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Re Tefillin - Department of Etymology



One more small thing, and then maybe we've worn this thread too thin... I
just remembered that the Greek word for tefillin is "phylacteries" - and I
don't know what *that* means, other than the things themselves, either.

But "tefillah" is "prayer" in Hebrew - obviously the same root, and that
led me to check my Torah commentary.  According Gunther Plaut, editor of
one of the common editions, the word "tefillin" was used to translate
"totafot" from Hebrew into the Aramaic of the Targum (post-Exile). Plaut
says that "totafot"  are probably symbols on the forehead, maybe derived
from women's jewelry (probably worn over the forehead ... hmmm! ... is
there a connection to the 3rd eye somewhere here????? Forehead jewelry is
found in India as well as the Middle East...) In Exodus 13:9 it's called
"zichron," literally a "reminder" between your eyes, but in Exodus 13: 16
and in Deuteronomy it's "totafot."

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