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The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 135:14) states that one should not bring a Sefer Torah into a prison.:

"בני אדם החבושים בבית האסורין אין מביאי' אצלם ס"ת אפילו בר"ה ויה"כ: הגה והיינו דוקא בשעת הקריאה לבד אבל אם מכינים לו ס"ת יום או יומים קודם מותר ואם הוא אדם חשוב בכל ענין שרי :"

It seems logical that this would also apply to other holy objects like Tefillin. What are the reasons a Sefer Torah is not allowed in a prison? And therefore, for example, if the reason is that a prison is an unclean place, then it should also apply to tefillin, right?

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    the reasoning isn't about "unclean" but about the kavod for the sefer Torah which should have people go to it. But there is sizable argument over whether one should not bring the torah -- some say you should for a minyan, others say not to. The Ramo says that one should bring it a day or two before to establish it there so it isn't being denigrated by being schlepped in. – rosends Nov 25 '18 at 4:09
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    This Shu"A does not apply to our prisons that have a stand-alone shul. THe only question is whether the Teffilin can be put in a cell that has a lavatory. As the water is flushed and the place cleaned, and there's no bad smell, it is still a Machlokes, but some do allow to put Teffilin in a cell. – Al Berko Nov 25 '18 at 12:20
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I don't know why you try to infer Teffilin from Sefer Torah. Shu"A brings those Halochos explicitly in O"H Siman 43, please read it if you want to see the details.

The bottom line, if the cell has an open toilet it is still allowed to put Teffilin and read Krishm"A. Some may behave more stringently either covering the open toilet with a blanket or covering the Teffilin with Kippah and staying 4 Amos away (2 meters).

Keep in mind that the בית הכסא the Mechaber is talking was just a pit full of excrements, not the contemporary water-flushed toilets.

  • i think as long as its pre planned you can bring any tashmishei Kedusha provided the right circumstances as noted in Shulchan Aruch alberkos link – user15464 Dec 25 '18 at 15:14
  • What in siman 43 indicates it is talking about a prison? What in siman 135 indicates the issue is the toilet? Can you clarify the link between the two by including it in your answer? – WAF Dec 25 '18 at 18:17
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The Bi'ur Halacha (135:14) on the lines you quoted says that the issue is not the Torah being in the prison, but the degrading act of transporting it from its location for an individual's use*. This is based on an idea at the beginning of the 7th perek of Y'rushalmi Yoma that it is appropriate for the people to come to the Torah and not the other way around, unless they are especially respectable people.

However, this is questionable as the source for the prohibition because the incarcerated do not have any expectation of mobility and therefore should not be subject to this rationale:

ובאמת הדבר תמוה דהירושלמי מיירי כשאפשר לילך למקום שהס"ת מונחת. ולכך זלזול הוא כשמוליכין ס"ת אצלן, משא"כ בזה שאנוסים הם ורוצים לקיים מצות קה"ת! למה לא נביאה אליהם מאי זילותא הוא לס"ת כשבני אדם מהדרין אחריה לקרות בה אם נביאה אליהם כיון שהם אינם יכולים לילך אחריה?

The Bi'ur Halacha accepts this argument with respect to this case while admitting that some (e.g. Mord'chai) would disagree, maintaining the restriction even for prisoners. Then it concludes that the presence of a tzibur (10 participants) at the prison would mitigate the Torah transit troubles entirely, since it is more worthy and less degrading to be displaced for the sake of public reading.

ולדינא נראה דאפילו להמרדכי דאוסר אפילו באנוס אינו מיירי כ"א ביחידים החבושים ורוצים להכניף עשרה שם לקה"ת בזה אוסר [ודלא כאו"ז דמשמע שם דמתיר לחולה להכניף עשרה שם ולהביא הס"ת אצלו] ומטעם דמן הדין י"ל דאין חל על יחיד מצות קה"ת בזמן שאין יכול לילך לביהמ"ד אבל כשיש שם עשרה כיון דחל עליהם חובת קריאה והם אינם יכולים לצאת משם ולילך אחריה גם המרדכי מודה דצריך להביא להם ס"ת לקרות בה:

I assume then, that this would not apply to t'filin, whose use does not command the same type of respect, or bear any requirement to be used by a tzibur.


*@rosends points out in a comment that there are clues to this effect in the words of the Shulchan Aruch itself.

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