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A Shattering Reunion

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A Shattering Reunion

Tefillin (phylacteries) are worn daily by every Jewish male over the age of thirteen, except on Shabbat and the festivals. Because of the many festivals it contains, the month of Tishrei also has the least number of days on which tefillin are worn. Indeed, there is a nine or ten-day stretch in Tishrei (Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah, followed, in certain years, by Shabbat) on which the mitzvah of tefillin cannot be observed—the longest such stretch in the Jewish calendar.

It is told of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev that one year, after such a tefillin-less spell, he stayed up all night in anticipation of the moment that he could once again observe this mitzvah. At the crack of dawn, he rushed to his tefillin, kissed them, and, making the blessing, fitted them on his arm and head. Only later did he notice the blood running from his hands, which he had pushed straight through the glass doors of the cabinet in which he kept his tefillin

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