tefillin

Definitions

  • "phylacteries"

  • small black boxes containing sections of the Shema attached to leather straps and worn around the head and arm during prayer

Example Sentences

  • "I put on tefillin every morning."

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew

Etymology

  • תפילין

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education

      Regions

      • North America

      Dictionaries

      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      tfillin, tefilin, tefilan, t'filin, tfilin, t'fillin

Notes

  • In non-egalitarian communities, only men put on tefillin, while in egalitarian communities many women do as well. One puts on tefillin every morning, except for on Shabbat and yom tov (some Jews don tefillin on chol hamoed, but some don't). The Greek-origin word "phylacteries" is sometimes used as a translation for "tefillin," but few people know that word and not "tefillin."

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