Mar 272012

Tefillin can be an extremely powerful tool used to connect to Our Father in Heaven and bind ourselves to Him, body, mind and soul. But unfortunately, many of us find it difficult to gather inspiration when we lay our tefillin every day, and really think about what we’re doing.

When I lay my tefillin each morning…

“I wake up to an inbox full of dozens of emails, global news demanding reaction, and a daily agenda triple the size of what will prove achievable.” writes Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz in the Jewish Journal. “How am I to pause to turn inward? When I put on my tefillin each morning, I consider what I need to become liberated from in order to fully return in servitude back to my highest callings. The straps bind me to that mission.”

Tefillin at Sunrise“The danger in ritual is that one can use the power of the structure to avoid internalization. One can sit shiva as their act of mourning yet never truly embrace the grief and loss. One could embrace kashrut yet never seek the deeper spiritual and ethical components to the ritual…Ritual, at its worst, distracts us from real life. But at its best, ritual can enhance our mindfulness with which we live.

“I recently heard Jonathan Safran Foer speak about the ‘room servicing of life,’ how the tendency today is to prefer that others do things for us then we do them for ourselves…”

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