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Parashat Bo

Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Avraham Moeinzadeh

The mitzva of tefillin is mentioned in four places throughout the entire Torah, two of which are written in our parasha, Parashat Bo. This week’s parasha commands us to write all four parts where the mitzva of tefillin is being discussed and tie them on the weaker hand and on the head because Hashem took us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.Finding a connection between the way the mitzvah is performed and the reason behind it seems quite difficult since tefillin is meant to remind us of the strong hand. Then why we are commanded to place them on our weaker hand?Furthermore, what is the connection between tefillin on the head and the strong hand of Hashem?

Harav Moshe Feinstein writes that the “strong hand” is a symbol of doing things with passion. In the process of yetziat mitzrayim, Hashem went above and beyond what was necessary for the redemption, not just to fulfill his promise to Avraham Avinu but because of his love for Bnei Yisrael. As a response to this, it is expected from us to fulfill the mitzvot with passion and enthusiasm. This, however, is a level that is not achieved unless a person makes his mind tuned for it. The importance of keeping the Torah and mitzvot should be so clear to the person that he should be able to put all his other worries aside and be totally focused on performing the mitzva with his full heart. The prerequisite for having a mitzva loving mind is doing as many mitzvot as one is able to do even though he is not able to put all his strength in it. That is why we first have to place the tefillin on the hand and only then do we put the tefillin on our head.


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