xxviii Historical and Explanatory Notes.
which are written on parchment enclosed in the small
square boxes of black leather, bound on the head and
arm by a strap (רְצןוּעָה). The phylacteries are not used
on Sabbaths and festivals, and are now for the most part
only worn during morning prayer, but in the Talmudic
and Gaonic ages they were worn all day by students.
Maimonides emphatically expresses his preference for the
I am here intent upon the act of laying the Tephillin (הִנְנִי מְכַוֵּן) is another meditation (cavvanah) derived from the prayer-book of R. Isaiah Hurwitz.
Blessed...who hast commanded us to lay the Tephillin (לִהַנִּיחַ תְּפִלִּין), and Blessed... who hast given us command concerning the precept of the Tephillin (עַל מִצְוַת תְּפִלִּן) are two benedictions taken from the Talmud (e.g. Berachoth 60 b).
Page 16. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever (וְאֵרַשְתִּיךְ) (Hosea ii. 21, 22). The tephillin are compared to the bridal garland, a symbol of the devotion and affection between Israel and God. The recitation of these verses, as of those from Psalm xxxvi. (מַה־יַּקַר) above, were (according to Baer) introduced by R. Nathan Shapira of Cracow in the beginning of the seventeenth century. The traces of Polish variation on the German rite are seen in our P.B. not only in certain differences of arrangement, but also in the addition of passages such as these. These additions are sometimes rather mystically recondite, but at other times they are as simple as they are beautiful.
On the spiritual value of wearing the phylacteries Maimonides (on the basis of the Talmud, Menaḥoth 43 b) thus writes: "Great is the sanctity of the tephillin, for while the tephillin are on a man's head and about his arm, he is humble and God-fearing; he is not drawn away by levity and idle conversation, nor does his heart entertain evil thoughts; but he fills his heart with ideas of truth and righteousness" (Laws of Tephillin, iv. 25).
The different Rites vary as to the point in the service