Posted by: gruvenreuven | January 22, 2010

Nobody Move!! I have a pair of Tefillin

Nobody Move!! I have a pair of Tefillin, and I won’t hesitate to use it.

Of course I am jokingly referring to the USAirways plane that was diverted mid flight yesterday when the crew came across a 17 year old passenger Davening onboard with a pair of Tefillin. They mistook the Tefillin for a bomb and made an Emergency landing right here in Philadelphia.

This Shabbos, Parsah Bo, we read about the mitzvah of Tefillin in Exodus 13:16 “And it shall be for a sign upon your hand and for ornaments between your eyes, for with a mighty hand did the Lord take us out of Egypt” (End of 7th Aliyah)

Hashem has impeccable timing. Tefillin has been the topic news reports this week, and it is interesting to hear Tefillin described to a non-Jewish audience. At first, reports were down right comical. The Chief Inspector at the Philadelphia Airport during an API interview described Tefillin as a Black Device strapped to the body. He also referred to them as Olifactories. (Butchering the English translation that refers to Tefillin as phylacteries – a term I never understood). Later media reports (fortunately) showed a little more research on the part of the reporter.

This week was all about Tefillin for me was well. On Monday, I made the long awaited plunge. During my day off from work for the Martin Luther King Holiday, I took a drive up to Crown Heights in Brooklyn where I purchased a pair of Rebbeinu Tam Tefillin from a Sofer (Scribe) on Kingston Ave called “Ha Sofer””. If you are in the market for a pair of Tefillin (Rashi or Tam), I HIGHLY recommend HaSofer.

In the 12th century, there was a famous debate on the order in which the text found in the Tefillin is to be inserted in the Tefillin. There were two main views. One by Rabbi Solomon ben Yitzhak aka Rashi (The Majority opinion) and his grandson, Rabbi Jacob ben Meir aka Rabbeinu Tam. Legend has it that when Rashi was holding his infant grandson, the baby touched the Tefillin that were on Rashi’ head. Rashi predicted that this grandson would later disagree with him about the order of the scripts that are put in the head Tefillin. Regardless of the story’s validity, Rabbeinu Tam did disagree with the opinion of his antecedent.

According to Rabbeinu Tam, “Rashi’s” Tefillin are invalid, and according to Rashi “Rabbeinu Tam’s” invalid. Although the majority opinion follows Rashi, a few of us, namely Hassidim, wear both pairs just to be covered. We mainly wear Rashi Tefillin during the morning service, putting them on with a blessing. After our Davening, we take off our Rashi Tefillin, and put on Rebbeinu Tam Tefillin, reciting the Shema again and accompany paragraphs (including the verse found in this week’s Parsha Bo) as we finish our Davening.

So again, impeccable timing on “my” part in picking up a pair of Tam Tefillin this week. I love when Hashem makes himself anonymous via coincidences!



  1. Don’t talk between the teffilin shel yad and teffilin shel rosh!

    It is one of the aveirot that a person would be sent back from a war if they were afraid they had done it!!!

    It doesn’t matter how many brachot you make, the Talmud says “Aveira she b’yado”!!!

    Save yourselves from this sin that is easy to avoid!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: