Must be a record

It’s now been three whole days in a row that I have been laying my tefillin in the morning. Ordinarily, that’s not a big deal, but for me it’s a new record, an event that hasn’t happened in years. Back in the day, when I had the strength of my commitments, I used to rise every morning at 6 am and head to my minyan. Come hell or high water, I was there. But, time slips away, and leaves you with nothing Mister, but boring stories of…, well you know. Now I’m quoting Bruce Springsteen. God help me.

So what’s with this tefillin thing anyway? The commandment to wear tefillin is biblical in origin. Deuteronomy 6:5-8 states:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a frontlet between your eyes

There’s obviously tons of basic and advanced information about tefillin on the Web. Google it if you care. One thing you can’t Google though, is my personal take on this whole Torah-sanctioned, black leather binding thing. That could be interpreted perversely – but I’m not going there.

Where am I going? The commandment relating to the laying of tefillin is presented in the context of other laws dealing with one’s relationship to God. Maybe that’s why this activity, however long it will last, resonates with me. God and I are having some relationship issues and this is perhaps a way for me to deal with them. I know God has much better things to do than waste time with the likes of me. But for the last three days I’ve been able to contemplate what the hell it is I am going to be doing with the likes of him. Or her. Or however it is you prefer to picture your diety. I don’t have any answers. This is probably going to be the start of a meandering, self-indulgent series of posts that are going to bore the hell out of you. But, uh… I’ve gotten some messages from folks worried about my state of being. Please, no need to worry. My ribs are healing. I actually ate something today and I am certain that all will be well.

Now to get ready for Jewlicious at the Beach! Yay.

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

15 Comments

  • Sorry to hear of your recent troubles CK. Is there any provision for putting some padding in (under?) your tefillin to try and ward off the punks at the corner store? (Like football pads?) Just wondering! Cheers & heal up fast, ‘VJ’

  • One man’s troubles are another man’s inspiration.

    As I read, I thought “that musta hurt – but would I have stepped up like that??” And I’m not speaking strictly about the Clint Eastwood antics, I’m talking about T’fillin.

    Even though I won’t be able to buy my first real set until after a gig in April, your bloody knuckles and striped arm will be hard not to think about at Shacharit.

    Big Up, CK, Big Up

  • And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a frontlet between your eyes

    Sounds to me like a Debbie Friedman song.

  • Grand Muffti said:
    March 7th, 2007 at 2:07 am
    Muffti agrees. This is remarkably self indulgent and meandering.

    Like people who always refer to themselves in the third person. 😉

  • TM, we have to listen to the Creator, but we don’t have to listen to Debbie Friedman.

    Wait a minute. You liked Sally Preisand.

  • The telephone is a relatively new invention but a rather old concept. It is basically two objects that allow people to connect with one another. Tefilin is also two black boxes that are meant to connect us with Hashem . If only we make that connection, Hashem will surely not hang upon us!

  • Post 5, TM, you say that a core passage from Deutoronomy (that’s the only name I know for it) which I think is inside the Tfillen boxes, sounds like a Debbie Friedman song.

    So, Torah filtered through a Sally Preisand-admirer’s mind, meaning yours, (you discussed her path-breaking career at length) emerges sounding like a Debbie Friedman song?

    Then, GM remarks that Debbie Friedman means, for him, “remarkably self indulgent and meandering”. TM, you do not seem to mind that. Your Debbie Freidman reference did not sound like a compliment to Debbie.

    This is not a great moment for admirers of Sally Preisand or Debbie Friedman.

    They don’t seem to have impressed you anyway, and you are lumping the Creator’s writing, as dictated to Moses, in with theirs, as self indulgent and meandering.

    My personal thought is that these well- meaning and talented women may have unwittingly have had some kind of bad influence on you, if you are teasing CK about his Tfillen laying.

    I mean, what does it say inside your Tfillen? Something less self-indulgent and meandering? Just kidding.

  • Um, JM, I was making a joke. I knew that passage off by heart in the excellent biblical Hebrew for many years before I had ever heard a Debbie Friedman song. It’s just amusing to see it in the English this way because she has a song called V’Ahavta that is a riff on this important passage. It’s especially amusing because in at least dozens and possibly hundreds of congregations in this country they are BRAINWASHING Jewish youth with her music so that when these familiar lyrics come up, instead of thinking “tefillin” they are thinking “Groan, not that song again.”

    GM was referring to ck’s post because in it ck says that he realizes that he is being self-indulgent in a meandering post. GM was in agreement.

    I hope this helps.

  • OY! I missed everything. Thanks.
    Thanks for setting me straight.

    But, you see what even a highly intelligent reader could think, reading your overly cryptic post. Please be careful. There are impressionable minds out there!

    However, you do not address the burning issue of whether Sally Preisand leads in a straight line to Debbie Friedman, and her “familiar lyrics” version of Jewish prayer, G-d help us all.

  • JM, for these serious questions, we have rabbis. I’m afraid I cannot explain Debbie Friedman’s hold over huge swaths of today’s North American Jewish population.