Have you ever heard of a bracha that is recited when the tefillin are removed?
If you said no, that’s good, because our practice is not to say one. However, the question is not so far-fetched. Actually, according to some opinions mentioned in the Talmud (which we do not follow), a bracha should be made when the tefillin are removed, because the time of the mitzvah is coming to an end. According to our practice, however, the mitzvah time never ends, and that is why we never say the bracha! Got it?
Uh oh, what did you say? The mitzvah does end sometimes, even according to our practice???
When – at night? Actually, according to the Torah, we could wear our tefillin all day and all night! The reason we do not wear our tefillin at night is because the rabbis decreed that we must not. They were concerned that we would fall asleep in them, and not maintain the cleanliness of our bodies (more on that in a later lesson).
When – on Shabbos and Yom Tov? True, the mitzvah does not apply on those holy days (because they are an ‘os’ (sign), and they replace the need for the ‘os’ of tefillin.) However, it is not forbidden, per se – at least by Torah law - to wear tefillin when there is no mitzvah (i.e. as long as one is not doing so to “add to the mitzvos”.) Again, it was the rabbis who decreed that we should not wear them on Shabbos and Yom Tov out of fear that one would take them off while in the ‘reshus harabim’ (public domain) and violate the melacha of ‘hotza’ah’ (carrying).
In conclusion, the reason that we do not make a bracha when we remove the tefillin even at the end of the day or before Shabbos or Yom Tov is because, according to Torah law, we are not required to remove them. If we were, there would have been a mitzvah to remove the tefillin at the proper time, just as there is a mitzvah to put them on at the proper time, and a bracha would have to be made.
By the way, what would the bracha would have been? It would have been: ‘… asher kid’shanu… lishmor chukav’ (…Who commanded us… to observe His Statutes.)