- Question: [Tuesday, 11th Iyar 5783]
I usually wear my tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam immediately after prayers, although the other day I had a pressing circumstance which required me to leave immediately after Shacharis to attend to, and although I had certainly plan to where the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam later on in the day, I eventually forgot to do so and only remembered the next morning. I feel really bad as I have never in my life missed wearing Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. Is there any Tikkun you may suggest for me to do for this mistake?
The Rebbe suggested the following Tikkun to be done for one who forgot to wear tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam:
- Study the laws of Tefillin [relevant to the layman, in contrast to a Sofer] until you become expert in them.
- Study the Mitzvah of Tefillin in Derech Mitzvosecha of the Tzemach Tzedek, or in the Siddur by Shaar Hatefillin.
- Study a few chapters of Tanya by heart and Beli Neder review at least one chapter of it daily.
I would also suggest that whenever you do not end up wearing the tefillin immediately after Shacharis, for you to set yourself a reminder on your phone or calendar to wear them. Also, take the tefillin out of their place in the Tallis bag and place it somewhere that you will see, in order so that too serve you as a reminder later on in the day. When the tefillin is out of sight, it also becomes out of mind, and without setting a reminder, it is very easy to come to forget to put it on being that one is used to wearing them early in the morning.
Explanation: As with all matters of transgression, whether done intentionally, or unintentionally, the focus should always be on how to use this error to make an even better future, and hence turn the sin into merit. Thus, in the event that were missed putting on tefillin, the Rebbe suggests for one to strengthen this mitzvah by becoming an expert in its laws and being more careful in its observance, as well as studying its corresponding Kabbalistic aspects which will raise the level of intent one has during the mitzvah. Regarding the suggested study of Tanya by heart, perhaps this is done in order to strengthen the memory so one not come to forget again. Regarding my suggestions, in general, we find regarding all time constricted mitzvah’s that one may not perform work prior to doing the mitzvah because one may come to forget to do the mitzvah. While it is difficult to apply this prohibition regarding Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin which is not an obligation to wear, nonetheless, it is proper to do so. Now, if one has a Shomer then it is generally permitted to do Melacha prior to the mitzvah, and hence we suggested above to set a reminder on one’s phone which can also act as a Shomer.
Sources: See Igros Kodesh 18:96; 23:8; 28:252, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:99; See regarding the requirement to pray before doing melacha unless one has someone to remind him: Michaber 235:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 235:6-8