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In the Name of God بسم الله

The Tefillin (phylacteries / Totafah)

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Two questions

1 - Is there any known reason why they are box shaped and black

2 - and have only twelve stitches?

The black box reminds you of the Ka'ba.

Twelve is also a significant number for Shia muslims, other than our 12 Pure Imams (as) the qur'an for example mentions the twelve springs of Mousa (as)

Noble Qur'an - {7:160}
And We divided them into twelve tribes, as nations; and We revealed to Musa when his people asked him for water: Strike the rock with your staff, so outnowed from it twelve springs; each tribe knew its drinking place; and We made the clouds to give shade over them and We sent to them manna and quails: Eat of the good things We have given you. And they did not do Us any harm, but they did injustice to their own souls.
Noble Qur'an - {9:36}
Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah's ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them, and fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Jesus (as) had twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4, "These are the names of the twelve apostles...") etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tefillin doesn't mention (if there even is the reason why) the tefellin is a black square. Maybe it's just one of those things?

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Two questions

1 - Is there any known reason why they are box shaped and black

Hmm. They definitely must be perfect cubes, and dyed black, but I'm not sure why. There must be a reason, but I don't know it. This is one of those things where the halacha of the everyday Jew such as myself concerns how you put them on, maintain them, and so on, but as for their manufacture, all I know is "go to the Jewish bookstore and buy a pair of tefillin from someone qualified to make them and get them checked every couple of years." I know it has to be a perfect cube or it becomes invalid, but for the underlying theory I'd need to go check the Gemara, which gets me agitated because my Aramaic is so bad. This is a question more suited to a guy who was paying more attention to school, and less to baseball.

2 - and have only twelve stitches?

I always thought it was to correspond to the twelve tribes, and the specific layout of the stitches (three on each side) symbolizes the formation of the twelve tribes when they camped in the desert, three on each side.

The black box reminds you of the Ka'ba.

Maybe it reminds you of the Ka'ba, but quite frankly there are a lot of reasons things could be a black cube.

Twelve is also a significant number for Shia muslims, other than our 12 Pure Imams (as) the qur'an for example mentions the twelve springs of Mousa (as) And We divided them into twelve tribes, as nations;

There you have it: the twelve tribes.

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Good question ,it does resemble kaaba

tefillin_sheepskin.jpg

One answer is:

The Baal Tikun Tefillin, Rabbi Avrohom of Zuns'heim, a Rishon, says that the configuration of the tefillin shel rosh corresponds to the encampment of Bnei Yisroel in the desert. There are a total of 12 stitches closing the tefillin, 3 on each side of the central cube. This corresponds to the 12 tribes encamped in the desert, 3 on each side of the central area of macha'neh L'viyoh and machaneh Sh'chinoh. In the centre, we have the cube that houses the script, parshios, of the tefillin. The cube corresponds to the ark and the script to the luchos which were inside. The ark had on its lid (kaporres) the two cherubs whose wings were spread aloft. The cherubs with their wings spread aloft loosely had a configuration similar to the letter shin. The luchos upon which the Ten Commandments were etched had as their first word, "onochi." Here again we have a striking similarity. The cube of the tefillin (k'tzitzoh) which houses the script of four paragraphs of the Torah has two letters shin on the outside, similar to the ark and the two cherubs. Rabbi Avrohom adds that these last two similarities are alluded to in the verse in T'hilim 119:162,"Sos onochi." "Sos" is spelled sin,sin. These are the two cherubs and also the two shins on the tefillin housing. Onochi, the letters sin and sin, symbolizing the two cherubs are over the Ten Commandments which begin with "onochi."

But why a shin?

1) An allusion from our verse, the first letters of the words "SHeim-Hashem (yud)-Nikra" create "shin."

2) The shin is indicative of Hashem's name as the four letter name of Hashem, yud, kay, vov, kay equals 26, and their corresponding letters in the "atbash" transpermutation system is mem, tzaddi, pei, tzaddi which equal 300, the numerical value of the letter shin (Beis Yoseif on the Tur Orach Chaim #32 in the name of the R"i Askandrani).

Hashem also resembels Banu Hashem,the family of Prophet.What is Hashem?

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Hmm thanks. I just checked my encyclopedia judaica cd, it too doesn't mention any reason (online version here http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp...90&letter=P ). Thanks for the 12 stitches info.

There's a reference used a lot in the above link (Men. 35a), is "Men." a chapter from the Talmud or is it something else?

Hashem means "the name" in Hebrew and is a name for God that is appropriate for use in casual conversation, such as on web sites.
For Shia, Bani Hashem (Children of Hashem) were a righteous tribe that practiced monotheism before the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Hashim Imam Mahdi (as) is a descendant of Hashim.

regards

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There's a reference used a lot in the above link (Men. 35a), is "Men." a chapter from the Talmud

Basically. It is short for "Menachot," plural of "mincha," which means the afternoon offering (today, afternoon prayer service). It is one of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah, and hence of the Talmud (which consists of the Mishnah plus the Gemara, which is structured as a commentary of sorts on the Mishnah). 35a refers to the page (35) and folio (a).

For Shia, Bani Hashem (Children of Hashem) were a righteous tribe that practiced monotheism before the birth of the Prophet (pbuh) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banu_Hashim

The link says that it was named after a guy named Hashim, so I don't think there's a connection to the Hebrew.

Is the Hashemite dynasty of Jordan related to this?

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^ toda raba for the reference info.

Here you'll find the Prophets family tree http://www.zuhrtime.com/prophettree.jpg you'll see the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is the son of Abdullah son of Abdul Mutallib son of Hashim. They are descendants of the Prophet Ismail (as) son of Abraham (as).

Here you'll find the Pure 12 Shia Imams (as) family tree http://www.al-islam.org/masoom/bios/famtree.gif with the final one being Imam Mahdi (aj).

As for the jordanian "hashimites" (descendants of Hashim) there's doubt whether they really are hashimites or not.

When you see a Shia scholar wearing a black turban (like in my avatar) it means they're descendants (through the fathers) of the Prophet (pbuh) . White means they're not.

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(salam)

Excuse me but are you the same person who used to be an administrator in this site ? If you are, may I ask if you left because of personal commitments or other reasons ?

I have noticed that a lot of mods have left, never to returm : Baatil ka Kaatil, Abdul Hujjah, Abdul Hussain, Ali Zaki and quite a few others whose names I cannot readily recall. At least you are hanging around.

All the best

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  • 3 years later...
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Hey guys! I see also a connection between the Tefillin and Kaaba. I think this connection is some kind of a relict, that shows that there was a common source religion from which the Islam and Judaism evolved. And this source can only be found in babylonian / sumerian religion. So maybe Abraham (the father of the jews and arabs), who lived also in the city Ur (deepest heart of Sumer), was at his time a believer of sumerian religion. That could be also a reason, why Abraham had sex and kids with his own sister (incest)! This is some kind of weired. Today the jews and arabs are honoring Abraham for being the grandfather of their nations and religions, but that would also mean they are evolved out of incest and if Abraham, like everyone believes had the same religion like jews and moslems today, why didn't told him Allah or god, that it is forbidden to have sex with his sister, like Allah and god is telling today???? Is god not straight in his decisions? Or was it at that time good to have sex with your sister, but now it's evil? Or could it be that Abraham wasn't praying to the same god(s), like moslems and jews today do? However I allready know that you will find somekind of insufficient answers. So I have to remain with kind greets and peace. 33rd°

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  • 9 years later...

MECCA AND KABBALAH | Kabbalah Student - Billy Phillips

I recently mentioned that the Pharisaic interpretation of Jewish law was accepted by Jesus. They were distinguished by putting on of phylacteries, unlike other Jewish sects who interpreted the Torah passage which speaks of binding the Torah on the forehead and arm figuratively. The Karaites are a modern day Jewish sect which don’t put on phylacteries.

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