What are Tephillin?

The Hebrew people were instructed in Deuteronomy 11:18 this command “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Since there were no instructions as how to bind His Words, the ancient people created a small box with straps that the wearer would wrap around his arm 7 times, then around the hand near his thumb, the middle finger and ring finger to create a shin, the letter of the alphabet that stands for El Shaddai (God Almighty). Inside of the small box was a parchment with 4 scriptures from the Torah. Another tefillin was bound around the forehead which also contained 4 separate compartments for the same 4 scriptures which are Exodus 13:1-10, Exodus 13:11-16, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. These tefillin (also called phylacteries) are still worn by observant Jews today.

Jewish men who have gone through their bar-mitzvah wrap tefillin before their morning prayers each day except for on the holidays: Saturdays (Shabbat), both days of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, the first and last two days of Sukkot, the first and last two days of Passover and both days of Shavuot. The reason the tephillin is not wrapped on those special days is because observing those special days is a sign of covenant just as the wrapping of the tephillin on an ordinary day is also a sign of the covenant. So to show two signs are not necessary.

The tefillin were used as visual reminders to put God’s WORD in their hearts and mind, not to engage in idle talk or unclean thoughts and to keep their sight on The Lord. It was worn as a symbol of covenant. Just as a wedding ring symbolized a bond between a man and a woman, the tefillin was a symbol of betrothal to God, a bond of love.

What can we learn from this Torah command? As Believers in Yeshua, our lives should manifest the fruit of the Spirit as we meditate on God’s WORD. We must allow the Holy Spirit to write His laws on our HEARTS so that we walk in obedience to His Word. Our lives should be transformed as God renews our MINDS. As He cleanses our thoughts, our ways become His ways. Keeping our sight and our thoughts on His WORD is the epitome of the spiritual tefillin that we must apply to our lives every day.

The 4 scriptures inside:

Ex. 13:1 The LORD said to Moses,

2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”

3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.

4 Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out.

5 And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month.

6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.

7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory.

8 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’

9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.

10 You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.


Ex. 13:11 “When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you,

12 you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s.

13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.

14 And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *