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'Sanctity of Tefillin'

Original photography by Miriam Pancheva | June 2023 
    I have documented my father’s daily mitzvah (commandment) of putting on Tefillin which he does during morning prayer, 'Shacharit', excluding Shabbat (Saturday) and certain festivals. I chose 13 images to represent the Bar Mitzvah age at which Jewish men first put on Tefillin. The process of putting on Tefillin is one of the greatest mitzvahs.

What is Tefillin?

    A pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew inscribed on parchment scrolls, one for the head and one for the arm, and a strap. Each box consists of four sacred Torah texts:

  1. Exodus 13:1-10

  2. Exodus 13:11-16

    • These two describe the duty of the Jewish people: to always remember their redemption from slavery in Egypt, and their obligation to teach this to their children as well as G-d’s commandments.

  3. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 talks about the unity of G-d and the commandment to love and fear him.

  4. Deuteronomy 11:13-21 focuses on G-d’s assurance to us that we will be awarded if we follow the Torah’s commandments.

Tefillin is wrapped around the arm seven times to signify the seven days of the week and of creation. My father likes to joke that “you should wrap it with such koach (strength) that when you look at your left arm during the day you are reminded whether you have already put on Tefillin this morning or not!”

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