- Question: [Sunday, 16th Adar, 5781]
I often see people in shul who store their Tallis on top of Sefarim on the bookshelf. This often happens when there is a Kiddush in shul after Davening on Shabbos and people to roll up their Tallis and put it by the bookshelf on top of Sefarim. I often wonder if this is allowed?
Indeed, it is forbidden to do so, and people are simply unaware. It is even forbidden for one to store his Tallis and Tefillin bag on top of Sefarim. The only time it is permitted to place a Tallis on top of Sefarim is if it is being done for the sake of the Sefer, such as to protect the Sefer, or save its place.
Explanation: Sefarim have a status of Kedusha, and it is thus forbidden to place things of lesser Kedusha on top of them, and a Tallis has the status of a mitzvah object and not of a Kedusha object and therefore may not be placed on top of Sefarim. It is even disputed if Tefillin may be placed on top of Sefarim and thus certainly a Tallis may not. It goes without saying that one may not store on Sefarim other mundane items, and people need to learn to be careful in this especially by bookcases with Sefarim to not store things on top of the Sefarim.
Sources: Ginzei Hakodesh 3:24; Menucha Ukedusha p. 32:9; See regarding Kedusha of Sefarim: Shulchan Aruch and Nosei Keilim on Y.D. 282:5 and 7; See regarding the prohibition of making use of a Sefer to support items: M”A 254:14; Chayeh Adam 31:48; M”B 154:31 and 315:30; Taz Yoreh Deah 282:13; Orach Chaim 315:6; Aruch Hashulchan 282; See Shaareiy Teshuvah 40:3 in name of Shalmei Tzibur regarding prohibition to store the Tallis on top of Tefillin; Sefarim in Machzik Bracha 25:12; Kaf Hachaim 25:101 regarding dispute if may place Tefillin on top of Sefarim