There's a Lubavitcher in my shul who takes off his tefillin during the middle of Shacharit, and puts on another one. I asked him what he's doing - why is he putting on a different pair of tefillin.

He says, "I'm wearing Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin." I asked him, "Are you sure that Rabbeinu Tam won't mind? Does he know about this?" He says, "No, he doesn't know about this, but I don't think he would mind at all."

I don't know about how "kosher" this is. It sounds like stealing to me to take Rabbeinu Tam's tefillin without his permission. Not only that, you would think that he would return the tefillin to the locker that he borrowed it from. But no - he takes Rabbeinu Tam's tefillin home with him!

This really sounds like stealing to me. The guy tells me that many Lubavitchers are doing likewise. Are they all stealing? If they get caught, wouldn't they have to pay a double penalty?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

3 Answers 3


Since Rabbeinu Tam gave a psak that everyone should put on this tefillin, the Lubavitch that you met was doing it with the permission of Rabbeinu Tam. As a result, it is not theft.

In fact he has a large number of tefillin and all of them are being used.


It is not a problem to steal the tefellin from rabbenu tam. We learn how to answer his accusations from the haggadah.

"תם מה הוא אומר מה זאת" [Rabbeinu] Tam, what does he say? “What is this?”

And we answer him: "ואמרת אליו--בחוזק יד הוציאנו ה' ממצריים" “With a strong hand Hashem took us out of Egypt,”

This roleplay teaches Tam how his tefellin see the situation. With this kal vachomer we teach Tam that if Hashem can take Tam's tefillin, how the more are we allowed to do so.


Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Siman 10:22

מותר ליקח תפילין של חברו גם שלא בידיעתו להניחן ולברך עליהן

It is permitted for one to take the tefillin of another, even without his knowledge, to put them on and to recite the blessings upon them

So the Lubavitcher you encountered donning Rabbeinu Tam's tefillin is not violating any halachah. As for taking the tefillin home with him, that's a different story.

For those who think my answer is much too serious - yes, I know it's a joke question.

  • 1
    The answer is a bit serious. Additionally, I think that there is an opinion stating that people may actually mind others borrowing their tefillin. Onus is on me to check for that opinion. I may be wrong.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 18:41
  • The answer being very serious is hilarious, if you ask me. :P
    – ezra
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:30
  • What's hilarious is that I still think you're serious ;-)
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 21:28
  • @DanF - LOL
    – ezra
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 22:24

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