Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. Judaism The phylacteries.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Plural form of tefilla.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Judaism) either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin); traditionally worn (on the forehead and the left arm) by Jewish men during morning prayer

Etymologies

Hebrew təpillîn, pl. of təpillâ, prayer, from Hebrew hitpallēl, to pray; see pll in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The wearing of the tefillin is obligatory on all males over thirteen years of age (the age of confirmation).

    The Promised Land

  • The secular Zionists who wouldn’t know tefillin from a Mezuzah?

    Matthew Yglesias » Avigdor Lieberman Boosted By Pro-Pork Backlash

  • The case refers to tefillin, which is a time-bound commandment because tefillin according to most rabbinic sages are not worn at night, on the Sabbath or festivals and women are exempt because of the law concerning Talmud Torah which is obligatory for men on the basis of Deuteronomy 11: 19, “Teach them to beneikhem …” where beneikhem is understood to include “your sons” and exclude “your daughters” (JT Berakhot 3: 3, 4c).

    Legal-Religious Status of the Jewish Female.

  • Correction: Praying Passengers In a story March 13 about a flight crew that became alarmed at the behavior of three men conducting an elaborate orthodox Jewish prayer ritual, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that airline officials learned from law enforcement that the men were performing the ritual known as tefillin.

    The Seattle Times

  • Egan said airline officials later learned from law enforcement the men were performing the ritual known as tefillin.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Rubashkin wears the bands and boxes, called tefillin, and prays and recites psalms aloud for up to 90 minutes in the morning and for about half an hour in the afternoon and evening.

    Vos Iz Neias - (Yiddish:What's News?)

  • It said the incident on Sunday occurred when the man began carrying out a Jewish ritual where small leather boxes called tefillin, containing religious verses, are strapped to the arm and forehead.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Because it contains the words of God, the tefillin is the second most holy object in the Jewish faith, after the Torah.

    Kansan.com stories

  • The flight crew became concerned when the teen began a prayer ritual in which a set of boxes, called tefillin, are strapped to the head and arm before praying.

    Breaking News - The Post Chronicle

  • According to Reuters, another passenger mistook the phylactery, also called a tefillin in Hebrew, for a bomb.

    Yahoo! Buzz US: Top Stories

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  • A Flight Is Diverted by a Prayer Seen as Ominous (New York Times, January 21, 2010)

    The plane, a 50-seat regional aircraft that was less than a third full when it took off from La Guardia Airport, had been climbing through the early-morning sky for about 25 minutes. A 17-year-old passenger in a whitish sweater took out something he had carried onboard, and strapped it onto his wrist and his head.

    To some people in New York, that is a relatively common sight: an observant Jew beginning the ritual of morning prayer. But to at least one person on US Airways Express Flight 3079 on Thursday — the flight attendant — it looked ominous, as if the young man were wrapping himself in cables or wires.

    January 25, 2010