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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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Power Tefillin

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!
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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Moishe Y. Engel Long Beach May 30, 2016

expense of tefilin #2 If you are really wanting to buy tefillin and you are planning to wear them daily but they are too expensive, please call me, I may be able to help you, 1-714-863-1426. Moishe Y Engel (rabbi) Reply

Anonymous April 28, 2015

Self restraint is a part of this concept to be a vessel that channels from above a defense Strapping Tefillin girds us like a weight belt keeps us from getting injured. The energy that the commandment boxes emit to the frontal lobes is something everyone have to study and research. The sounds of the letters the frequencies and stations of learning and the powers of those understandings.
We are in one part of a house, we need to follow beyond the lobby, and into inner rooms. Whether we are ready to go behind a curtain we will have to know ourselves closely, and make a commitment to explore.
It really isn't anything spooky, but learning about one's Father in a reverent manner with respect and a trembling that very near. Reply

Seth Bath Beach, Brooklyn August 3, 2012

I just wish they weren't so expensive. I can't spare $350 for a set. Reply

Anonymous mb, fl July 26, 2012

RE: #18/anonymous absolutley not.:( Reply

Scott Spiegler Brookline, MASSACHUSETTS 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. Reply

Anonymous 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. Reply

Michael Tampa, FL/US 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. Reply

Anonymous June 16, 2010

Nice Job Rabbi you are really getting the message across well. Keep up the great work. Reply

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. Reply

Richard Stanbery Maysville, Oklahoma 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? Reply

Rachelle Baruch 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. Reply

Anonymous brooklyn, ny June 18, 2009

To Joe Perhaps your Bar Mitzvah celebration was on Shabbat? Reply

Aviya Fairfax, VA June 17, 2009

response to Joe
Shalom Joe,

You have many and great questions in maind, please visit the nearest Chabad, you are very much welcome. Believe me, its a great community - like a big caring family.

I have so many good things to say - but see it for yourself.

Its never too late to make up on the mitzvoth you haven't learned ior done in details. Reply

c c June 16, 2009

I am not a boy.. I am not a boy :) I cannot put tefillin Reply

Daniel Gradess New York, NY June 16, 2009

Great video Thanks for the work.

What do you think about the difference between tefillin as power-source and tefillin as supplication? The aspect of the practice that involves humility before G-d and binding yourself to G-d is very powerful as well. Reply

Joe Siegel Fox Island, WA June 16, 2009

Tefillin, Conservative Judaism, 1960s Can anyone tell me why I can't remember doing Tefillin when I was studying for my Bar Mitzvah which I had in 1968? It was a very rigourous course of training as I remember. 3-4 years of Hebrew School prior to the Conservative ceremony. It was NOT a "quick and easy" event at all, and I remember the synogogue being serious about all the events with no shortcuts. Not a reformed congregation at all.
Why wouldn't I have done Tefillin?? Reply

Richard Raff BonneyLake, United States June 15, 2009

In place I'll learn to focus tefillin for the good of the whole.Not anybody can put together a presentation like these series... actually great job. Reply

Hillel Ben-Avraham Richlands, NC June 15, 2009

Power Tefillin Rock Hard, Ride Free, wearing Tefillins alright with me! Reply

Netzar ben Yaacov Hurst, Texas June 15, 2009

Do first, Ask later This is a great modern anecdote on Israel accepting the Torah before hearing it.

Our willingness to follow the Divine must be had before we can hear the Divine. Reply

Joe polliack Cape Town , South Africa June 15, 2009

tefillin Cool , real cool , black leather is in , especially at the Gardens shul in Cape Town led by the coolest of cool kids on the block , Rabbi Oshey Feldman Reply