Wednesday, January 03, 2007
is there a din of chatzitzah by tefillin?
The Mishna (Megillah 24b) requires that tefillin be worn directly on the arm and not on top of one’s shirt. Rashi explains the reason for this law is because the pasuk describes tefillin as “v’haya lecha l’os al yadecha”, as a private symbol, but not an outward sign for others to see. If tefillin are worn over one’s clothes they are noticeable; if worn directly on one’s arm and covered by one’s shirt, the tefillin are concealed and private. Other Rishonim offer a far simpler reason for the Mishna – the obligation that tefillin be worn on the arm excludes chatzitzah, any blockage, such as clothing, between the arm and the tefillin themselves. One practical difference between Rashi and the other views would be whether this Mishna applies to the tefillin shel rosh (Rashb"a). According to Rashi, this din is unique to the description of tefillin shel yad; according to other Rishonim (whose view we accept l’halacha) who assume there is a din of chatzitzah by tefillin, the same din would apply both to shel yad and shel rosh. A second potential difference between these views would be if one wore tefillin shel yad over one's shirt but then placed nother covering over the tefillin (Magen Avraham 27:6) - the tefillin meet Rashi's criterion of being a private and not public symbol, but there is still a problem of chatitzah according to all other Rishonim.