Dear Rabbi Simon,
I have been following the interesting discussion about wedding rings and men not having to remove them before washing for Hamotzi. It has always been my custom to take off my ring before washing. If I may then ask further, I also take off my wedding ring when putting on my Tefillin as the strap would go over the ring. Are these two situations comparable?
Therefore, if a man does not have to take off his ring before washing for Hamotzi, should he also then be able to keep his ring on when putting on Tefillin?
The simple answer to your question is yes, if you generally wear your wedding ring all the time, you do not need to remove your ring for either situation.
With regard to tefillin, the Rema (27:4, and MB 16) says that the concern for hatzitza (interposition) does not apply to the retzuot (the leather straps–other than where the tefillin boxes are actually secured to the head and arm). Nevertheless, Hatam Sofer (YD 192) maintains that it is proper to avoid an interposition even with the retuzot and that therefore one should remove his ring when wearing tefillin. Although the classic sources (Rambam, Tur, Shulhan Arukh, etc) do not mention this stringency, some are careful to do so. (Many remove their wristwatch for the same reason, particularly as a watch is visually conspicuous.)
WRT removing one’s ring for netilat yadayim, a further reason for leniency is that the water may well penetrate beneath one’s ring in any case, so that the interposition is not complete.
In summary, there is no necessity to remove a wedding ring in either situation. (See also Rav Moshe Feinstein, Iggerot Moshe YD 1:97 who critiques the approach of Hatam Sofer.)
Rabbi Rashi Simon