14 Av 5780 / Tuesday, August 04, 2020 | Torah Reading: Eikev
 
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HomeTorah PortionStories from the Baal Shem TovEikev: The Magical Power of Tefillin
 
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Eikev: The Magical Power of Tefillin    

Eikev: The Magical Power of Tefillin



"It says in the Tikune Zohar (book of Kabbalah): The commandment of Matronita (the Schechina) places a man under her wings and protects him from the hand of the Accuser...

 



Parshat Eikev
 
 
"It says in the Tikune Zohar (book of Kabbalah): The commandment of Matronita (the Schechina) places a man under her wings and protects him from the hand of the Accuser. So it is with the commandment of wearing Tefillin."
 
 
"Bind [these words] as a sign on your hand, and let them be an emblem in the center of your head." (Devarim 6:8)
 
* * *
 
Once, the Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov was studying Torah in the Bais Medrash (study hall) with his close disciples. Suddenly, he became so sick that he was unable to speak.
 
The disciples became very alarmed. "Rebbe, Rebbe," they asked, "What's wrong? Can we get you something?" The Baal Shem Tov motioned to his Tefillin bag. Quickly, the students took out his Tefiilin and wrapped one around his arm and put the other on his head.
 
By this time, the Baal Shem Tov was so weak that he just lay down on a bench. He closed his eyes and didn't move. The disciples sat by his side unsure of what to do. After a long time passed, the Baal Shem Tov sat up and began speaking to the disciples. "Thank God, I'm feeling better."
 
The disciples asked in a concerned voice, "Rebbe, what happened? The Baal Shem Tov explained, "In my youth, I committed a sin. An accusation was made against me before the Heavenly Court and the Court decided that I deserve to die. At first, I wasn't aware of what was happening to me. All I knew was that I started to feel very, very weak. Just then, my teacher, Achiya HaShaloni (a spiritual Being and teacher of Dovid Hamelech (King David), came and told me the situation.
 
Then he told me, 'Reb Israel, quickly put on your Tefillin'." After you put my Tefillin on," continued the Baal Shem Tov to the disciples, "the Accuser (the Satan) came in the form of a Russian peasant carrying an iron shovel in his hand. He wanted to chop off my head. But because of the power of the Tefillin, the Satan could not get close to me. He started yelling, "Take off that leather (the Tefillin are made of leather)!" But I didn't pay any attention to him and he continued yelling until, thank God, the accusation was nullified."
 
The Baal Shem Tov continued, "During that time, my brother-in-law, Rabbi Gershon came to testify for me. But the gates to the Heavenly court were closed and he couldn’t get through. But that didn't stop Reb Gershon. He took a heavy wooden pole and started banging on the Gates until they were finally opened. Then, he ran in and started yelling before the Court in an angry voice, 'Will you sentence Rabbi Israel to death, God forbid, for a trivial thing that happened in his youth?'
 
The court wasn't able to overcome the defense of Reb Gershon and revoked their original sentence."
 
The Baal Shem Tov continued, "It says in the Tikune Zohar (book of Kabbalah): The commandment of Matronita (the Schechina, the female aspect of God) places a man under her wings and protects him from the hand of the Accuser. So it is with the commandment of wearing Tefillin."
 
And so it was. 
 
***
Tzvi Meir Cohn attended Yeshiva Hadar Hatorah in Crown Heights, Brooklyn after completing his university studies in Engineering and Law. While studying at the Yeshiva, he discovered a deep connection to the stories and teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. His many books about the Baal Shem Tov can be found in the Breslev Store. He can be contacted at howard@cohnpatents.com.

 





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