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Parshat Va'etchanan

Explore Parshah Themes
Readings for Va'etchanan
Av 16, 5779
August 17, 2019

Isaiah 40:1-26
Torah Portion: Va'etchanan
From our Sages on the Parshah
You shall bind them for a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as tefillin between your eyes (Deuteronomy 6:8)

Torah law prescribes that we first tie the hand-tefillin on our arms, and then set the head-tefillin upon our heads -- as derived from the order in which they are commanded in the above verse.

Our sages tell us that G-d, too, wears tefillin, and that His tefillin are inscribed with the verse "Who is like Your people Israel, the one nation on earth" (as our tefillin are inscribed with verses proclaiming His oneness). There are "head-Jews" -- the scholars and thinkers, and "hand-Jews" -- the doers. Both are precious to G-d; both are integral to our role as His "one nation on earth." But when G-d ties His "tefillin" to affirm His bond with His people, He ties his hand-tefillin first, cherishing the simple deed above all else.

(Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov)

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