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n. phylacteries, small leather cases holding Biblical passages that are worn on the head and arm of Jews during morning prayers
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Tefillin (Askhenazic: ; Israeli Hebrew: , ) also called phylacteries ( from Ancient Greek phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning "to guard, protect") are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Although "tefillin" is technically the plural form (the singular being "tefillah"), it is loosely used as a singular as well. The hand-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a "sign" and "remembrance" that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.
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1. (Judaism) either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin); traditionally worn (on the forehead and the left arm) by Jewish men during morning prayer
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nm. tefillin, phylacteries, small leather cases holding Biblical passages that are worn on the head and arm of Jews during morning prayers
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[Judaic] Two leather boxes with straps containing Biblical verses, which are bound to the brow and left bicep during morning and afternoon prayers. They are meant to be worn as an "ot," a sign or reminder of God's covenant with Israel. The fact that some early post-Biblical literature call Tefillin kamiaot "amulets," points to the idea that many perceived them as objects of power. Tefillin is the one religious article most mentioned in rituals for mystical ascent and for summoning angels. Safed mystics thought that the wearing of tefillin was a pre-requisite for being possessed by an ibbur, a beneficent spirit. Beyond the general potential for tefillin to serve as amulets and talismans, tales of miraculous sets of tefillin also appear in Jewish literature. These items gain their wondrous power either because they were previously owned by a righteous person, or because they have supernal origins, like being a gift from Elijah. During a time of persecution, one rabbi wore his tefillin ...
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