Getting Tefillin Checked

I visited with Rabbi Levy yesterday to get my tefillin checked.

I learned that if there are questions about the legibility of the holy scrolls, they are given to a child to read to see in their innocence whether the tefillin are kosher or not.

Something felt very good and important about performing this mitzvah.

In the meantime, while mine are being checked, I have a loaner pair of teffilin to use and daven with.

Yet to be seen whether it is time for a new pair or not–like a bar mitzvah all over again. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Beauty of Tefillin

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Beauty of Tefillin.”

Like the colorful coat that Jacob gave Joseph to wear, the mitzvah of tefillin that G-d gave us to wear is also filled with spiritual color and the love of Hashem. This is in no way intended as sacrilegious or as trying to change our holy mitzvot. Rather it is an artistic attempt to see the tefillin in a new way that perhaps excites and bring Jews back to this important mitzvah.


Over time, as I continued to learn and grow as a person and as a Jew, I found much of my way back to Yiddishkeit and to wearing my holy tefillin with love and Joy. To me they are forever colorful and full of spiritual energy that are uplifting to me as I pray with them on for Hashem’s everlasting mercy and blessings for all of us.

(Credit Image: Andy Blumenthal)

To Be A Free People

Hatikvah Herzl Stamp
This week we saw an absolutely horrific terroristic attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem.



Two Palestinian cousins brutally hacked and stabbed to death 4 Rabbis’s (3 American citizens) while at prayer and killed a policeman trying to stop them. 



I read  how one Rabbi actually had his arm wrapped in the holy Tefillin (phylacteries) completely severed from off his body. 



By the time the attack was done, the synagogue was filled with pools of blood of those in the middle of prayer to the Almighty G-d. 



I thought to myself of the Israel anthem, the Hatikvah, that speaks to the Jewish hope of being a free people in the land of Zion and Jerusalem (where this attack and many others have been happening):



“As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”



I wondered where is the yearned for “freedom” of our people post slavery; jailings and torture; destruction, rape, murder, and exile; from Crusades to Auto-da-fes, Pogroms, and Holocaust.



Indeed, our history is not only punctuated by discrimination, blind hatred and anti-semitism, but also by extermination and genocide.



Now in a beautiful Middle East democracy called the State of Israel–where the deserts bloom and technological innovation thrives, where people of three major religions worship in their Holy places, how can so much terror still exist:

– Tens of thousands of missiles targeting population centers

– Tunnels streaming with terrorists trying to kidnap and murder the innocent

– Suicide bombers striking buses, cafes, pizzerias, and more.

– Terrorists driving into crowds of pedestrians, stabbing people with screwdrivers, hitting them with lead pipes, throwing stones and firebombs, slitting the throats of babies, taking and murdering children from the bus stops, and hacking to death Rabbis at prayer…

– Moreover, with Iran, there is a stated existential threat from them to annihilate Israel [via Nukes]…the clock is ticking down.



No nation on Earth would live with this, and neither should the Jewish people!



Israel cannot have Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad as well as nation state terrorists striking at their heart from near, far, and from within. 



The immediate response should be a declaration of Jerusalem as the united Capital of Israel, period.



Subsequent decisions of borders, boundaries, and terms to be decided by the State of Israel to meet their security needs. 



Freedom to live, work, play, and worship without terror, non-negotiable. 



Peace underwritten with security by G-d’s promise to the Jewish people…end of discussion. 



Finally, as to Iran (and others) who openly threaten Israel with WMD–Israel and the U.S. must preempt and hit them staggeringly hard–the best defense is an striking offense.



The terror must end here and now, once and for all. 



O’ Lord, give us freedom from bigotry, hatred, and terror–O’ Lord, give us peace. 



(Source Photo: here with attribution to zeevveez)