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.