Rav Avigdor Miller on Tefillin for Women
If tzitizis and tefillin are really so beneficial like you spoke about tonight, why don’t women use them? And what do they have instead?
The truth is women do have it, because when men put on tzitzis and tefillin, they’re not putting it on for themselves. That’s absolutely not true. Every father puts on tzitzis and tefillin for all of his children and for his wife, too. There’s no question that tzitzis and tefillin are the property of the Am Yisroel. But, more precisely, the family shares in all the mitzvos. So while he’s putting on tzitzis and tefillin in the shul let’s say, and his wife is taking care of the children at home – somebody has to remain at home; he couldn’t go to the synagogue if she weren’t home – so there’s no question that it’s her tzitzis and her tefillin too.
That’s the way to understand it. It’s silly otherwise! And when he comes to study Torah in the evening, who will babysit? And therefore, she has one hundred percent partnership in all that he does. And she has an edge on him – she doesn’t have to do it! And still she gets a full partnership in everything that he does. There’s no question that this is the case. I’m not saying this because it’s America or because it’s the spirit of the times; I’m saying it because it’s the truth.
However, if that’s the case, then why do we make a bracha in the morning שלא עשני אשה – that He didn’t make me a woman? If the woman gets a full share in the work without doing anything what are thanking Hashem for? The answer is מגלגלין זכות על ידי זכאי – it certainly is a privilege that you should be able to do it for your wife. Now, you can’t stay home – you’re not able to nurse the babies. In the olden days there were no bottles, so your wife had to do the job. So somebody had to put on tallis and tefillin – and you’re the man so you do it. But it’s a privilege, and that’s why the man says that bracha. But she gets a full share in all the mitzvos, absolutely.