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Last night, you charged your cell phone, your laptop, your ebook reader, your video camera, your hand vacuum, your power drill and your cell phone bluetooth earpiece. Now it's time to charge your Jewish soul--with Tefillin!

Power Tefillin

Power Tefillin

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Topics: Tefillin

So this biker guy parks his hog outside my Kabbalah Lab one day and stomps in saying he's looking for Kabbalah and I take one look and say, "Hey, you'd look great in black leather!"

He says, "Yeah?"

And I say, "Sure, just roll up your left sleeve."

I mean, how could he resist? Next thing, I'm tightening the knot on the first leather box around his bulging, tattooed biceps brachii and he's repeating after me, "Baruch….Atta…"

But then he blurts out, "Wait a minute! Why am I doing this? What's the point?"

I answer, "Thought you'd never ask."

"I asked."

"Okay, but first, let's wrap. Then we'll talk."

He's okay with that, wrapping, then saying Shma, then I play him this tv ad you just watched--and he still doesn't get it. So I show him The Tefillin Booth. Nope, still lost on him. So I try reading him my favorite episode of the Heaven Exposed series, The Tefillin Files. He's starting to get it. But it's tough. Tougher than the leather those boxes are made of.

Can't blame him. Wrapping tefillin has to be the weirdest thing we do. Who else would imagine tying leather scrolls in black leather boxes onto their head and arm? Scrolls are for reading, not for wearing, right?

Yet in those tefillin is everything there is to know about Kabbalah, in hard, physical form. The World of Atzilut crystallized in three dimensions. The closest you could come to touching the Ein Sof.

That's what happened when Tefillin came down to earth: G‑d took His thoughts and extended them into the physical domain of the World of Assiah (that's our world, in Kabbalistic terms). He contracted His thoughts into a tangible action that we humanoids can perform. He condensed the Cosmic Mind into words on parchment, so that we can read them, comprehend them, and even wear them. And black leather looks cool, too.

Check out The Tefillin Files. Everything's there.

Written and conceived by Tzvi Freeman. Rabbi Freeman is available for public speaking and workshops. Read more on his bio page.
Music by The Piamentas
Rabbi Infinity played by Andrew Torres
Animation and SFX by Pilar Newton of Pilar Toons
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Discussion (21)
August 3, 2012
I just wish they weren't so expensive. I can't spare $350 for a set.
Seth
Bath Beach, Brooklyn
July 26, 2012
RE: #18/anonymous
absolutley not.:(
Anonymous
mb, fl
February 4, 2012
Trivializing Mitzvot
I wish Chabad wouldn't trivialize our holy commandments, as was done here in this cartoon. Tefillin isn't a lightening rod. In fact, we don't know why we do it, other than that it is a mitzvah d'oraisa. So, why just make stuff up?

A simple Jew.
Scott Spiegler
Brookline, MASSACHUSETTS
August 28, 2011
wearing TEFILLIN
can a non-jew (me) who reads and believes in Torah and recites Shema twice a day and is trying to learn Hebrew use a Tefillin.
Anonymous
January 11, 2011
Story raised my spirit...
As a man who has tattoos on his arms from a time when I did not worry about G-d or care about my forefathers it makes me smile to hear that another man made the change from tattoos to Torah and Tefillin. Sometimes a feeling of shame creeps in when the past resurfaces but it passes with the thought of redemption.
Michael
Tampa, FL/US
June 16, 2010
Nice Job
Rabbi you are really getting the message across well. Keep up the great work.
Anonymous
February 10, 2010
Not my place but?
Because G-d instructed us to learn ways of tradition,following G-d's direction means special rewards. So you do it your way and I'll follow the Jews. It seems that they have more experience with understanding the real teachings of the Torah and Tefillin. I stepped in on this subject very sorry, I am not a Rabbi but maybe we need Rabbi Freeman's advise.
Anonymous
February 9, 2010
Tefillin
Are we not told to worship our G-d in spirit and in truth? It it not true that we can come to our God 24-7? Are we not also told that we are to talk with our children and grand children as we rest, walk along the road, and any other time that we have together about G-d and the things of our Bible?
Then why do we need to have this physical Tefilin for? I don't see the point?
Richard Stanbery
Maysville, Oklahoma
June 18, 2009
Rabbi Infinity
What can I say - you always bring a warm smile to my face and most often a deep heartfelt laugh of joy. Thanks again.
Rachelle Baruch
June 18, 2009
To Joe
Perhaps your Bar Mitzvah celebration was on Shabbat?
Anonymous
brooklyn, ny
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