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Why Tefillin? 50 Years of Mivtza Tefillin
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50 YEARS MIVTZA TEFILLIN- - - ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD WILL SEE THAT THE NAME OF HASHEM IS CALLED UPON YOU & THEY WILL BE IN AWE OF YOU

Fifty years ago, 5727 (1967) several days before the Six- Day-War , the Rebbe initiated “ mivtza Tefillin ” (the Tefillin campaign) – encouraging Jews world-wide to put on Tefillin , thereby helping our brethren in Eretz Yisrael . Tefillin has a special effect that it brings fear upon the enemies of the Jews, as the vers e states “all the nations of the world will see that the name of Hashem is called upon you and they will be in awe of you” (Tavo 28:10) – our Sages explain that these are the Tefillin (worn) on the head.

Tefillin also have the reward of bringing long life as the Talmud says (Menachos 44a) that whoever puts on Tefillin lives long. Both of these blessings we re imperative and timely for the situation then in Eretz Yisrael .

After that initial directive the Rebbe constantly encouraged and requested that this mivtza be continued and expanded to ever growing numbers of our Jewish brethren. There were those who asYears of Mivtza Tefillinked various questions regarding the Tefillin -campaign, and the Rebbe responded to all the questions with many elaborate explanations of the special significance which Tefillin have.

The following is from one of the Rebbe’s talks – during the 2nd farbrengen of Shabbos Bereishis 5728

Question: Why was the mitzva of Tefillin chosen from amongst all the 613 mitzvos? Answer: When the inspiration and awakening for this mitzva was initiated, I clearly emphasized that the reason why specifically Tefillin is because the sages tell us (Berachos 6a) that the verse “all the nations of the world will see that the name of Hashem is called upon you and they will be in awe of you” (Tavo 28:10) – these are the Tefillin (worn) on the head.

The need of the hour at that time was that the nations of the world should be overcome with fear – they should fear the Jewish people not to harm them, G-d forbid. When a Jew wears Tefillin that inspires fear. That was why I chose the mitzva of Tefillin , and I emphasized the reason. [This will be explain ed more elaborately in a future issue IYH].

In addition: the time of the [6 Day] war, (which was when the Tefillin -campaign was initiated) was but a few days before Zman Mattan Toroseinu [the time of the giving of our Torah] (the festival of Shavuos).

Being that every year all events are repeated and re- enacted similar to what happened the original time, it is therefore understood, that also this year, in the immediate days before zman mattan Toroseinu – one must be awakened and inspired especially regarding the study of Torah. About the mitzva of Tefillin the Sages tell us (Medrash Tehilim in the beginning) ''the Jewish people said before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Master of the world, we want to labor in the study of Torah day and night, but we don't have the time,' ''The Holy One, blessed be He, replied: 'Fulfill the mitzvah of Tefillin, and I will consider it as if you had labored in Torah study during the day and at night.' " [The fact that our Sages state that wearing Tefillin can compensate for the inability to study Torah, demonstrates that there is a relationship between the two mitzvos]. It is thus obvious that the mitzvah of Tefillin is very fitting for the yom-tov of Shavuos .

(To be continued IYH) 

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