The Secret Of The Tefilin -

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Resource Type: Short Article in: English
Age: 10-18
Group Size: 10-59
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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The Secret of Tefilin

Rav Ronen Neuwirth, Rav Shaliach Mercazi

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And it shall be when the LORD shall bring you into the land of the Canaanite

And it shall be for a sign to you upon your hand, and for a remembrance between your eyes, that the Torah of the LORD may be in your mouth

And it shall be when the LORD shall bring you into the land of the Canaanite, as he promised your ancestors, and he will give the Land to youAnd it shall be for a sign upon your hand, and for frontlets between your eyes; for by strength of his arm of the LORD, He brought us forth out of Egypt(Shemot 13:5,9,11,16)

Twice in our Parasha we encounter the same phenomenon wherever the Mitzvah of Tefilin is mentioned in the Torah, it is always preceded by a verse that relates to the entrance of Am Yisrael to Eretz Israel. This leads Chazal to the following conclusion : Why does the Torah mention 'bringing [to the Land]' in regards to tefilin? This is the way the Mitzvah is taught in the academy of R. Yishmael: Do this mitzvah so that in its merit you will enter the Land [of Israel]." (Kiddushin 37a)

Why is the Mitzvah of Tefilin more related to Eretz Israel than other commandments? How does performing this Mitzvah give us the privilege of re-acquiring Eretz Israel?

Rav Kook, in his essay on the Tefilin, provides a profound insight on this matter. The secret of the Tefilin lies within the verse that describes the goal of the Tefilin : ' so that the Torah of Hashem will be in your mouth. The Tefilin, says Rav Kook, are designated to inject and infuse Kedusha (sacredness) into our physical entity our own flesh and blood. Therefore we are instructed to put the Tefilin directly upon our body without any (physical barrier between the skin and the tefillin.) The Tefilin, which are made of the skin of a kosher animal, brings the Kedusha directly from the Tefilin through our skin and straight into our body. Perhaps, that is the reason why there is a unique Halacha regarding the Tefilin which rules that  - i.e. Tefilin requires bodily purity. While most of the commandments are addressed to our soul in order to bypass bodily interference, the Mitzvah of Tefilin, in particular, is addressed to our body, and is aimed to uplift it and make it more spiritual.

This is exactly the secret of Eretz Israel. The difference between Eretz Israel and all other Lands is equivalent to the disparity between the Tefilin and most of the other commandments. In the Diaspora, one has to subdue his bodily inclinations in order to achieve a spiritual level. Whoever lives in the Land of Israel may be considered to have a God, but whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who has no God (Kethuboth 110b). The Land of Israel is the Land of perfection, the Land of completeness. The Torah of Eretz Israel assists us in finding the path of completeness between heaven and earth, the course where there is no contradiction between our physical inclinations and our spiritual obligations.

The Mitzvah of Tefilin is supposed to teach us the secrets of Torat Eretz Israel, the ultimate path of synthesis and completeness. We practice this Mitzvah each and every day to sense the atmosphere of Eretz Israel, and therefore this Mitzvah gives us the right to re-enter the gates of Eretz Israel -which are metaphorically the gates of heaven.

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Related Resources can be found under:
» All > Judaism > Tefilla
» All > Torah > Parshat Shavua > Shmot > Bo
» All > Judaism > Keeping Mitzvot
» All > Treats
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