What would you do if you caught your wife wearing tefillin?

woman wearing tefillinHey Hesh,

Been reading your blog for years, biggest fan, love your work, etc, etc…I’ll save the ass kissing for another time. Since you’ve written a bit on the women wearing tefillin crisis that has suddenly hit the frum community in a big way, I’d like to share my story with you. About a year ago, I caught my wife wearing my tefillin. My wife is the frum one in the family and I’m the cynical guy who asks shayala’s once in a while, but like most guys who grew up going to yeshiva and became more modern with wife and kids, I usually pasken for myself. My wife claimed that she had been putting on tefillin off and on for the last 15 years and she only did it when she was davening for something that needed “extra” kavannah.

This was around the time of women of the wall and I was thinking that women should take on private mitzvos first, before stamping around publicly. I remember walking in on my wife and wondering how many other women took on mitzvas they weren’t required to do, but in private rather than public. We had a talk about and I told her that I wasn’t fully comfortable with the thought, but at the same time my instincts told me that there was nothing technically wrong with it and that it was in private. None of our friends would know, our children wouldn’t get mixed messages, and our life would continue to go on as normal.

I just wanted to reach out and let the Frum Satire chevra know, that there are plenty of sincere women out there who do things in a private and tznius way. Not all of the women who learn gemara, put on tefillin, and daven three times a day are feminists who need to make a statement. Some women actually do it because it gives them a greater connection to Hashem and I think it’s time that the frum community acknowledged that it’s possible for a woman to need a connection beyond the traditional realm.


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