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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tefillin at the Bris

Image result for bris photo
I don't know what's going on in this photo, but the person on the right is still wearing his hand tefillin
When davening leads directly into the bris, the baby's father (as well as the Sandak) will often ask me, "Do I leave my tefillin on?"

According to the Sha"kh (Y"D 265:10) "the custom was to not remove tefillin until after the Bris, because tefillin are a sign (אות) and Milah is a sign (אות)."

Yosef Weissberg, in his Otzar HaBris Vol 2, page 250, addresses many of the rules associated with Tefillin in conjunction with a bris. 

* The Sefardic custom in Jerusalem is that the father and the Sandak put on tefillin (or leave them on) for the Bris. If it's after davening, the Mohel leaves them on too. (This assumes the mohel davens with the family, which is not always the case. Also, from experience with my first son, I'll note that I took off my hand tefillin, but left my head tefillin on, as the hand tefillin get in the way of doing a good job  - AB)

* In the book אות חיים ושלום (from Munkatch) concurs with my parenthetical comment about the mohel, but felt that the Sandak should keep the tefillin on. 

* There is another viewpoint (recorded by Ateret Tzvi, and reported as practice of Chozeh of Lublin and others) not to keep the tefillin on for the Bris. This is also true for the Yemenite Jews - tefillin are removed prior to the bris. 

* A reason for removing the tefillin follows a similar reasoning for why we don't wear tefillin on Shabbos. Since Shabbos is an אות, we don't need tefillin that day. Since מילה is an אות, we don't need to have another אות around at the same time as we are introducing a new אות. 

* In the book כורת הברית, he doesn't recommend taking them off. But if one is not wearing tefillin, he should not put them on, as he looks like he's seeking an אות when he is already partaking in the marking of a very special אות. 

* Rabbi Moshe Feinstein argued with the logic of most recent bullet point, because the new אות is not on the person wearing the tefillin - it's on the baby! So if the tefillin are on - whether kept on, or put on in honor of the bris - this is not a contradiction. 


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