- Question: [Sunday, 28th Shevat, 5782]
We recently went on a camping trip and had to sleep in tents. We used our backpacks as a pillow to rest our heads on while sleeping in our sleeping bags on the ground, and I wanted to know if there’s an issue with doing so being that our Tefillin were inside.
It is forbidden to sleep with your head resting on the backpack in the area where the tefillin are found, in a way that the tefillin are directly under one’s head. It is however permitted for you to rest on the area of the backpack which does not contain the actual tefillin, and hence the tefillin are behind your head, or to its side, but not under it. Thus, for example you can place the tefillin on the bottom of the backpack, and rest your head on the top part to use it as a pillow.
Explanation: It is forbidden to place the Tefillin directly under the head. This applies even if the Tefillin is inside a double covering. However, to be placed not directly under the head, but by the side of one’s head, is permitted. Now, although according to some Poskim, even this is only allowed if necessary in order to guard the tefillin from being stolen [otherwise, one may not sleep with tefillin on the bed at all], in this case one may be lenient according to all being that there is no bed in this case as they are sleeping in sleeping bags, and hence the tefillin are not on the bed, and the only issue that remains is sleeping with it directly under one’s head. This is aside for the fact that in truth when camping one does need to guard his belongings, including his tefillin, from being stolen, and hence would follow the allowance according to all.
Sources: See regarding sleeping with tefillin on one’s bed and under one’s head: Admur 40:6-8; Michaber 40:3-5; Brachos 23b; See regarding doing so for not guarding purposes: Admur 40:6 in parentheses; P”M 40 A”A 4; Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger 40:4; Aruch Hashulchan 40:4; Chikrei Halachos 5:65