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I have heard it said (but have no source) that the obligation to wear tefillin covers the entire day, and that people used to actually wear their tefillin all day long. (Various passages that I have seen in the gemara, of people removing tefillin to go to the toilet and replacing them afterwards would support this). Now that we are no longer able to focus our minds on clean thoughts for such a length of time (or so the story goes), we only put the tefillin on once and in the morning. This is why a person who forgot to wear tefillin by shacharis, or who forgot to daven shacharis, should put on tefillin in the afternoon for mincha.

But if the mitzva of wearing tefillin goes for the entire day, why do we need to supplant it with a one-time obligation? Why don't we say that all day-time davening (shacharis and mincha) requires tefillin? Why don't we encourage the use of tefillin at other points of time as well - such as when saying birkas hammazon, for example, or learning/teaching Torah?

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    why do you assume there is a chyiuv to put on teffilin everyday maybe its a mitzva which needs to be done once in a lifetime or once in a while,can you source an everyday chyiuv
    – sam
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 5:07
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/a/77396/759 I think we just need to reject your premise that we only do it once. It's more like we usually (even very, very, usually) do it once.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 5:43
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    Note that Tefillin is a stand alone mitzvah. It essentially has nothing to do with prayer, blessings, or Torah study.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 5:50
  • Even these days, some wear tefillin for long periods of time. E.g. R. David Bar-Haim. In prior times this was increasingly common. R. Kook, for example, wore tefillin all day in Volozhin. If indeed, one wishes to fulfill the mitzvah properly, is not concerned that he will behave inappropriately, and has no other concerns, e.g. yuhara, then TTBOMK there is indeed no reason not to do just what you are proposing; and more.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 5:52

2 Answers 2

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I have also heard that our Jewish ancestors, specifically during the time of the Temple, used to wear tefillin throughout the day.

Looking at the Kitzer Shulchan Aruch, as well as related questions, gives a good idea as to why the idea of wearing tefillin throughout the day is possible but not overtly practical.

Kitzer Siman 10:1 "Whoever is scrupulous in the mitzvah of tefillin, to treat them [in accordance] with [their] holiness, not to speak idle words or of mundane matters while wearing them, he will live a long life and is assured that he is destined for the World to Come."

Similarly, Siman 10:16 "The entire time that the tefillin are on a person, he must not divert his mind from them at all, except for the time when he is praying the Shemoneh Esrei, or when he is learning Torah."

"It is forbidden to eat a meal while wearing tefillin, but it is permitted to partake of a snack while wearing them. With regard to sleeping, it is forbidden to take even a short nap while wearing them."

Significantly (Siman 10:20):

"Because [in truth the optimal form of] the mitzvah [is for] the tefillin to be worn the entire day; [and it is] only because it is difficult to maintain a clean body (see Siman 10:23) [that] one removes them immediately after the Shacharis prayer."

Siman 10:23 : "[The wearing of] tefillin requires [that one maintain] a clean body and one must [therefore] be careful not to pass gas while wearing them."

Note that "Eating up to the volume of an egg is considered a snack with regard to this halacha" (Mishnah Berurah 40:20)."

And that "Sleeping while wearing tefillin is prohibited lest one inadvertently pass gas while sleeping (Mishnah Berurah 44:1). According to some authorities, it is permitted to doze briefly (by placing one's head between his knees - see Beur HaGra ibid. 3 and Magen Avraham ibid. 3) up to the amount of time that it takes to walk 100 amos. This is approximately one sixty-seventh of an hour [less than a minute] (see Mishnah Berurah 44:4)."

See All day tefillin

It seems that the main reasons to not prolong the use of tefillin center around uncleanliness, both in thought and in physical action. However, as noted, the optimal form of this mitzvah is to be worn throughout the entire day. I recommend trying to wear tefillin for a prolonged period as a spiritual endeavor. Just make sure to remove them when you eat anything more than the size of an egg, need to use the restroom, or take a nap.

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  • Pretty sure OP already knows this. You've failed the answer the question. Why not don tefillin also during Mincho, or other times during the day in which our minds and bodies will be "clean"? Farvus men leigt tefillin ein mol dirch Shacharis uber nisht andern tzeit?
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 12:06
  • You can don tefillin also during minchas and throughout the day. I encourage one to try it. Most people do not do this because it is not practical, and it is not a widespread custom. The halacha is to wear tefillin throughout the day, given the noted restrictions of eating, passing gas, unholy thoughts, and napping.
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 12:19
  • that's great but the majority of the Jewish community all over the world for generations haven't worn tefillin by mincho. why should we take your word?
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 13:43
  • @ezra For many generations the majority of the Jewish community all over the world didn't wear tefillin at shacharit either. many rishonim complained a lot how few people actually wore tefillin.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 22:22
  • @ezra This is not my word. This information is from the Kitzer Shulchan Aruch, which is the written version of the Oral Law still being passed down from generation to generation. It is the voice of G-d that was given at Mount Sinai to Moses, then transmitted to the elders, sanhedrin, sages, and now us.
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 10:13
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The M"A 37:2 brings a shita that holds one should indeed put on Tefillin by Mincha. The Beer Heitiv 37:3 brings it as well and adds that the Shle"a says not to wear it on Erev Shabbos. The Shaare Teshuva 37:3 also brings this and adds that Erev YT is the same as Erev Shabbos. The Biur Halacha 37:2 brings these opinions as well of wearing Tefillin by Mincha.

However, on the other side of the coin, the Shulchan Hatahor in 25:3 and 37:2 explains that we no longer wear Tefillin by Mincha since Teffilin is a special Kedusha of Hashem, and we can only get close to that with Shema and Shemone Esrei - not just Shemone Esrei. However, he says if someone feels they really can reach that level then they should wear it at Moncha as well. In the footnotes there he explains that once you wore it once a day there is no need to wear it again, like Lulav. However, someone who feels the Kedusha can shake Lulav more than once (the Gemara mentions Yakirei Yerushalyim that did that), so too by Tefillin.

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  • The Magen Avraham is just quoting someone who enacted to actually do it. The Shulchan Aruch already says the minimum time to wear them is shema and the amida, without any limitation to shacharit.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 22:05
  • Surely he'd agree if someone was reciting just shema in the morning and no amida, or vice versa, that he should wear tefillin. Maybe both is better but one alone is clearly good enough. I don't follow this at all.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 22:09
  • The gemara never says anyone shook lulav twice! It says some people kept holding the lulav for a longer period of time than just the basic time of hallel. Once you put it down the mitzva ends and picking it up again does nothing, such that if it is shabbat (in the days of the gemara they took lulav on shabbat in israel) it becomes muktza.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 22:09
  • @DoubleAA see link to Shulchan hatahor who seems to say they shook it a few times
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 22:11

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