Sunday, May 01, 2011


There Is a Reason for Everything

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths


     Why are the knots of the tefillin straps tied as they are? Why do we insist that the knot of the head strap be placed over the small bone in the back of the head? Why is the knot of the hand tefillin touching the box, and not the head tefillin?

     The first reason for why the knots are tied as they are is that they form Hebrew letters. The knot of the head strap forms the Hebrew letter dalet (ד), and the knot of the hand tefillin forms the Hebrew letter yud (י).When read with the letter shin (ש) on the head tefillin, this spells shin-dalet-yud (שדי), one of G-d’s names. It signifies “Almighty,” or “Protector.” For this reason this name of G-d is written on the outside ofmezuzahs, too.

image008     But why is the dalet knot placed on the back of the head above the neck, and the yud knot is placed on the arm, and not the other way around? The head piece would stay on the head just as well if the knot was a different shape or placed next to the tefillin box. And why is a yud knot tied on the hand strap, and not the head strap? And why must the yud knot always be touching the hand tefillin box?

     Look at the photographs above. The dalet knot is shaped like the place where it is placed, and the yudknot is shaped like the place where it goes. Can you see this? The dalet is shaped like the back of your head and neck, and the yud is shaped like your hand. The letter yud stands for the Jew (Yehudi) and the box (which houses the writings) stands for the Torah. A Jew should never be separated from the Torah.

image009     We place tefillin on our heads to show that we will think about what G-d tells us, and we place them upon our arm to show that we will do what G-d tells us.

     The more we learn about the mitzvahs, the more we appreciate them. This greater appreciation leads to spiritual joy when we do them, and joy is one of the main results of doing a mitzvah properly.


  1. Its amazing when you strap on a metaphor, isn't it.

    What's even more amazing is seeing Jews with the metaphor strapped on, walking around and don't really put it to use. It's amazing how the metaphor fails to remind us just really what living the Torah is supposed to be. We are so worried if the metaphor has the right amount of black, sit's in the right spot on ones head or arm, if the knots are precise. So, learning about a rabbinical mitzvoth does not change one's character, maybe, just maybe the real Torah of Moshe might. Just a silly thought really.

    Just today for example, I saw in the Rova a group of 6 young men who where wearing their metaphor. They where standing at the bottom of the stairs discussing Torah. Great, except for the fact that no one could pass. I was carrying a rather heavy appliance and said excuse me. They glared that I dare interupt their important discussion but moved aside for me. They continued to block the stairwell and a group of tourists came, and the 6 young men wearing a metaphor would not move. So, I asked them to move. One said yes, but one of the little punks who was wearing a metaphor looked like he wanted his rear end kicked. I asked him what his problem was, walked towards them and they left mumbling. You know, I guess wearing a metaphor means that you own the world and don't have to have any regard for anyone else.

  2. There is another example of some who wear the metaphor. The other day in the grocery store in the Rova, there was a man who carries around a huge metaphor bag. Probably the biggest one I have ever seen.

    In the grocery store he was off to the side, away from where the newpapers are displayed for sale. I was observing him just standing there reading articles, turning the page and reading more. This was not an example of one flipping through the pages in order to decide whether or not to purchase the information on the newspaper. Look at the Gemara discussion for further instructions. So in passing him, I asked this particular man who walks around with the largest metaphor bag if he planned on just reading the paper or if he planned to pay for the information contained in the paper. He just looked up, grinned and then kept on reading.

    See, carrying a huge metaphor bag does not lead one to live by even his own rules that he says he follows by carrying a huge metaphor bag. I cannot actually say if he wears the huge metaphor, but he atleast carries it. Maybe since he only carries the huge metaphor bag, maybe that excludes him from remembering and doing his own rules from the Gemara that he advertises he does by his outfit.

    Hmmm, maybe there is something to carrying a metaphor bag.

  3. Oh heck, while we are at it, here's another fun day at the Rova.

    I was walking through the center square and this nice Chabbadnic came up to me and asked me if I wanted to donn the metaphor. I said to him, why do you ask me? I don't believe I see you donning the Tefillin. He replied that he does not have the Ruach haKodesh. I replied to him, one day you will get it. I kept on going and he chased me down, running across the entire center square, asking for a bracha from me. The gentleman I was with told him, that I had given him a bracha already, he just did not catch it.

    Oh, how it's such a blast to be visiting the rova from time to time.

  4. Heck, while we are at it, there is another example of one who wears the metaphor. There is a man who likes to wear his metaphor while everyone can see him praying in public while donning his metaphor. Then after he is finished showing everyone in public about how he pray's with his metaphor, he chases down tourists to tie a red string on their wrists. He goes and touches the women's arm trying to tie the string on them and many of them become highly irritated. Now, according to his rules he claims to follow by wearing a metaphor, he is not to be touching women like this. Then he scams them for money.

    Chillul haShem people. Why those who carry the largest metaphor bags don't put a stop to this behaviour is perplexing. Mmmm, maybe they don't think that when one wears the metaphor they are to act a certain way. Of course to ones best ability as all make errors.


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