No Cell Phones, Please!
‘A Kerchief Designated For Storing Tefillin’
R. Chisda on our daf cites the following rule: If a person designated a kerchief for storing his tefillin and then actually stored them there, he may no longer store money in it. If he designated the kerchief, however, but did not store his tefillin in it, or if he stored his tefillin in the kerchief but never designated it, he may subsequently store money in it.
The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 42:3) codifies this rule as halacha, and the Rema adds that it also applies to other tashmishei kedushah (mitzvah accessories).
The Magen Avraham (ad loc. s.v. “v’da d’chol zeh…”) notes that tzitzis are not sanctified items. Therefore, the bags that hold them can be used for mundane purpose. Thus, for example, we may store keys, glasses, and cell phones in a tallis bag.
The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk 10, 24) writes that a person can designate a tefillin bag so that using it for mundane purposes would be forbidden in the following ways:
He can 1) verbally designate a bag to be used for tefillin; 2) manufacture a bag (or improve an existing bag) for the sake of tefillin; 3) actually place tefillin in a bag with the intent to permanently use it for storing tefillin; or 4) repeatedly using a particular bag to store tefillin.
The Aruch HaShulchan (ad loc. s.k.4) sets the minimum for limited use of a tefillin bag at two days. If it was used to store tefillin for three days or more, it assumes the status of tashmishei kedushah and the placement of any other object in it is forbidden.
However, if a person openly stipulates that he doesn’t intend to regularly store his tefillin in this bag despite using it now for that purpose, it does not acquire the status of tashmishei kedushah even if he used it in this manner for more than three days.