by Ruth Horowitz

Bound for Glory: Females in Phylacteries

How an otherwise non-religious woman finds herself transformed by tefillin 

Every morning, as soon as I have the house to myself, I go back into my bedroom, clip a small, suede kippah to my hair, and drape a wool tallis over my shoulders. Then I roll up my left sleeve and position a little black box against my biceps. Inside the box is a bit of parchment with four passages from the Torah commanding me to bind the words they contain to my arm. Whispering a blessing, I take the strap that holds the box and spiral it down my arm exactly seven times. A second box goes on the front of my head, each prescribed gesture accompanied by its own prescribed blessing. Then I wrap the strap from my hand three times around my middle finger, reciting with each turn a line from the prophet Hosea; ” I betroth you to Me forever: I betroth you to Me in righteousness, justice, kindness and compassion; I betroth you to Me in faithfulness: and you shall know God.” When all this has been done, I’m ready to begin my morning prayers.

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Prayer

The articles in this special section:

Bound for Glory: Females in Phylacteries

by Ruth Horowitz

How an otherwise non-religious woman finds herself transformed by tefillin 

A Quiet Ritual for Burying the Baby’s Placenta

by Catherine Grossman

When the time feels just right, Grossman goes modestly out into the chill evening air and says a prayer to honor the tissues which sustained her baby daughter in the womb.

Nursing in Shul

by Aurora Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn gives us traditional Jewish texts we’ve never really considered before, all about breasts and their natural uses. Plus…Rabbi Susan Schnur in conversation with Susan Weidman Schneider on God-the-Breast and more.