The place of Tefillin Shel Rosh

05.03.19

Question

Shalom to the Rav:
I am a Gabbai of the Bet Haknesset. Sometimes a Gabbai not only calls people up for Aliyot but has to be in charge of Seder in the Kehillah. One of the men who pray at our Shacharit minyan spend his whole shacharit looking at other people’s Shel Rosh and telling them to correct it s position. He always finds them to be a little bit off and he motions to them until they move it. Many have told him bluntly to leave them alone, but he feels it is mission from Shamayim to do this. They have to come to me to ask him to stop or tell him he can ‘t pray here anymore. Is he correct? Maybe if I post clear instructions of where the Tefillin Shel Rosh needs to be he will stop.

 

Answer

Answer:
It is a good thing to look in a mirror to check that your tefillin Shel Rosh are exactly between your eyes, but it is not an obligation. If you see someone’s Shel Rosh not exactly in right spot you don’t have to point it out to him unless they are completely out of range to the side, for example over one eye.
 
Explanation:
The Gemara in Avoda Zara 44a: Rav Shmuel bar Yitzchak said there is place on the head to put two pairs of tefillin.”
The Rishonim argue where is this place:

The Rosh says the place of Tefillin is the same place as a baby’s soft spot, that is furthest back it could be.  The furthest forward it can be is the roots of the front hair, nad therefore there is place on the head for two pairs of Tefillin, one behind the other. Tosfot in Eiruvin 95b seems to agree.

The Rambam (Tefillin 4:1) writes that the place ofr Tefillin the place of the first roots and that is where the soft spot of the baby is. The Bet Yosef writes that it seems from the Rambam the place for two Tefillin is next to each other.
Th Bet Yosef adds another understanding of the Rambam the soft spot of a baby has enough place for two Tefillin, one above the other. The Bet Yosef prefers this understanding to avoid a machloket with the Rosh.
Rashi explains the Gemara that there is place on the head for two straps…
The Machatzit HaShekel asked why did Rashi explain the Gemara this way. It must be because he understood there are place for two Batim next to each other the only problem is how to fit the Retzuot and the Gemara says one atop the other.

The Shu”t Divrei Chaim MiTzanz (chelek 2:6) says to look in a mirror to see that the tefillin is in the middle is idiocy because even if they are not exactly in the middle it is fine, since there is place on the head for two Batim side by side.
The Shulchan Aruch 27:10 writes: one must pinpoint the bottom edge so it should be in the middle so it must be between the eyes.

The Mishna Berura 27:36 comments that it shouldn’t be on one side, so you fulfil Bein Einecha.
The Yalkut Yosef (27:4) writes it is permitted to look in a mirror to see if your tefillin are straight. One does not need to be so particular and itis enough that they are between your eyes and not to the side.
Someone who wants to look in a mirror can, but it is not an obligation. So too one does need to point out to others unless they are actually on the side not just crooked.

 

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