Tefillin: The Jewish Wrap

Question

I’ve seen Jewish parents educate their children to perform mitzvahs before bar or bat mitzvah age, which I assume is to ready them for being adults. Why then do I not see young boys wearing or owning tefillin? Thanks for this helpful service.

, 1 month

Answers

  1. Parents train their children to perform mitzvahs long before they are obligated to do so. They encourage them to anticipate adulthood by accepting certain responsibilities before their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The mitzvah of tefillin, however, is approached very differently.

    Wearing tefillin required physical cleanliness, purity of thought and the ability to focus on the tefillin as long as they are being worn. Because of the sanctity of tefillin and the maturity necessary to properly fulfill the obligations upon one who wears them, a boy does not begin wearing tefillin until shortly before his bar mitzvah day. In some communities, he begins putting them on two or three months before the bar mitzvah day. Most commonly, the boy begins one month before, while in other communities he first puts on tefillin on the day he becomes a true bar mitzvah. If the boy begins putting on tefillin before his bar mitzvah day, it is customary to arrange a small festive breakfast at the synagogue or at his school on the morning when first putting on tefillin.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team