you should edit that in. Potential differentiators: 1) The implants are the difference between hearing and not, so might have a leg up over a toupee as integral to the body. 2) I assume (edit if I'm wrong) that RMF's reasoning for not having the person make a beracha at shul with the toupee off is that it would be embarrassing. As that is not the concern with the coil, perhaps it would be better to remove the coil, put the tefilin on with a beracha, then put the coil back, under the tefilin.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 15, 2015 at 16:27
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses I don't know how annoying it is to take it off and put it back on. Establishing that it gets taken off and put on once every day (at least) is sufficient to allow for my solution to apply. If it can be taken off and put back on with extreme ease then you are correct that we could imagine him just doing it at Shul and there could even be benefits to that halachicly in terms of the brachot applying to both wearings. CYLOR regarding your particular situation with your particular hearing device. One way or another the other answer (which has upvotes and a accept) is seriouly misleading
    – Double AA
    Jan 15, 2015 at 19:59
  • 1
    @DoubleAA - a touppe would be a chatziza under the "box", I would imagine. The implant is a small chatziza under the strap. I don;t see the parallel. Jan 18, 2015 at 10:19
  • Your imagination is broad. See my comments on your answer.
    – Double AA
    Aug 12, 2015 at 18:14

According to an article here (http://www.eretzhemdah.org/newsletterArticle.asp?lang=en&pageid=48&cat=7&newsletter=723&article=2665) regarding whether hair is a chatzitza for the shel rosh, the cochlear implant should not pose a problem. “Rashba (Shut III, 282)...suggests that chatzitza is a problem for tefillin shel yad but not shel rosh.” Also: “Rama (OC 27:4) says that chatzitza applies only to the boxes of the tefillin, not the straps.” “Mishna Berura (27:15)...says [regarding long hair] that, in addition to problems of chatzitza, a lot of hair can prevent the tefillin from being secured in the right place. Apparently, he means that the tefillin are supposed to be on the head, which may be accomplished even if there is hair in between.”

  • 1
    This doesn't appear to answer the question.
    – Double AA
    Nov 4, 2019 at 12:56
  • The question is not abouty the bracha but about chatzitza. This could apply no matter whether the bracha is required or not. Nov 4, 2019 at 16:08
  • You’re both right! I edited my answer to make it more relevant. Dec 2, 2019 at 15:02

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