May women wear Tefillin?

May women wear Tefillin?[1]

Exemption:[2] Women are exempt from wearing Tefillin. The reason for this is because Tefillin is a time dependent positive command[3], as Shabbos and Yom Tov is not a time for Tefillin.[4] [Likewise, according to Kabala, the Mitzvah of Tefillin only applies to men, while women are not relevant to this Mitzvah.[5]]

Restriction and prohibition:[6] Furthermore, they are to be protested against doing so. The reason women are to be protested if they decide to be stringent upon themselves to wear Tefillin [despite the fact that they may do Mitzvos that they are exempt from] is because they are not able to guard their bodies to the appropriate level of cleanliness [required for Tefillin].[7] [Furthermore, some Poskim rule that it is Biblically forbidden for women to wear Tefillin due to the prohibition of Lo Silbash.[8] Likewise, some Poskim[9] rule that it is actually forbidden for women to wear tefillin even without a blessing being that it makes them appear like heretics who deny the words and traditions that the sages have in the interpretation of Scripture. Likewise, according to Kabala, women are specifically not to wear Tefillin.]


Michal Bas Shaul:

The Talmud states that Michal the daughter of Shaul wore Tefillin without protest of the Sages.[10] [Some suggest this was due to that Michal knew that she had soul of a male, as we see from the fact she could not have any children, and hence based on Kabala the Mitzvah of Tefillin was relevant to her.[11] However, other sources state that she was indeed protested against by the sages.[12] Some sources say that she wore them only at night and hence was not protested.[13]]


There is no source to back up the claim that Beruriyah, the wife of Rebbe Meir, wore Tefillin.[14]

The daughters of Rashi:

There is no source to back of the common claim that Rashi’s daughters wore Tefillin.


The Maidel of Ludmir:[15]

Chana Rachel of Ludmir indeed wore Tefillin, although she did so against the purpose of the Gedolei Haposkim and Admurim and was indeed shunned for doing so.


[1] See Admur 38:3 “Women are exempt from wearing Tefillin. Furthermore, they are to be protested against doing so.”; Kaf Hachaim 38; Halacha Berurah [Yosef] 38:6

[2] Admur 38:3; Michaber 38:3; Rambam Tefillin 4:13; Mishneh Brachos 20b “Women, children, and slaves are exempt from reading the Shema and from the Mitzvah of Tefillin.”

Other opinions in Talmud: According to those who rule that nighttime, Shabbos, and holidays are a time of tefillin, then women are likewise obligated in Tefillin. [Rebbe Meir, Rebbe Yehuda, brought in Eiruvin 96b] However, according to the Drashos of the Yerushalmi and Mechilta, then even according to them women are exempt due to a spiritual exemption. [Ritva Kiddushin 35a; Rosh ibid; Pnei Yehoshua Eiruvin  96b; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger Tinyana 153; Chasam Sofer O.C. 185; Shut Stam Tefillin 59]

[3] Admur ibid; Michaber ibid

[4] Admur ibid; Taz 38:1; Rashi and Tosafus Kiddushin 34a; Rosh Tefillin 29; However nighttime is a time that one is Biblically obligated in Tefillin. [Levushei Serud ibid]

Reason of Yerushalmi: The Yerushalmi Brachos 2:3; 3:3 explains that women are exempt from Tefillin due to that Tefillin is connected to Torah learning in the verse, and hence just like women are exempt from learning Torah, similarly they are exempt from Tefillin. [Brought in Rosh ibid; See also Mechilta end of Bo; Pesikta; Haeshkol 2:29] See Admur 17:1 in which he explains that the reason women are exempt from Tefillin is not due to that it is a time dependent Mitzvah, but due to other reasons [seemingly the reason of the Yerushalmi]. Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur 38:3 does not record this ruling of the Yerushalmi. See letter of Rebbe printed in Haggada Shel Pesach p. 620.

[5] Arizal brought in Shaar Hakavanos Derushei Tefillin 5; Pweri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatefillin 7; Olas Tamid p. 31; Kaf Hachaim 38:8

[6] Admur ibid; Rama 38:3; Maharam; Kol Bo 21; Tashbeitz 270; Orchos Chaim Tefillin 3; M”A 38:3; Beis Yosef 38; Birkei Yosef 38:1; Maharikash in Erech Lechm 38; Levush 38:3; Mamr Mordechai 38:3

Other opinions in Rishonim: Some Rishonim hold that women may wear Tefillin. [Orchos Chaim ibid in name of Rashba; Olas Tamid 38:4 that an elderly woman who knows to keep a clean body may wear them without protest]

[7] Admur ibid; Taz 38:2; M”A 38:3; Tosafus Eiruvin ibid; Haeshkol 2:29-90; Orchos Chaim ibid; Kol Bo ibid;  See Olas Tamid 38:4; Tehila Ledavid 38:1

Other opinions-Biblical prohibition: Some Poskim rule that it is Biblically forbidden for women to wear Tefillin due to the prohibition of Lo Silbash. [Beis Hillel 182:2; Targum Yonason Seitzei; Kaf Hachaim 38:9]

[8] Beis Hillel 182:2; Targum Yonason Seitzei; Kaf Hachaim 38:9

[9] Shiltei Giborim Rosh Hashanah 4 p. 9b in name of Rabbeinu Yeshaya Hachron; Piskeiy Riaz R”H 4:2;

[10] Eiruvin 96a

[11] Yifei Lalev 38:2; Shomer Emuinim Ki Seitzei; Kaf Hachaim 38:9; See also Rashal in Yam Shel Shlomo Kiddushin 1:64, brought in Birkeiy Yosef ibid, that she was an exception to the rule being that she was a daughter of the king and did not have any children and knew how to be careful

[12] Yerushalmi Brachos 2:3; Pesikta 22; Tosafus Eiruvin 96a; Beis Yosef ibid; Biur Hagr”a 38

[13] Rabbeinu Chananel Eiruvin ibid; See Igros Moshe O.C. 2:2

[14] Seemingly, however, this claim is based on the idea that according to her husband Rebbe Meir, it is possible to learn that women are obligated in Tefillin, and hence his wife did like his opinion. [See Eiruvin ibid]

[15] See the biography written on her life story and that the Rebbes of Chernobyl protested her actions

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