by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
One of the most important spiritual aspects inherent in the mitzvah of tefillin is that they point out the uniqueness of the Jewish people. Tefillin are a sign between G-d and the Jewish people, that we are uniquely His. Although many mitzvahs have been somewhat copied by the gentiles, for instance, Shabbos (albeit on Sunday), lighting candles, dietary restrictions and yarmulkes, only Jews put on tefillin. If we think about this when we lay tefillin, we can come to great joy, or even to awe of the One whose special people we are.
The head piece of the tefillin is said to represent the Tablets of the Ten Commandments. When the Tablets were originally inscribed, the letters were inscribed on one side only, but they could be read from the other side, too. This miracle is remembered by having the four-armed shin on one side of the tefillin headpiece. Nowhere else does the letter shin appear with four arms. When you look at the “empty” space between the arms of the four-armed shin, you will see the shin on the other side of the headpiece. Look and see.
It is essential to have your tefillin checked by a qualified scribe periodically. There have been many cases reported where physical things went wrong in a person’s life, and later corresponding blemishes were found in the tefillin.
A few years ago a dear friend of mine suddenly passed away. He was only sixty years old. He developed a tumor in his brain, and his left arm was paralyzed. Within a few months he was gone. I visited him in the hospital and asked him when the last time his tefillin had been checked. He told me that they were new, less than two years old. I took them to a scribe. He found blemishes in both the head piece (across from the tumor) and in the arm piece (which he wore on the arm that was paralyzed).
Did the blemished tefillin cause the disease? My feeling is that both the disease and the blemished tefillin came to him at the same time. For some reason, that was his portion. However, I also feel that had his tefillin been repaired as soon as he got them, his life might have been spared.
Tefillin and mezuzahs are not dead animal skins placed upon our heads and upon the doorposts of our homes. They are vibrant, spiritual treasures that affect and reflect both the higher worlds and our personal lives.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא