tefillin

di tefillinLit.”phylacteries”. Two small black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls inscribed with the Shema and other biblical passages, wrapped on the arm and head of adult men during weekday morning prayers.

The tefillin shel rosh – the one placed on the head – is made up of four separate pieces of parchment on which the different parshiyot are written. These parchments are placed in four separate compartments of leather that are made together as one. Rashi describes how the soft rawhide is placed over a mold with four protruding “fingers” so that during the processing the leather is stretched out in the appropriate form. These four compartments are pressed together, and when finished there is a clear separation between them that can be seen even from the outside, as shown in this image.

This image was taken from the Hebrew edition of the Steinsaltz Talmud, Tractate Menahot, page 148.

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