Thursday, February 6, 2014


Shekhina, photo by Leonard Nimoy

Tefillin are Jewish amulets you wrap around your arm and put on your third eye.  Their original impetus comes from Deuteronomy 11:18, which says "Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes"  One "set" of tefillin consists of two small black boxes filled with torah scrolls.  One goes on your non-dominant arm and wraps around (see picture).  The other goes on your third eye, and a special magic knot goes at the base of your skull (on your "jade pillow").  they have long leather straps which you wrap in complicated kabbalistic ways.  There are a variety of customs concerning them, but most Orthopraxic Jewish men (and many un-orthopraxic ones, like SR) "lay" (ie, wear) them in when saying their daily prayers.  Depending who you ask, women either "don't have to" or "aren't supposed to" or "are completely forbidden to" wear them.  Most men who own a set (they're relatively difficult to make and VERY expensive) won't let a women wear them.

SR (the Judaics teacher at my school) let me wear his this morning.  It was AMAZING.  I didn't really feel much from the arm one (probably because the wrapping itself was complicated, and I lost my place in the prayers a couple of times; my Hebrew is still VERY weak, although it's improving).  OTOH, when the second one hit my head, I got all weak in the knees and had to grab the table for support.  It was among the most powerful "energetic" sensations I've ever had.  I'm not usually very sensitive to that kind of thing, but this was overwhelming.  It was exactly the same sensation as lighting shabbat candles, that of Shekhina descending, but it was instantaneous, and much more....hard to was much more electric.  It was like being

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