Those of us who live in hot climates often sweat profusely during davenning. Talit are obviously an aggrevating factor. In my case, this is already discoloring the bottom of the shel rosh beit of my brand-new pair of tefillin. I am worried this will lead to the premature possuling of the battim.

This source suggests allowing the beit to dry overnight, then applying a thin layer of vaseline once or twice a week to avoid moisture damage to the beit. Other internet sources suggest olive oil used in the same fashion.

Has anyone found a good solution to this problem? I am rather hesitant to apply petroleum jelly or even the finest of extra-virgen olive oils to my new, expensive set of tefillin on the say-so of a single website, I am also rather anxious to protect a beautiful shel rosh beit and the texts inside it.

  • 1
    I'd be similarly hesitant – Double AA Oct 11 '18 at 21:28
  • Pardon my asking, but was is a "bait" (end of 2nd paragraph) regarding tefillin? – DanF Oct 12 '18 at 1:21
  • 1
    Ah! Transliteration always poses problems when it gets spelled similar to an English word. – DanF Oct 12 '18 at 1:27
  • 1
    I think there are packs of sweat-absorbing gel you can put into the cases. – ezra Oct 12 '18 at 5:20
  • 1
    Josh - Now that you've explained the transliteration, I got the idea. You don't need to change anything, really. Mikol Makom ata medaber ivrit :-) – DanF Oct 12 '18 at 17:46

The only thing I can think of that might work is putting some sort of moisture-absorbing gel into the cases to soak up the sweat while they're sitting in the bag after putting them on.

The Sofer Center sells a "Tefillin Sweat Kit Saver" which is basically the abovementioned.

Unfortunately I don't think there's any other solution to your problem, besides you sweating less. Putting anything onto the bayit of the tefillin or between your head and the bayit could constitute a chatzitzah.

Although some people just naturally sweat despite conditions, maybe you could try wearing less layers during davening, or maybe wearing a lighter tallit. You could crank up the air conditioner as well if possible. That might limit the amount you will prespire.

Whatever you decide to do, may Hakadosh Baruch Hu give you the wisdom to make the right choice. And I sincerely hope that your tefillin don't become damaged, chas v'shalom.

  • 1
    I'm not convinced a liquid would be a chatzitza. Why are you? – Double AA Oct 12 '18 at 11:37
  • 1
    Why aren't you allowed to have paint on the bottom? – Double AA Oct 12 '18 at 16:37
  • 1
    Only the outer parts need to be black, like with straps, but double black straps aren't invalid because of chatzitza even if you argue they aren't the minhag. – Double AA Oct 12 '18 at 16:44
  • 1
    As a stopgap measure while figuring out a better solution, I am using a lighter tallit gadol, and this has mitigated roughly 85% of the problem – Josh K Oct 15 '18 at 15:35
  • 1
    @JoshK Considering the climate where you live, I think that was a good idea. I live in West Texas, where during the summer it gets 110+ degrees Fahrenheit, and although I don't wear a tallis gadol yet, I can't imagine wearing a heavy one. I get hot enough wearing my tefillin, jacket, and hat. – ezra Oct 15 '18 at 15:46

I received psak on this matter and was told it was important that any product applied to the bottom of the battim should be applied with as fine, thin a coating as possible between uses to ensure no residue is on them when in use.

So apparently the internet sources suggesting petroleum jelly or olive oil were on the mark as far as halacha goes. Will report back with the practical implications of treating leather in this manner on December 4th.

  • 1
    Tell us how it goes! :D However, I still fail to see how olive oil or petroleum jelly will reflect sweat. – ezra Oct 19 '18 at 2:54
  • 1
    Just as oil and water don't mix, @ezra, the idea is that coating a permeable surface with a plant oil or petroleum based product (or, for that matter, animal fat) will repel a primarily water-based substance like human sweat. I have no doubt that's the case- people have been using plant and animal fats to waterproof leather for thousands of years- I'm just not sure how great it is for the leather – Josh K Oct 19 '18 at 4:30
  • 1
    There's this impregnating spray you can apply on shoes. As it is colourless and odourless, isn't it better to apply that one? – Kazi bácsi Oct 19 '18 at 6:00
  • That's exactly what I wanted to do, @Kazi bácsi, but it appears that halachically speaking we're not permitted to do so – Josh K Oct 19 '18 at 6:02
  • @JoshK Then I don't get your answer. You say olive oil is fine, but not this spray. BTW you seem to have a Hungarian surname, is that right? – Kazi bácsi Oct 19 '18 at 7:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .