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Friday, Shevat 7, 5777 / February 3, 2017


The mitzvah of wearing the Tefillin on the arm and head is found twice in this week's Parsha, Bo, and twice later in the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy.


The Tefillin on the arm and head are considered two mitzvot.  If one has only one of the Tefillin, he must still wear the one which he has. Since the Torah mentions this mitzvah so many times, our sages emphasized the importance of performing this mitzvah daily (except Shabbat & holidays).


The great Torah commentator Rashi, who lived over 900 years ago, and his grandson, Rabbeinu Tam, have different opinions as to the order in which the four verses of the Torah are placed in the Tefillin.  The Tefillin that we use are made according to the opinion of Rashi. Yet many people, after reciting the morning service will put on another set of Tefillin according to "Rabbeinu Tam" and recite the Shema again.


Q.The Torah says, "And it shall be a sign on your hand and a reminder between your eyes," without specifying which hand.  Why are the Tefillin usually placed on the "left arm"?


A.  The word "your hand" is spelled in the Torah not in the usual way, but with an extra letter "hay".  This renders the word "yad keha" which means "the weaker hand."  As a result, a right-handed person puts the Tefillin on the left hand, while a lefty puts it on the right hand.


Q.  The Tefillin "Shel Rosh" (head) is placed on the head, no lower than the hair line.  Why does the Torah use the expression, "a reminder between your eyes"?


A.  "Between your eyes" tells us that the Tefillin must be "centered" so that the middle of the Tefillin will line up "between the eyes" and not to the side.


Q.Why does the Torah use the expression “between your eyes,” when they are placed on the head?


A.In the Shema which we recite twice daily, the Torah commands us, "And you shall not turn after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray, so that you may remember and perform all My commandments." According to our sages, the process that leads to sin usually begins when the eyes see the forbidden and the heart desires it. Together they cause the person to sin. 


To avoid sin one has to have control over theeyes, heart, thought andactions. The Tefillin are a daily reminder of this point. We place them on the head to influence our thoughts with holiness.  They are placed "between the eyes"  to remind us that one must be in control of what they see. We also bind them on the left hand near the heart to show that one must practice control over one's desires (heart) and actions (hand).



Montrealcandle lighting time: 4:46 / 5:52


In loving memory of Harry Cons - Tzvi ben Betzalel HaLevi - Yartzeit is today, 7th of Shevat.

May his memory be a blessing.  May his soul rest in peace in Gan Eden

From his children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren