Yesterday, we learned the following:
“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.” (See reason above)
In light of the above, the following practical questions must be addressed:
1) What is the earliest time in the day one may put on his tefillin?
2) What is the latest time in the day one may put on his tefillin?
3) If one was already wearing his tefillin and it got dark, at what point must he take them off? (i.e. the halacha may be more restrictive when it comes to putting them on than taking them off, as we will see)
4) Are there any factors which may mitigate the rabbinic law and permit one either to don the tefillin, or to keep them on, during the restricted time?
Let’s take one at a time:
Earliest time to put on: (Please permit me to quote from the MBY Archives – the VERY FIRST LESSON!!!):
”Mish’yakir – i.e. it is light enough to see your friend at 4 Amos (cubits) away: Earliest time to make a bracha on talis, tefillin and fulfill Shema.”
Practically speaking, this is about 50 minutes or so before sunrise (opinions vary).
Latest time to put on: Some time after sunset (20 minutes or so, possibly later if one has not yet performed the mitzvah that day.)
When one must take them off at night: If he is in a public place, such as a shul, he must take them off at the same time that one is no longer permitted to put them on. Practically, this would be before the earliest time for ma’ariv. (Note: In truth, the rabbis were stricter regarding putting them on after dark than with leaving them on when one was already wearing them in daylight. However, in public, they did not want to differentiate, out of fear that observers might not.) If one is in private, he is actually permitted to leave them on until he goes to sleep!
a) If someone is traveling, say, and he has no safe place to store his tefillin, he would be permitted to keep them on, even in public – all night, if necessary! (According to some authorities he is even permitted to put them on in the first place.)
b) Similarly, if he needs to begin traveling early in the morning before ‘mish’yakir’, he may put them on – without a bracha – and when the time comes, he should make the brachos, and move the tefillin around slightly, to represent putting them back on. (Note: If he is in the middle of davening, he must choose a “break-point”, at which it is permissible to talk.)