Treating the Tefillin with Respect
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
Importance of Tefillin
- One who is meticulous concerning the mitzvah of Tefillin and treats Tefillin appropriately according to its holiness, merits a long life in this world and a portion in the world to come. 
- One who is meticulous regarding the mitzvah of Tefillin will not face the fire of gehinam and will have his iniquities forgiven. 
- One who is obligated but does not don Tefillin will not rise at the resurrection of the dead. 
Proper State of Mind while Wearing Tefillin
- It is forbidden to laugh or come to lightheartedness while wearing Tefillin because it removes one’s concentration and focus from the Tefillin. 
- It is preferable not to remove one’s thoughts from the Tefillin at all so as not to come to think bad thoughts. However, during davening and learning one does not need to keep one’s mind on Tefillin since one will certainly maintain a proper seriousness and fear of Hashem. 
- If one is not engaged in learning or praying and is still wearing the Tefillin one should occasionally touch one's Tefillin in order to keep one's attention focused on the Tefillin.  One should touch one's Tefillin Shel Yad and then the Tefillin Shel Rosh. 
- Some people write the word Tefillin in front of them while they wear Tefillin, for example in their siddur, in order to maintain awareness of the Tefillin while wearing them. 
- One may not have inappropriate thoughts about the opposite gender while wearing Tefillin. If one cannot prevent oneself from thinking such thoughts one should not wear Tefillin, but one should try one's best to think holy thoughts.
Sleeping while Wearing Tefillin
- It is forbidden to go to sleep while wearing Tefillin unless one covered the Tefillin and is not with one’s wife.  One is permitted to sleep while one is holding Tefillin in a bag. 
- It is customary to fast if one's Tefillin fall to the floor even if it was accidental.  In some cases instead of fasting, it is better to give charity, or do a taanit dibur, or learn for additional hours, and therefore a posek should be consulted. 
- One is not obligated to fast if one merely witnessed Tefillin fall. 
- One should not hold the Tefillin by their straps, rather they should be held by the boxes. 
Eating while Wearing Tefillin
- According to Sephardim, it is permitted to eat a snack while wearing Tefillin, even though nowadays we do not wear the Tefillin all day.  Ashkenazim are strict not to eat even a snack while wearing Tefillin unless one is doing so in order to be able to wear the Tefillin longer while learning or davening. 
- One must remove one's Tefillin before eating a fixed meal.  A kebaytzah or less of bread or mezonot is considered a snack for this halacha. 
- Similarly, one should not drink more than a kebaytzah of intoxicating beverages. However, drinks that are not intoxicating, like coffee and tea, are permitted even if one drinks more than a kebaytzah. 
Going to the Bathroom Wearing Tefillin
- It is forbidden to go to the bathroom while wearing Tefillin even outside a bathroom.
- One should remove the Tefillin 4 amot away from a bathroom.
Bringing Tefillin into a Bathroom
In a Public Area
- In a place where one can’t leave the tefillin outside the bathroom and also one is planning on wearing them after one comes out of the bathroom, if one is entering the bathroom even if one didn’t go in to relieve oneself one should wrap them the Tefillin and hold them in one’s clothing.
- In a place where one can’t leave the tefillin outside the bathroom, if one isn’t going to put on one’s Tefillin afterwards one should wrap them in a bag before entering the bathroom. If the bag is designated for the tefillin it is a covering as long as the pocket is at least one tefach, however, if the bag isn’t designated for the tefillin it is a covering even if it isn’t a tefach.
- If someone is in the airport and he needs to go to the bathroom if he can leave his tefillin with another Jew he should leave it with him outside the bathroom, but if not he should bring the tefillin to protect it.
In a Private House
- If one in a protected area like one’s own house then one shouldn’t bring tefillin into the bathroom at all even if they’re covered. Rather one should leave them in another room.
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, siman 10, laws of the mitzvah of tefillin, seif 1
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, siman 10, the reward for the mitzvah of tefillin, seif 1
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, siman 10, the reward for the mitzvah of tefillin, seif 3
- Chaye Adam 14:15 and Mishna Brurah 44:3
- Mishna Brurah 44:3 writes that it is preferable not to remove one’s mind from the Tefillin at all while wearing them so as not to come to think bad thoughts. Biur Halacha (D”H yashan) explains (based on Or Zaruha 585) that during Tefillah and learning one will certainly have a fear of heaven and not come to lightheartedness.
- Shulchan Aruch 28:1 writes that occasionally one should touch one's Tefillin in order to make sure that one's attention does not shift from thinking about the Tefillin. Mishna Brurah 28:2 writes that while one is praying one does not need to touch one's Tefillin for this purpose. Mishna Brurah 44:3 adds that the same is true while one is learning.
- Shulchan Aruch 28:1. Mishna Brurah 28:3 explains that this order was chosen so that when one's hand (the one not wearing Tefillin) touches the Tefillin it does not pass over the closer mitzvah of touching the shel yad first.
- Ben Ish Chai Chayei Sara Halacha 17 because Menachot 36a says that one must have awareness of one's Tefillin as long as one wears them because of their great holiness.
- Shulchan Aruch 38:4
- Rama 38:4, Mishna Brurah 38:15
- S”A 44:1. Halacha Brurah 44:1 says that if you sleep for less than 54 seconds or if you simply rest your head in your lap, it is also permitted.
- Kaf Hachayim 44:7
- Mishna Brurah 40:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, siman 10, who is valid to write tefillin and to buy from, seif 3, Iggerot Moshe OC 3:3. Daat Torah 44:1 however quotes poskim who say that fasting is only necessary if they fell because of negligence. Baer Heitev 571:1 and Kaf Hachayim 40:6 write that it is preferable for one to fast on the day that the Tefillin fell. Kaf Hachayim 40:7 writes that one does not need to fast at all if the Tefillin fell from less than 3 tefachim high.
- Az Nidberu 8:20 and Rivevos Efrayim 6:14 quoting the Steipler. Daat Torah 44:1 writes that if fasting is too hard for somebody they can be lenient and give charity and this is the case for someone who is physically weak, a Torah scholar or teacher, as well as somebody who is active in the community. This is also the opinion of the Chida in Chayim Sho’al 12, Ben Ish Chai Parashat Chayei Sarah halacha 18, Sh"t Yabia Omer 2:28
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, siman 10, who is valid to write tefillin and to buy from, seif 4
- Shulchan Aruch 40:1, Ben Ish Chai Chayei Sara 13, Chesed La'alafim 40:1
- S”A 40:8 writes that it is permitted to have a snack while wearing Tefillin. Mishna Brurah 40:19 quotes the Shulchan Shlomo who has a doubt as to whether this applies nowadays since we do not wear Tefillin all day. However, the Sh”t Teshurat Shai 215 argues that we should not extend a prohibition based on our own logic. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano (siman 10, who is valid to write tefillin and to buy from, seif 7) rules like Shulchan Aruch.
- Piskei Teshuvot 40:8
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano (siman 10, who is valid to write tefillin and to buy from, seif 7).
- Mateh Yehudah quoted in Mishna Brurah, kaf hachaim 40:35
- Mateh Yehudah quoted in Mishna Brurah, kaf hachaim 40:35
- The Gemara Brachot 23a establishes that it is forbidden to urinate in a bathroom while wearing Tefillin since one might come to relieve oneself or pass gas. Shulchan Aruch 43:1 codifies this.
- The Gemara Brachot 23b has a Briatta that it is forbidden to urinate while holding Tefillin. The Rosh Brachot 3:28 concludes that outside a bathroom, where there is no concern that one will relieve himself, it is only forbidden to urinate standing holding Tefillin since some drops might get on the Tefillin. However, urinating standing while wearing Tefillin is permitted since there’s no concern of drops getting on the Tefillin. The Bet Yosef 43:1 quotes the Rambam Tefillin 4:18 who says that it is never permitted to urinate while wearing Tefillin. Shulchan Aruch concludes that one should be strict for the Rambam. Therefore, even urinating outside a bathroom one shouldn’t wear Tefillin.
- Gemara Brachot 23a. Even though the gemara distinguished between a temporary and permanent bathroom, the Tur and Rambam Tefillin 4:17 do not. Shulchan Aruch 43:4 codifies the Tur and Rambam.
- Rabbi Meysha in Gemara Brachot 23a establishes that one can wrap the Tefillin and hold them in one’s right hand next to one’s heart while entering a bathroom to go to the bathroom. The Rambam Tefillin 4:17 adds that they should be wrapped in one’s clothing but the Bet Yosef 43:5 writes that the Mordechai implies that he just holds them in his hands. Shulchan Aruch 43:5 follows the Rambam.
- The Bet Yosef 43:7 quotes the Rabbenu Yerucham who writes that entering a bathroom not to actually relieve oneself according to Tosfot it is permitted to enter with tefillin, while according to Rav Hai Goan it is an issue. The Bet Yosef quotes Rosh Tefillin no. 20 who clearly sides with Tosfot. Rama 43:5 writes that it is better to be strict for Rav Hai Goan. Magen Avraham 43:9 argues that there’s no dispute and certainly it is forbidden. Mishna Brurah 43:19 agrees.
- Rabbi Yochanan in Gemara Brachot 23a states that if one isn’t going to wear tefillin after going to the bathroom he should wrap them in a bag before entering. Abaye explains that if the bag isn’t designated for the tefillin it is effective in any size but if it is designated then it has to be at least one tefach. Shulchan Aruch 43:6 codifies this as the halacha. Dirshu 43:19 clarifies that the implication of Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brurah is that the bag needs to have a tefach before the tefillin are placed inside, even if they have less than a tefach of space after the tefillin are put inside.
- Rav Schachter (Brachot Shiur 53 min 55-6) based on Gemara Brachot 23a and Shulchan Aruch 43:6
- The Sefer Hatrumah no. 213 cited by Bet Yosef 43:7 writes that the leniencies that the gemara has regarding bringing tefillin into the bathroom are only for a bathroom near the outdoors where leaving tefillin outside isn’t an option since the tefillin won’t be protected. However, an indoor bathroom where there’s an option to leave the tefillin in another room one should do so. Tur and Shulchan Aruch 43:7 codify this opinion.