by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple
The name is probably from t'fillah, “prayer”.
The name is probably from t'fillah, “prayer,” and denotes prayer-accompaniments. Others link it with tafel, dependent, suggesting prayer-hangings. The English term “phylacteries” is from a Greek word that means a guard or protection.
Some historians thought that t'fillin were an answer to the problem that ancient clothing had no pockets; people carried their treasures in little bags or boxes fastened to the arm or suspended from the neck or head. Since religious believers took scriptural verses seriously, these pockets containing Biblical passages, according to this view, accompanied a person wherever he went.
By contrast, there was also an ancient idea that the law of t'fillin was not meant to be taken literally, but was a poetic way of emphasising that a person had to be constantly aware of God's will. The allegorical theory was repudiated by Ibn Ezra and others, who insisted that the four references to t'fillin in the Torah (Exodus 13:1-10 and 11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21) meant what they said and t'fillin were not a mere symbol.
By the time of the Mishnah, t'fillin were well established. Shammai treasured his grandfather's t'fillin; the sages …
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by Ezra HaLevi
(IsraelNN.com) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on the world to come to terms with the demise of the “filthy” Jewish state.
Ahmadinejad made his latest statements in a speech given in the southern Iranian town of Bushehr, where Iran’s first light-water nuclear reactor is being built by Russia. The speech was broadcast live on Iran’s state-run television. He addressed world nations, advising them to “abandon the filthy Zionist entity which has reached the end of the line.”
Seeming to search for various synonyms to remove doubt sown by apologists that question the translation of his call to erase Israel “off the map,” the Persian leader said: “[Israel] has lost its reason to exist and will sooner or later fall. The ones who still support the criminal Zionists should know that the occupiers' days are numbered…Accept that the life of the Zionists will sooner or later come to an end.”
Ahmadinejad said that the “final chapter” has begun in which the Arabs of Israel, together with “regional nations” will confront Israel and bring about “Palestine.”
In the same speech, Ahmadinejad declared that nothing will stop his nation from pursuing nuclear capabilities. “[Iranians] will not back down one …
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By Amos Harel and Mijal Grinberg
Hamas' armed wing claimed responsibility for a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed a woman in Dimona on Monday, the first such attack inside Israel claimed by Hamas since 2004, a Hamas source told Reuters.
Both the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Bridgade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack earlier in the day.
Palestinians had reported that the militants, who they said were from Gaza, entered Israel through Egypt, but the Hamas source said the two Palestinians who died during the attack came from the West Bank city of Hebron. Israel Police were still investigating.
The last time Hamas' armed wing claimed responsibility for suicide bombings inside Israel was August 2004, when 16 people were killed and 100 wounded in explosions on two buses in the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva.
The suicide bomber blew himself up in the southern town of Dimona at around 10:30 A.M. Monday, killing a woman from the town and wounding 11 others, in the first terror attack of its kind in over a year
Negev Police Chief Yossi Porianta said that there had been two suicide bombers, but only one managed to detonate …
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By Yoav Stern, Avi Issacharoff and Barak Ravid,
Hamas has given Israel a letter apparently written by abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, Haaretz has learned.
Some sources told Haaretz that Israel received a letter last month written in Shalit's handwriting. Other sources said that Hamas gave Israel a message of a different kind from the abducted soldier.
The authenticity of the letter has been examined and sent to the Shalit family.
Sources involved in the negotiations say that the transfer of the letter to the family shows Israel's urgency to advance negotiations over the deal.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided Sunday to relax the criteria for releasing Palestinian prisoners as part of a swap for Shalit, but insisted that Hamas would also have to be more flexible for a deal to be finalized.
Olmert told a meeting of senior ministers and defense officials that he was “determined” to conclude the deal, but “I do not intend to agree to whatever price Hamas asks.”
The meeting was called to resolve a dispute within the defense establishment over the deal. Ofer Dekel, who Olmert appointed to conduct the negotiations over Shalit, argues that Israel should ease its criteria regarding which …
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The Israel Airports Authority has decided to create a new position to monitor air safety problems at Ben Gurion International Airport following a spate of recent near-crashes there.
The position – head of the supervision and control department – will be at the level of deputy director general in the IAI's operational division. The decision is in keeping with a recent report on air safety in Israel.
On Friday, a Turkish airlines jet almost collided with an Israir plane carrying four pilots on a training mission near the airport. The two aircrafts missed each other by 1,500 meters – a distance an aviation expert called “a dangerously close margin” – after an air traffic controller authorized both planes to descend on the main runway at the same time.
That incident came the same week that Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz announced a new plan to train air traffic controllers and adopted the findings of a report that found serious oversights in flight control in Israel.
In addition to recommending that the IAI appoint a chief air traffic controller, the Lapidot report also recommended reorganizing the training program for air traffic controllers and mandating that the program include flight simulator …
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An American missile ship set to dock at Haifa Port on Monday is equipped with an anti-missile defense system that could be deployed in the region in the event of an Iranian missile attack against Israel.
The USS San Jacinto is an AEGIS cruiser in the Ticonderoga Class and was commissioned in 1988. It carries the most advanced underwater surveillance system available today and is equipped with the AEGIS missile defense system, which was developed by Lockheed Martin to protect against aircraft and missiles. The ship will remain in Haifa for three days.
While the IDF developed and operates the Arrow missile defense system, defense officials said Israel has expressed interest in the AEGIS and that last year, the Defense Ministry requested information on the system from the Pentagon. During the first Gulf War in 1991, the US deployed Patriot missile batteries in Israel to defend the country against Iraqi Scud missiles.
“It is possible that one day, if we are under attack, the US will send these ships to the region to help defend us,” a defense official said. “Until then, it is important that we get to know the system, its capabilities and its interoperability with …
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