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Yoma 7

YOMA 7 (Teves 23) - has been dedicated to the memory of Nachum ben Shlomo Dovid Mosenkis on the day of his Yahrzeit, by his son, Sid Mosenkis (Queens, NY)


OPINIONS: The Gemara states that it is forbidden to remove one's mind from one's Tefilin while wearing them. This prohibition is derived from the Tzitz of the Kohen Gadol. The Torah commands that the Tzitz must be "constantly (Tamid) on his forehead" (Shemos 28:37), which means that he must not remove his mind from the Tzitz while he wears it. From the Tzitz, the Gemara learns a Kal v'Chomer to Tefilin: if one must keep his mind on the Tzitz, which has only one name of Hashem on it, then certainly one must keep his mind on the Tefilin, which have many names of Hashem written in it. (According to Tosfos 8a DH u'Ma, this is only an Asmachta mid'Rabanan.)

What is considered a "Hesech ha'Da'as," a mental interruption, from one's Tefilin while wearing them?

(a) The SHA'AGAS ARYEH (#39) says that there are two opinions. The first opinion is that of the RABEINU YONAH, cited by the ROSH (Berachos 3:28), who asks that the Gemara (Sukah 26b) states explicitly that a person is permitted to sleep a short nap ("Shinas Arai") while wearing Tefilin. Why is that permitted? It should be considered a "Hesech ha'Da'as," since he cannot be concentrated on the Tefilin while sleeping!

Rabeinu Yonah answers that it must be that "Hesech ha'Da'as" does not mean that one must constantly have his mind on the Tefilin. Rather, it means that one may not act light-headedly and frivolously while wearing them. As long as one is conducting himself with awe of his Creator, it is not considered a "Hesech ha'Da'as" from the Tefilin, even though he is not consciously focusing on them. If one dozes off while wearing Tefilin, he is not acting frivolously; on the contrary, while he dozes, he becomes unaware of the frivolities of this world, and thus dozing is not considered a "Hesech ha'Da'as." Rabeinu Yonah adduces support that "Hesech ha'Da'as" while wearing Tefilin depends on light-headedness ("Kalus Rosh") from the words of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tefilin 4:25), who writes that while a person wears Tefilin, he stands in awe of Hashem and is not drawn after giddiness and idle chatter.

(b) The second opinion cited by the Sha'agas Aryeh concerning "Hesech ha'Da'as" is that of the RAMBAN in Toras ha'Adam (also cited by the TUR, YD 388). The Ramban writes that a person may not wear Tefilin while he is in mourning, because his grief prevents him from focusing on the Tefilin and is thus a "Hesech ha'Da'as." Similarly, the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tefilin 4:13) writes that a person who is in distress and his mind is not settled is exempt from wearing Tefilin because he will not be able to properly concentrate on them. The Sha'agas Aryeh says that it appears that they argue with Rabeinu Yonah, because someone in mourning or in distress is certainly not in a frivolous mood, but is in a solemn mood. It must be that they define "Hesech ha'Da'as" as a lack of focus on the Tefilin, unlike the way Rabeinu Yonah defines "Hesech ha'Da'as." Others point out that this also appears to be the opinion of Tosfos in Shabbos (49a DH she'Lo Yishan), who says that a person may not sleep in Tefilin because sleeping (i..e. Shinas Keva) is a "Hesech ha'Da'as."

The Sha'agas Aryeh notes that these Rishonim cannot mean that one must keep his mind on the Tefilin at all times, because that is not possible. Rather, they mean that one must not take his mind off of the Tefilin for longer than a certain amount of time. The Sha'agas Aryeh asserts, based on the Gemara in Sukah 26a that Rabeinu Yonah cited, that the maximum amount of time that one may remove his mind from the Tefilin is the time of a short nap ("Shinas Arai"), which is the time it takes to walk 100 Amos (Sukah 26a). Before that amount of time passes, one must return his attention to the Tefilin. The time that it takes to walk 100 Amos -- based on the assumption that it takes 18 minutes to walk one Mil (which is 2000 Amos), comes out to 54 seconds. (According to the Chazon Ish's calculation that the time it takes to walk 4 Amos is 2 to 3 seconds, then "Shinas Arai" is 50-75 seconds).

The Sha'agas Aryeh proves that "Hesech ha'Da'as" has nothing to do with frivolity, because the prohibition of "Hesech ha'Da'as" while wearing Tefilin is learned from the Tzitz. If the verse regarding the Tzitz intends to forbid frivolity while wearing it, then why is a verse necessary at all? The Tzitz is worn in the Beis ha'Mikdash, where light-headedness is forbidden altogether (Berachos 54a)! Furthermore, light-headedness is proscribed even outside of the Beis ha'Mikdash, as the verse states, "Lest you forget Hashem, your G-d" (see also Avos 3:13), so why would the verse find it necessary to prohibit it specifically for the Kohen Gadol while wearing the Tzitz?

(c) A third opinion (not cited by the Sha'agas Aryeh) appears to be that of the TOSFOS YESHANIM (8a) who says that the prohibition of "Hesech ha'Da'as" while wearing Tefilin merely means that one may pass flatulence while wearing them. That is, he understands "Hesech ha'Da'as" to mean doing an act that is disrespectful to the Tefilin.

HALACHAH: As mentioned above, the Tur (YD 388) cites the Ramban's opinion ((b), above), that severe distress is considered a Hesech ha'Da'as. However, the Sha'arei Teshuvah (OC 28:1) points out that it is nearly impossible not to remove one's concentration from his Tefilin for the amount of time proscribed by the Sha'agas Aryeh, adding that "the Torah was not given to angels!" Therefore, he concludes that we must indeed rely upon the opinion of Rabeinu Yonah ((a), above) that only frivolousness in considered to be a Hesech ha'Da'as. In fact, in Orach Chayim 44 the Tur himself cites the opinion of Rabeinu Yonah, that one must only be careful not to be frivolous while wearing Tefilin. How, though, can we reconcile the questions that the Sha'agas Aryeh asked on the opinion of Rabeinu Yonah, and the rulings of the Tur (who cites both the Ramban and Rabeinu Yonah, l'Halachah)?

Perhaps Rabeinu Yonah means as follows. When the Torah prohibits "light- headedness" while wearing the Tzitz by saying the word "Tamid," it does not mean that the Kohen Gadol must avoid being light-headed, for that is obvious and it needs no additional command. Rather, the Torah is saying that not only must he avoid light-headedness, but he must also *take precautionary actions* to prevent himself from coming to light-headedness, by feeling the Tzitz constantly. Similarly, one must do an action, while wearing Tefilin, to prevent oneself from falling into light-headedness. This precautionary requirement exists *only* for the Kohen Gadol while wearing the Tzitz, and a person while wearing Tefilin, but not to everyone else (even when standing in the Mikdash).

As for the contradictory rulings of the Tur, Rabeinu Yonah might not be arguing with the Ramban at all. He may not limit the prohibition to "light- headedness" specifically; rather, perhaps he means that it is prohibited to let one's mind become totally involved in worldly matters (Havlei ha'Olam) in general while wearing the Tefilin (or Tzitz). Rabeinu Yonah will agree that one may not wear Tefilin while in a state of mourning or overcome with grief. He mentions "light-headedness" merely as an example of someone who is overcome by his emotions and is not focusing on matters of Kedushah. (Rabeinu Yonah only mentions lightheadedness, since he is discussing what a person is trying to avoid by feeling the Tefilin constantly. He is not trying to avoid feelings of mourning or grief, because there is no reason for a normal person to suddenly be overcome with such feelings, nor will feeling the Tefilin necessarily help to avoid feeling those emotions. The Ramban and Rambam, are prohibiting *putting on* Tefilin in the first place while already overcome with grief or mourning.)

This is also the opinion of the RITVA (Sukah 26a) who says (also in answer to the question of why one may sleep Shinas Arai with Tefilin) that while wearing Tefilin, it is forbidden to "turn one's attention to mundane matters," but it is not necessary to consciously focus on the Tefilin at all times. This might also be the intention of the TOSFOS YESHANIM here (8a DH Tefilin) in his second explanation.

Even TOSFOS (Shabbos 49a, see above), who clearly argues with Rabeinu Yonah and prohibits sleeping with Tefilin because of Hesech ha'Da'as, might also agree that it is not necessary to think about the Tefilin at *every moment.* When one goes to sleep with Tefilin, though, he is *actively making it impossible* to think about his Tefilin by falling asleep, and that is considered a "Hesech ha'Da'as." (A short nap, though, is not considered "Hesech ha'Da'as" since one is not making it impossible to think about his Tefilin for a *significant duration* of time.) As long as one is awake, though, and is in a solemn mood with the fear of G-d, he is not considered to be taking his mind off of his Tefilin even though he might not actually be thinking about them at every moment.

In conclusion, the three ways to define the mental state indicated by "Hesech ha'Da'as" now are: (a) being overcome with emotion or frivolity, which distracts one's focus from fear of Hashem (Rabeinu Yonah); (b) actively putting oneself in a state in which it is *not possible* to think about Tefilin (Tosfos in Shabbos). (c) Acting in a manner that is disrespectful towards the Tefilin (Tosfos Yeshanim).

It should be noted, though, that the MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 44:2) cites the ruling of the BACH that it is a "Mitvah Min ha'Muvchar" not to remove one's concentration from the Tefilin at all. (M. Kornfeld)

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