Renewing Tefilin

RabbiStaceyBlank's Blog

Tefilin.

From the outside, it looks like one of the most awkward forms of ritual – wooden boxes covered with black leather, with straps that wrap around the head and wind all the way down the arm with some contortion of knots and loops around the hand. For Orthodox Jews, laying tefilin is a basic practice that is part of the daily routine.

It is one of the oldest ritual objects that is still in use today. Remnants of tefilin were found from the times of the Second Temple. The Mishna, the first compilation of Jewish law after the Torah, treats the concept of tefilin as an understood, accepted practice.

It is also a practice that liberal Judaism has not touched. Yes, there are those who have reclaimed the practice and lay tefilin as part of the prayer ritual. In Israel, it is a part of the bar mitzvah ritual…

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