Sunday, February 08, 2015


Should Women Wear Tefillin?

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Should Women Wear Tefillin?


Berel wrote:

    A lady just asked me if she can put on tefillin…I said "yes, but I can't help you to do it because I can't touch you." It worked; she said, "Oh well, I don't know how to do it." A guy nearby wanted to put on tefillin, then he told me that she was a man…and became a woman! Hmm any thoughts? Am I allowed to put tefillin on him…her…it?


Gutman's response:

     Women should not put on tefillin. Although some say that women are strictly forbidden to put them on, the halacha (Jewish law) is not that they are forbidden, but that they should not do it. The ones who say that women are forbidden, site among other reasons, that tefillin are a man's garment and a woman is not allowed to put on a man's garment.

     Those who believe that women should put on tefillin claim that Rashi's [i] daughters put on tefillin, but there is no historical source to support this story, none at all. And even if they did, which I doubt, the fact that someone who wants to justify women putting on tefillin has to go back in history 1000 years to find a woman who is said to have put them on, is more than enough proof that tefillin are not a woman's mitzvah.

     As to that particular person you met, although I am a great believer in not keeping the sick out of the hospital, (i.e. those who are the most confused need the most help) even if he is actually a man, if he appeared as a woman then you should not help him in public or you would be showing others that women are to put on tefillin.

     The Conservative movement allows, or perhaps even encourages women to put on tefillin, but they now say that women can marry women, so obviously they are not a proper source regarding Jewish religious practices.

     The real point is that each of us has come into the world as we are for a good reason. We should try to become the best possible us, and not try to become the best possible someone else.


[i] The renowned Torah commentator


  1. Very well said and politely too.
    It's nauseating, to say the least, on what has become the norm in life and accepted. H' y'rachem. And, we should not ever consider anything that the Reform or Conservative movements promote, as they are completely removed from Torah Laws and have made up their own 'religion'.

  2. What about the prerogative of minchag? Doesn't a long established minchag have the force of halacha? I've never heard this invoked as a reason for women not wearing tefillin.

  3. Shvach: You're right. Mesorah and minhag takes on the same importance as Halacha, per our Sages. This is what the 'new' thinkers want to change, r'l. The chutzpah (like the originators of the reform movement) of daring to go against Torah and our holy sages of the past.

  4. Rabbi very nice article, always straight to the point.
    kol tuv

  5. So...I asked our rav about this man becomes woman and vice verse "stuff" and he said, "The person is one messed up little boy" (If born a boy and has surgery to change to a woman.
    In other words: They are still the same as they stated out as....
    Very sad, indeed.
    Also, wonderful article in the Jewish Action magazine a number of years ago about "...but Rashi's daughter wore tefillin" argument.
    Much research has been dedicated and it is doubtful if one of Rashi's daughter's did wear tefillin. IN addition the subject came up during the very early years of the start of the feminist movement and swelled up from there. Go figure....


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