- Question: Why does the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 285:1) say if you only have enough money to buy only one item one should by tefillin and not a mezuzah?
- The Shulchan Aruch says that one who is careful with fulfilling the mitzvah of mezuzah will merit long life for himself and his family.
- Mezuzah is a mitzvah that can be fulfilled every day of the year whereas tefillin are not adorned on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
- If a person is a nomad living in tents in the desert or a sailor at sea, the mitzvah of mezuzah might never pertain to him just as a person who does not own a four cornered garment will never be required to don tzitzis.
- As soon as a boy turns 13 he has an obligation to put on tefillin everyday besides Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Answer: Rebbe Akiva Aiger on the Shulchan Aruch says tefillin is an obligatory mitzvah in all circumstances except for its few exemptions on different parts of the year but mezuzah is only obligatory if you have a house with doorposts so it is possible a person might never need to fulfill that mitzvah just like tzitzis, therefore it is more important to buy tefillin then mezuzah even if currently you do have a house which is obligated in mezuzah.