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Mitzvos that Provide Uniform and Identification

8 and 9: Tefillin on the Arm and Tefillin on the Head

Bind them as a sign on your hand and they should be an ornament on your head. (Devarim 6:8)

Every Jewish male is obligated to wear tefillin on his arm and on his head. One who wears tefillin properly merits to live a long life (Rambam, Hilchos Tefillin 4:26).

It is important to learn how to position the tefillin properly.

Tefillin contain four sections of the Torah, two chapters of the Shema and two selections from Parashas Bo. Tefillin remind us that Hashem is our King, who created us and provides us with sustenance. We remember the great and wonderful miracles He performed for us when He freed us from slavery in Egypt and recall that He brought us out to serve Him.

Tefillin are holier than the tzitz (headplate) which the kohein gadol wore. The Rambam explains that this is because the tzitz only had Hashem’s name once, whereas tefillin have Hashem’s name twenty-one times in the head box and twenty-one times in the arm one (Hilchos Tefillin 4:14).

The best way to appreciate the great and glorious mitzvah of tefillin is to study the four Torah sections that are inside them. There are a total of thirty-one verses in our tefillin. If you study one verse a day, it will only take about a month to know what your tefillin are all about.

Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and



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