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Tefillin
Tefillin.JPG

A set of tefillin includes the arm-tefillin (left)
and the head-tefillin

Halakhic sources*
Texts in Jewish law relating to this article:
Bible: Exodus 13:9, Deuteronomy 6:8 and Deuteronomy 11:18
Mishnah: Menachot 3:7
Babylonian Talmud: Zevachim 37b, Sanhedrin 4b, Menachot 34b,
Mishneh Torah: Tefillin, Mezuzah, veSefer Torah ch 5-6
Shulchan Aruch: Orach Chayim 25-48
* Not meant as a definitive ruling. Some observances may be rabbinical, customs or Torah based.

Tefillin (sometimes transliterated as tefilin), (Hebrew: תפילין‎), pronounced /ˈtfɪlɪn/ or pronounced /ˈtfɪln/ in Askhenazic Hebrew and English, pronounced [tfiˈlin] in Israeli Hebrew, also called phylacteries (pronounced /fɪˈlæktəriz/, from Ancient Greek phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning "to guard, protect"), are a set of small cubic leather boxes painted black, containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, with leather straps dyed black on one side, and worn by observant Jewish men during weekday morning prayers. Although "tefillin" is technically the plural form (the singular being "tefillah"), it is loosely used as a singular as well.[1] The hand-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead, with the strap going around the head and over the shoulders. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a "sign" and "remembrance" that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.

The source texts for tefillin in the Torah are obscure in literal meaning. For example, the following verse from the Shema states: "And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as totafot between your eyes." [2]

The verse does not designate what specifically to “bind upon your arm,” and the definition of totafot is not obvious—the only other appearances of this word are in identical contexts (Ex.13:16 & Deut.11:18). But the authoritative oral tradition (Oral Torah) explains that it is these scriptural passages themselves (including the Shema) that are to be bound to the body in the form of tefillin. It is thus the Oral Torah that provides the details of the construction and application of tefillin.

Contents

Torah related sources

The obligation of tefillin is mentioned four times in the Torah: twice when recalling the The Exodus from Egypt:

And it shall be for a sign for you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand did the LORD bring you out of Egypt.
Exodus 13:9
And it shall be for a sign upon your hand, and as totafot between your eyes; for with a mighty hand did the LORD bring us forth out of Egypt.
Exodus 13:16

and twice in the shema passages:

And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as totafot between your eyes.
You shall put these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall tie them for a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as totafot between your eyes.
Deuteronomy 11:18

Etymology and earliest forms

In the Torah tefillin are called totafot. This word is difficult to translate or understand. The term "tefillin" is found in Talmudic literature, although the Biblical word totafot was still current, being used with the meaning of "frontlet".[3] In rabbinic literature the expression is not found translated into a foreign word.

The Septuagint renders "totafot" as ἀσαλευτόν meaning "something immovable".[4] A reference in the English translation Christian Bible calls tefillin "phylacteries",[5] from the Greek phulaktērion - φυλακτήριον meaning "guard's post" or "safeguard" from phulaktēr - φυλακτήρ, "guard", from phulax - φύλαξ, root: phulak-. However, neither Aquila nor Symmachus use the word "phylacteries".

Targum Onkelos and the Peshitta translate the word "totafot" as tefillin. The Tur writes that the word "tefillin" is derived from the word "pelilah" meaning evidence, because tefillin act as a sign and proof that the Shechinah rests upon the Jewish people.[6]

Excavation of Qumran in the Judean Desert in 1955 indicated widespread use of tefillin during the Second Temple period. The dig revealed the earliest remains of tefillin, both the leather containers and scrolls of parchment, dating from the 1st century. Some of the scrolls found deviate from the traditional passages prescribed by the sages. This led scholars to believe that some of the sets were used by a non-Pharisee sect.[7][8]

Manufacture and contents

Preparation of the shel rosh box
D.
Demonstration of a complete "Shel Rosh" where each individual compartment is not glued to the adjoining compartment -leaving "breathing room" in between
(View in high quality)

Tefillin consist of two black leather boxes, one laid on the arm known as the shel yad, literally "for the hand", and the other laid on the head known as the shel rosh, literally "for the head".

Before beginning any stage of the process of the manufacture of tefillin, it is essential that the act has specific "kavanah" or intent to fulfill the mitzvah of tefillin. It is common for the pronouncement Leshem mitzvat tefillin—for the sake of the commandment of tefillin—to be made.

There are ten essential requirements tefillin must have in order for them to be valid:[9]

  1. The scroll must be written with ink.
  2. The scrolls must be made of parchment.
  3. The boxes and their stitches must be perfectly square.
  4. On the right and left sides of the head-tefillin the letter shin must be embossed.
  5. The scrolls must be wrapped in a strip of cloth.
  6. The scrolls should be bound with kosher animal hair.
  7. The stitching must be done with sinew of a kosher animal.
  8. A “passageway” must be made for the strap to pass through.
  9. The straps must be black.
  10. The straps should be knotted in the form of the letter dalet.
Tefillin made of many pieces of sheep hide that are glued together, known as Pshutos (lit. simple ones), on the left, and of ox hide, known as gasos (lit. thick), on the right; the latter are much sturdier and more expensive. The section shown is the ma'avartah.

Leather boxes

The boxes (battim) are made from the skins of kosher livestock. Both the upper cube (ketzitzah) and base (teturah) must be perfectly square and must be black. Each box has a lower base which can be opened for inserting scrolls of parchment. The opening flap is stitched closed with sinew through twelve holes. The stitching must also form a perfect square. There is a passageway along the back of the lower base called the ma'avartah where leather straps are passed through. The measurements of the boxes are not given, and the Shulchan Aruch states[citation needed] that there is no minimum or maximum size for tefillin. The cubes generally average 35 millimeters square in size. Once the parchments are placed inside in the specified manner—wrapped in pieces of parchment and tied loosely with calf’s hair—the batim are sewn shut with giddin (sinew) from a kosher animal with one of the calf’s hairs visible outside. The right and left outside faces of the head-tefillin box have the letter shin (ש), one with four heads.

Straps

The straps (retsu’ot) which are made from the skin of a kosher animal, are painted black on one side and left plain on the other. Depending on custom, the knot of the head-tefillin strap forms either the letter dalet (ד) or a square consisting of a double dalet. The strap that is passed through the arm-tefillin is formed into a knot in the shape of the letter yodh (י).

Quality

Tefillin vary in quality, the way they are made, and in their halachic desirability. Four types are available today:

Peshutim (Simple) - These are made using several pieces of parchment to form the inner walls of the head tefillin, glued within a slit square to divide it into the four required compartments. If the inserts are glued incorrectly then these batim are not kosher for use. The parshiyot inside commercially-bought peshutim are generally of very poor quality, and can often be invalid.

Peshutim Mehudarim (Superior-simple) - These make the box of the tefillin out of a single piece as required. They are typically made with 32 mm sides to the boxes (quite small). However, goat skin is used to form lighter-weight batim, which when finished look almost identical to the more expensive cowhide type, but they are not as durable.

Dakkot (Thin) - These are made by stretching a thin layer of parchment over a structural base similar to the peshutim. This outer parchment forms the entire box of the tefillin, including the inner as well as the outer walls as well as the base, which is halachically desirable. Its thinness means that the tefillin can become halachically invalid relatively easily if knocked, or through normal wear and tear.

Gassot (Thick) - These are made entirely out of a single piece of thick leather (usually with inserts to ensure they close flat). This requires the repeated use of several tons of pressure in industrial presses as part of a complicated but delicate production plan. The resulting batim are so durable and thick that they can be renewed even if seriously damaged and typically last a lifetime. Gassot are made with boxes varying in size from about 20 mm on a side to over 40 mm, though sides of 31–36 mm are considered standard. To produce Gassot the choicest cow-hide is used from the cheeks and the neck where it is the thickest. Thus only one pair of tefillin is produced for each head of cattle. After undergoing a softening process the leather is cut to size and left to dry slowly for at least three months. The box shapes are then formed gradually by applying considerable pressure.

Parchment scrolls and scripts

The arm-tefillin has only one compartment, which contains four biblical passages written upon a single strip of parchment in four parallel columns. The head-tefillin has four separate compartments, formed from one piece of leather, in each of which one scroll of parchment is placed. The passages inscribed on the parchment all include a reference to the commandment of tefillin:

The parchments must be specially prepared from the skin of kosher livestock for the purpose. The preferred parchment material for tefillin is klaf. When writing the passages, the scribe should be meticulous to have in mind that he is doing so "for the sake of the sanctity of tefillin". Before writing any of the names of God he should say: "I am writing this for the sake of the sanctity of the Name". The writing of the passages which contain 3,188 letters usually takes between 10–15 hours. It is imperative that the scribe remains constantly focused. Unlike a Sefer Torah but similar to a mezuzah, tefillin passages must be written in order of how they appear in the Torah and should the words be written out of sequence, the parchment is invalid.

Ashuri script is used for the writing of tefillin

The passages are hand-written by a scribe with certified kosher black ink. Ashuri script must be used for writing tefillin. There are three main customs for the style of lettering used:

  • Beis Yosef – generally used by Ashkenasim
  • Arizal – generally used by Hasidim
  • Velish – used by Sefardim

The pieces of parchment on which the biblical selections are written are tied round with narrow strips of parchment and fastened with the thoroughly washed tail hair of a kosher animal, preferably of a calf.

Arrangement of the passages and scrolls

The Vilna Gaon wearing tefillin. He confirmed that there are dozens of opinions of how the passages and scrolls should be laid out

There is considerable discussion among the commentators of the Talmud as to the order in which the biblical passages should be written in the arm-tefillin and inserted into the head-tefillin. The rabbis most famous for this dispute were Rashi and his grandson Rabbeinu Tam and the two versions used today are named after them, "Rashi Tefillin" being the accepted version. Other possible arrangements are suggested by Shimmusha Rabba[citation needed], a halachic text attributed to Rav Sar Shalom, (9th century), and Ravad[citation needed], (12th century). Rabbenu Asher, early 14th century, wrote [10] that he was utterly uncertain of the proper order and therefore everyone should put on two sets of tefillin, one according to Rashi and the other according to Rabbenu Tam.

Nowadays the prevailing custom of the majority of Jews is to follow the opinion based on Rashi. Joseph Karo wrote[11] that the especially pious ought to lay both sets, but qualified this by saying that only one commonly known to be especially pious may do so[12], perhaps lest one be seen as presumptuous about one's piety. This custom was taken on by some, notably the Hasidim who also briefly lay Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. Others lay both sets of tefillin simultaneously.

Primary differences between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam tefillin

  • Order of the passages of the arm-tefillin
  • Rashi: Kadesh Li, Ve-haya Ki Yeviehcha, Shema, Ve-haya Im Shemoa - (according to the chronological order as they appear in the Torah)
  • Rabbeinu Tam: Kadesh Li, Ve-haya Ki Yeviehcha, Ve-haya Im Shemoa, Shema
The upper photo displays the shel rosh of Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, while the lower photo displays that of Rashi.

The law requires that the passages are written in their chronological order as they appear in the Torah. Therefore according to Rabbeinu Tam Kadesh Li, Ve-haya Ki Yeviehcha are written first, leaving a section blank and writing Shema as the last section, then filling in the blank space with Ve-haya Im Shemoa

  • Order of the passages of the head-tefillin
The same order is maintained when placing the scrolls in the four compartments of the head-tefillin. The sequence from the first compartment to the left of the wearer is as follows:
  • Rashi: Kadesh Li, Ve-haya Ki Yeviehcha, Shema, Ve-haya Im Shemoa
  • Rabbeinu Tam: Kadesh Li, Ve-haya Ki Yeviehcha, Ve-haya Im Shemoa, Shema
  • Protrusion of the se'ar eigel
A tuft of the sinew used to sew the tefillin closed is allowed to protrude and the location of this protrusion can help to identify the Rashi from the Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. The tuft protrudes to the wearer's left of the passage of Ve-haya Im Shemoa.
  • Rashi: The passage of Ve-haya Im Shemoa is found in the fourth compartment from the left of the wearer, therefore the se’ar eigel juts out between the fourth and third compartment
  • Rabbeinu Tam: The passage of Ve-haya Im Shemoa is found in the third compartment from the left of the wearer, therefore the se’ar eigel juts out from between the third and second compartment.

It should be noted that these passages are placed in the tefilin so that from the wearer's point of view, they may be read in order. Shemusha Rabba and Ravad follow the same order as Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, respectively, but are placed according to someone facing the wearer. Hence they are in reverse order and exist only as head tefilin; they rely on their counterparts for the shel yad. They are occasionally worn by various Chassidic rebbeim and notable personalities, and rarely otherwise.

How to lay tefillin

See also: List of Jewish prayers and blessings: Tefillin

The term “to lay tefillin” is often used in English as in this article. The term is derived from the Yiddish leigen, which is the translation for the Hebrew word lehaniach, the verb used in the Talmud to describe putting the tefillin on the head and arm. The term “wear” is also in common use when referring to tefillin.

It is customary among Ashkenazi Jews to lay and to remove the tefillin while standing.[13] If worn, the talit is put on before the tefillin, and taken off after them.

The arm-tefillin is placed on the biceps of the left arm, two finger breadths away from the elbow joint, with the box facing inward towards the heart. Left-handed people place the arm-tefillin on their right arm. After the blessing is said, the arm-tefillin is tightened, then wrapped around the arm seven times. The strap that is passed through the arm-tefillin should therefore be long enough to allow for the knot, also to wrap around the forearm 7 times, and also to tie around the hand according to family or local tradition. The knot formation and arm binding differ considerably between different family or community traditions. There is a custom to cover the arm-tefillin with the sleeve, in accordance with the verse "And they will be a sign to you...", i.e. to you and not to others.

Next, the head-tefillin is placed on top of the head, "between the eyes" but not lower than the hairline (or where one's hairline was in ones youth). The knot of the head-tefillin sits at the back of the head, upon the part of the occipital bone that protrudes just above the nape, directly opposite the optic chiasm. The placement of the head tefillin is universally accepted to be against the literal directive of the verse in Deuteronomy 11:18 which speaks of placing it 'between the eyes'. This is a result of the gezerah shavah mentioned in Kiddushin 36a brought by Abaye. He expounds that there is a link made between the commandment of tefillin and the commandment against a Kohen making a bald spot on the head out of anguish for someone dying (Deuteronomy 14:1). Because this verse speaks about making a bald spot on the head immediately above the hairline in vertical alignment with the spot between one's eyes, so too does the verse about tefillin speak about this position on the head. The two straps of the head-tefillin are brought in front of the shoulders, with their blackened side facing outwards. The two ends, falling in front over either shoulder, should reach the navel on the left side and reach the genital area on the right side.

Sephardic and Hasidic authorities are of the opinion that the blessing on laying the head-tefillin is not necessary and the one blessing on laying the arm-tefillin is sufficient. Ashkenazim, who do recite a second blessing on the head-tefillin, first leave the head-tefillin resting loosely on the head, and tighten it in place only after saying the blessing.

Straps forming the letter ש wound according to the ashkenasic custom

Only after laying the head tefillin are the tefillin straps wound around the hand and fingers. The remainder of the arm-tefillin straps are wound three times around the middle finger and around the hand so as to form the shape of the Hebrew letter shin (ש). This is traditionally accompanied by the recitation of Hosea 2:21-22. Sephardim proceed similarly. The Sephardic method of wrapping results in a dalet (ד) shape on the palm of the hand and a shin around the middle finger, so as to represent the name Shaddai from the middle finger (ש) through the palm (ד) to the knot (י) hanging from the box of the arm-tefillin.

On removing the tefillin the three twistings on the middle finger are loosened first; then the head-tefillin is removed; and finally the arm-tefillin.

When to lay tefillin

Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg wears tefillin during the day
A Lubavitcher hasid in downtown Jerusalem hopes to help passers-by lay tefilin

Originally tefillin were laid all day, but not during the night. Nowadays the prevailing custom is to lay them only during the weekday morning service.[14] The problem with wearing them all day is the necessity to remove them when encountering an unclean place, e.g. a bathroom, and the requirement to constantly have in mind the knowledge that they are being worn.[14]

A small minority still follow the practice of laying tefillin all day long. This custom is mainly found among followers of the Vilna Gaon and the Rambam, and among some Yemenite Jews. Students in some yeshivot, mostly national religious, have been seen with tefillin during the Minha afternoon service or even all day long. They argue that this practice is still required, and not an issue of custom. Other great rabbis, for instance Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, also lay tefillin out of services.

As tefillin are allowed to be laid at any time during the day, Lubavitch hasidim will often be found at all types of religious and secular gatherings and venues hoping to give another Jew the opportunity to lay tefillin. This phenomenon was the wish of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson who launched the "Tefillin Campaign" just before the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967.[15]

Shabbat and festivals

Tefillin are not laid on Shabbat and the major festivals including Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth. The reason given that these holy days are themselves "signs" which render the use of tefillin, which are to serve as "signs" themselves, superfluous.

Chol HaMoed

On the intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot, there is a great debate among the major halachic authorities as to whether tefillin should be laid or not. Some rishonim forbid tefillin to be laid on Hol HaMoed as they consider the days have the same status as a festival which in itself constitutes a "sign" making the laying of tefillin unnecessary.[16] Other rishonim argue and hold that Hol HaMoed does not constitute a "sign" in which case tefillin must be laid on Hol HaMoed.[17]

Due to this conflict of opinion there are three existing customs:[18]

  • To refrain from wearing tefillin. The Beth Yosef [19] notes that all Sephardic Jews refrain from laying tefillin on Hol HaMoed. His ruling is based on kabbalistic reasons. The Zohar strongly advocates refraining from laying tefillin on Hol HaMoed. Accordingly, the Shulchan Aruch [20] rules that it is forbidden to lay tefillin on Hol HaMoed. This is also the opinion of the Vilna Gaon[21] whose ruling has been universally accepted in Israel.
  • To wear tefillin but to refrain from reciting the blessings. The Tur[22] notes that there are a number of rishonim who are uncertain whether one must lay tefillin on Hol HaMoed and therefore advocates laying tefillin but refraining from reciting the blessings. The authorities that rule like this include the Ritva,[23] the SeMaG,[24] the Meiri [25] and the Taz.[20] The advantage of this compromise is that one avoids violating very serious transgressions of either not donning tefillin or making a blessing in vain.
  • To wear tefillin and reciting the blessings in an undertone. This is the opinion of the Rama who writes that this is the universally accepted practice among Ashkenazic Jews. Based on the writings of Rambam (Maimonides), the wearing of tefillin was openly required during these intermediary days.

The Mishna Berura [26] recommends that on Hol Hamoed one make a mental stipulation before donning tefillin: If I am obligated to don tefillin I intend to fulfill my obligation and if I am not obligated to don tefillin, my doing so should not be considered as fulfilling any obligation; and that the blessing not be recited. The Aruch Hashulchan writes that a practice among some Ashkenazic Jews has developed to refrain from laying tefillin on Hol Hamoed. He is referring to the practice of Hasidic Jews whose rituals are inspired by kaballah. Interestingly, this was also the practice at the famed Volozhin yeshiva and of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik.[27]

The majority of those who lay tefillin on Hol HaMoed remove them before the Hallel prayer, unlike on Rosh Chodesh, when the tefillin is removed just prior to the Mussaf prayer. This is out of respect for the festive nature of Hol HaMoed, a festive nature which is especially palpable during the recitation of Hallel. The one exception to this practice is the first day of Hol HaMoed Pesach, when the Torah reading (which follows Hallel) discusses the mitzvah of tefillin. Because the Torah reading on that particular day focuses on the tefillin, those who lay tefillin on Hol HaMoed keep them on during Hallel and the Torah reading, and only remove the tefillin after the Torah reading is completed.

Tisha B'Av

On Tisha B'Av, tefillin are worn at the afternoon service instead. This is because tefillin are considered an ornament, or else symbolic of a connection to God, both of which are inappropriate for a day of mourning the distance between God and the Jewish people. Wearing tefillin is thus delayed until the afternoon, when the mourning is considered to have passed its peak. However, many Jews, especially among Ashkenazi and Sepharadi Jerusalemites, do lay tefillin for the morning service as well. There were some medieval authorities who ruled that tefillin must not be laid at all on Tisha B'Av, but it seems that no Jews today follow this opinion.

Who lays tefillin

In Orthodox Judaism tefillin are laid by males over the age of thirteen.[28] Tefillin are regarded as rite-of-passage for a Jewish boy, as youngsters below the age of thirteen are not considered mature enough to know how to use tefillin or understand their significance. About a month before his Bar Mitzvah a boy will receive his own pair of tefillin and be taught and trained about the laying of tefillin.[29] The commandment of tefillin is given the utmost importance and disregard of this mitzvah is viewed as severe.

The Conservative movement encourages performance of the mitzvah of tefillin,[30] while Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism do not.[31] In Karaite Judaism tefillin are not worn as they interpret the relevant biblical passages as being of a metaphorical nature.[32]

Women

The Talmud states that “Michal daughter of the Cushite wore tefillin and the sages did not protest”,[33] while a minor tractate records that "Michal, daughter of King Saul laid tefillin."[34] Mekhilta de-Rebbi Yishmael, writes that "just as women are not obligated in the mitzvah of Torah study, so too are they not required to lay tefillin."[35]

Views vary within halacha as to whether women should lay tefillin. Maimonides writes that women are permitted to perform the mitzvah, but that because it is not mandatory for them, they should omit the blessing, as it contains the phrase "who has commanded us".[36] The Rashba, however, holds that women should be permitted to lay tefillin and also recite the blessing, based on the Talmudic comment about Michal, daughter of Saul.[37] Rabbenu Tam is of the same view.[38] Historically, the mitzvah of tefillin was not performed by women, but the ritual was kept by some women in medieval France and Germany[39] and stories of some prominent women laying tefillin exist.[40]

Shulchan Aruch rules that since tefillin is an obligation which is time bound, women are exempt. Additionally, Kaf Hachayim cites Targum Yerushalmi's interpretation of the biblical prohibition on wearing clothing worn by the opposite gender as a prohibition of tefillin being worn by women.[41] Rama, codifying the law for Ashkenazim, rules that even if a woman wishes to be strict upon herself by laying tefillin, it should be strongly discouraged.[42] Sefer Hachinuch however, writes that if a woman wishes to don tefillin she may and receives heavenly reward for doing so.[43]

In practice the ritual has not been adopted by Orthodox women, while few Conservative affiliated women commit to wearing tefillin daily.[30]

Significance

Tefillin with their protective outer boxes. Jewish Law mentions the severity of neglecting the commandment of tefillin

The opinion of Rav Sheshet in the Talmud is that by neglecting the performance of tefillin, one transgresses eight positive commandments.[44]

Tefillin are mentioned over 500 times in the Talmud. Their use and manufacture are steeped in mystical significance. The shin embossed on the box of the head-tefillin, the letter dalet formed by the strap knot of the head-tefillin together with the yud knot of the arm-tefillin, make up the Hebrew word Shaddai, one of the names of God in Judaism. The biblical passages inside the boxes are declarations of the belief in God and God's connection to this world.

The Rambam/Maimonides counts[citation needed] the commandment of laying the arm-tefillin and head-tefillin as two separate positive mitzvot. In his Mishneh Torah, Rambam concludes the rules of tefillin with the following exhortation:

The sanctity of tefillin is very great. As long as the tefillin are on the head and on the arm of a man, he is modest and God-fearing and will not be attracted by hilarity or idle talk, and will have no evil thoughts, but will devote all his thoughts to truth and righteousness; Therefore, every man ought to try to have the tefillin upon him the whole day; for only in this way can he fulfill the commandment. It is related that Rav, the pupil of our holy teacher, was never seen to walk four cubits without a Torah, without fringes on his garments, and without tefillin. Although the tradition enjoins laying tefillin all day, it is especially commendable to lay them during prayer. The sages say that one who reads the Shema without tefillin is as if he testified falsely against himself. He who does not lay tefillin transgresses eight commandments; for in each of the four biblical passages there is a commandment to lay tefillin on the head and on the arm. But he who is accustomed to lay tefillin will live long, as it is written, "When the LORD is upon them they will live".

A report of widespread negligence and non observance of tefillin is found in Rabbi Moses of Coucy’s Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot, a book that outlines and comments on the 613 commandments of the Torah. In his discussion on the commandment to love God, he refers to tefillin as one of the necessary tools to love God. He concludes his section on loving God by relating his experience in Spain in the year 1236 CE. In Spain he chastised the local Jews for their irreverent behaviour, in particular their negligence in laying tefillin, and writes that he succeeded in convincing thousands of Jews to repent and lay tefillin.

Practitioners of Chinese medicine say that the arm and head wrappings of the tefillin straps correlate to acupuncture points.[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ Steinmetz, Sol (2005). Dictionary of Jewish usage: a guide to the use of Jewish terms. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. pp. 165. ISBN 978-0742543874. 
  2. ^ Deuteronomy 6:8
  3. ^ Shabbat. vi. 1
  4. ^ A. V. and R. V. "frontlets"; Exodus xiii. 16 and Deut. vi. 8
  5. ^ Matthew 23:5
  6. ^ Orach Chayim ?:25
  7. ^ Macdonald, Anna (2000). Dead Sea Scrolls. Sydney, Australia: Art Gallery of New South Wales. pp. 78–81; 102. ISBN 0 7347 6307 7. 
  8. ^ "The Qumran Community: Artifacts from the Qumran Site". Library of Congress. December 8, 2004. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/scrolls/art2.html. 
  9. ^ Sefer ha-Chinuch 421
  10. ^ Sefer Halachos Ketanos, also printed in the back of the Gemara in Menachos (Hilchos Tefillin Siman 5)
  11. ^ Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 34:2
  12. ^ Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 34:3
  13. ^ Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 25:11 gloss
  14. ^ a b Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 37:2
  15. ^ "The Rebbe's Tefillin Campaign: A Timline; 40 years: 1967 - 2007". chabad.org. http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/timeline_cdo/aid/514829/jewish/1967.htm. 
  16. ^ Ba'al Halachot Gedolot, (an anonymous halachic compendium attributed to Rav Shimon Kayyara 9th century), cited by Tosafot Moed Katan 19a s.v. Rabbi Yossi; Rambam as interpreted by the Kessef Mishna, Hilchot Yom Tov 7:13; Rashba Teshuvot 1:690; Ri cited by the Hagahot Maimoni, Hilchot Tefillin 4:9
  17. ^ Rosh Hilchot Tefillin 16; Or Zarua 1:589; Maharam of Rothenburg cited by the Mordechai
  18. ^ Jachter, Howard (April 7, 2001). "Tefillin on Hol Hamoed". Kol Torah: Torah Academy of Bergen County. http://www.koltorah.org/ravj/tefillinONmoed.htm. 
  19. ^ Orach Chayim 31 s.v. V’cholo
  20. ^ a b Orach Chayim 31:2
  21. ^ Bi'ur ha-Gra Orach Chayim 31:2 s.v. V’yesh Omrim
  22. ^ Orach Chayim 31
  23. ^ Eruvin 96a
  24. ^ 153
  25. ^ Moed Katan 18b
  26. ^ Mishna Berura 31:8
  27. ^ Shiurim L’zeicher Aba Mori Zal, p.119
  28. ^ Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 37:3
  29. ^ Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 37:3; Mishnah Berurah 12
  30. ^ a b http://www.uscj.org/Women_and_Tefillin7649.html
  31. ^ Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, FAQ's on Reconstructionist Approaches to Jewish ideas and Practices
  32. ^ Joshua Freeman. "Laying down the (Oral) law". The Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178708657471&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull. 
  33. ^ Talmud Eruvin Eruvin 96a
  34. ^ Tefillin 1:3
  35. ^ Parashat Bo 16
  36. ^ Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9 Women, slaves, and minors are exempt from tzitzit from the Torah...Women and slaves who want to wrap themselves in tzitzit may do so without a berakha. And so too with other such mitzvot from which women are exempt: if they want to perform them without a berakha, one does not protest
  37. ^ "I agree with those who say that if they desire they can do all such mitzvot and recite the blessings, on the basis of Mikhal bat Shaul who wore tefillin and they did not protest; indeed she did so with the approval of the sages and by the nature of the matter since she puts on tefillin, she blesses." Rashba: Teshuva 123.
  38. ^ Grossman, Avraham (2004). Pious and Rebellious - Jewish Women in Medieval Europe. Brandeis Univ.
  39. ^ Baumgarten, Elisheva (2004). Mothers and Children - Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe. Princeton.
  40. ^ Rashi's daughters allegedly wore tefillin, as did the wife of Chaim ibn Attar and the female Hasidic Rebbe known as Maiden of Ludmir. http://www.beki.org/womentefillin.html
  41. ^ Targum Yerushalmi on Deuteronomy 22:5
  42. ^ Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 38:3
  43. ^ Mitzvah 421 ונוהגת מצוה זו בכל זמן, בזכרים אבל לא בנקבות, לפי שהיא מצוה עשה שהזמן גרמא; ומכל-מקום אם רצו להניח אין ממחין בידם ושכר יש להן, אבל לא כשכר האיש, שאינו דומה שכר המצוה ועושה כשכר שאינו מצוה ועושה. ובמסכת ערובין (96-א) בריש פרק המצוה תפלין אמרו זכרונם לברכה שמיכל בת כושי היתה מנחת תפלין ולא מחו בידה חכמים; ושם אמרו: אשתו של יונה היתה עולה לרגל ולא מחו בידה חכמים.
  44. ^ Menahot 44a
  45. ^ Schram, Steven (October 2002). "Tefillin: An Ancient Acupuncture Point Prescription for Mental Clarity" (PDF). Journal of Chinese Medicine (70). http://www.koshertorah.com/PDF/tefilin.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-23. "It appears that the tefillin and wraps form a potent acupuncture point formula focused on the Governing vessel (Du Mai) and aimed at elevating the spirit and clearing the mind"

External links

Further reading

  • Eider, Shimon D Halachos of Tefillin, Feldheim Publishers (2001) ISBN 1-58330-483-5
  • Emanuel, Moshe Shlomo Tefillin: The Inside Story, Targum Press (1995) ISBN 1-56871-090-9
  • Neiman, Moshe Chanina Tefillin: An Illustrated Guide, Feldheim Publishers (1995) ISBN 0-87306-711-8

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

The tefillin consist of two leather boxes with parchment(s) inside. One is placed on the head, and the other on the arm, next to the heart. The teffilin are biblical, and are mentioned in the shema.








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