Tefillin: Bound to God

Wearing tefillin is one of the oldest and most cherished practices of the Jewish people. It is a biblical commandment that most likely was first implemented while the Israelites wandered the desert after their exodus from Egypt.

In this month’s Limmud we will look at one of Judaism’s least understood rituals: the act of binding two black boxes and a number of black leather straps to our heads, arms, and hands. This practice is called “wrapping tefillin.” Although this ritual stems from the Bible and has been practiced uninterrupted for over 3,000 years, its purpose and meaning are not readily apparent to the bystander, or even to one who performs the ritual superficially. Yet, an examination behind the meaning of this observance yields a rich wellspring of teachings and inspiration.


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