Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Earliest time for Tefillin


How early in the morning may I put on tefillin?

Tefillin should not be worn before misheyakir, when there is sufficient light to recognize a casual acquaintance from several feet away. Some attribute this to the biblical promise, "The nations of the world will see that the Name of G-d is upon you" which the sages associate with tefillin, so that our tefillin must be visible. Additionally, there is concern lest one fall asleep, which would be disrespectful to the tefillin. Some calculats misheyakir as one hour before sunrise.

One whose work requires him to start davening before misheyakir, and who is in a position in which sleep is unlikely, may don tefillin without a berachah as early as necessary. After misheyakir he should touch the tefillin and recite the berachah.

One who will need to complete his entire davening before misheyakir should don tefillin without a berachah, and find a later time to don tefillin with a berachah, repeating shma, even late in the day. Where that is impossible, significant authorities permit reciting a berachah even before misheyakir.

(Berachos 9b and Rabbeinu Yonah ibid; Menachos 36a; Tur/Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 30; Mishneh Berurah 30:11, 13, 14; Biur Halachah 30:keivan, Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 30:3-6; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 1:10, 4:6; Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 1:49; Rivivos Ephraim 4:12)

Have a great day,

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