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Tefillin for Women

Can women wear Tefilin ? If it’s kli gever, what has distinguished it as such?
Did Rashi’s daughters wear Tefilin? Are the sources reliable that they did?
What is the majority view, and the main reasons (not) to wear them?


The Ben Ish Chai (Lech Lecha 13) writes that although women receive reward even for mitzvos that they are exempt from, they should nonetheless not wear tefillin, because the Arizal writes that it is wrong for women to do so.

Maseches Tefillin (as well as Eiruvin 96) mentions that Michal, daughter of Shaul, did wear tefillin; Kabbalist authorities explain that this was because of her unique nature, and that this should not be seen as a precedent for other women (see, for instance, Asara Ma’amaros, Ha-Ittim 12, who writes that Michal’s wearing tefillin is related to the tragedy of her childless death).

Some also note that because it is the widespread custom for men alone to wear tefillin, this becomes a “malbuh ish,” and therefore women should not wear them. It would only be this custom that makes tefillin into a keli gever.

The Rema (38:3) writes that women should not wear tefillin, and if a woman wishes to do so, she is prevented.

I don’t know about Rashi’s daughters.

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  1. targum yonason on the pasuk ‘lo yihyeh kli gever al isha’ translates it as tefillin and tzitzis! reb moshe cites this as well – ig”m oc 4, 49 – he wasn’t too keen on it either!

    1. Thanks for pointing out the Targum Yonasan, which I forgot to mention. Poskim, however (see also Tosafos, Eiruvin 96, which is the basis for the Rema), generally do not rely on this for the halachic ruling, and Rav Moshe also notes that Tosafos do not hold of the idea.

  2. See Gemara Shabbos 62 a that according to Reb Meir that Nashim are actually Chayavos in tefillin.
    is there any posek who holds like Rav Meir?

    1. I am not aware of any poskim that say that they are chayiv in tefillin. They either say that they don’t have to or that they shouldn’t.

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