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Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 38 – Who’s obligated in tefillin?

  1. Someone suffering from intestinal sickness or has swallowed a laxative is exempt from tefillin. One shouldn’t be machmir to put them on for Shema and tefilla, unless he is confident he can keep a clean body for that time. (ShA1 – MB1,4)
  1. It is improper to lay tefillin while bare-chested. (MB5)
  1. We must protest against women who want to be machmir and lay tefillin. (Rama3)
  1. One who lays tefillin must beware of lustful thoughts. He should force himself to pull his heart, instead, towards the fear of Heaven and to accept the ole malchus shomayim with holiness. (ShA4 – MB15)
  1. A mourner is not allowed to lay tefillin on the day of the burial. Even if the burial was at night he must not lay tefillin the whole next day. Thereafter, he is obligated in tefillin. (ShA5 – MB16)
  1. On the day of death, an onen is exempt from all mitzvos as long as the dead has not been buried. (BaH 4)
  1. On Tisha B’Av we are obligated in tefillin. (ShA 6)
  1. If you are involved in the performance of a mitzvah, you are exempt from another one that comes your way afterwards. This applies even if the second mitzvah is greater and even if you could fulfill both mitzvos. For example: if you are a shomer for a corpse, you would be exempt from tefillin, Krias Shema, etc…(Rama 8 – MB 29 – BeH “im”)
  1. Another example is if you are digging the grave, you are a pottur from giving a coin to a beggar. This is true even at a time that you are taking a break to regain your strength for more digging – you are still considered “oisek b’mitzvos”. (BeH “im”)
  1. If you are merely passively fulfilling a mitzvah without being involved, you are obligated in any mitzvah that comes afterwards. For example: just because you are wearing tefillin or keeping a lost article in your cupboard does not exempt you. (MB 28)
  1. If you are in pain, discomfort, are upset or anxious to the degree that you are not able to be calmed, you are exempt from tefillin. (Rama1 – ShA9 -MB30,31)
  1. If you can’t afford to buy both tefillin and mezuzos, tefillin takes precedence unless you are able to borrow a pair. (ShA12 -MB37)

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