Phylacteries or tefillin (Hebrew: תפלין‎) are two boxes containing Biblical verses and the leather straps attached to them which are used in traditional Jewish prayer. This practice is derived from commands found in the Biblical books of Exodus and Deuteronomy (Ex 13:9, Ex 13:16, Deut 6:8, Deut 11:18). These are found both in Christian scripture and in limited segments of Christian practice.

In Christian scripture

In the New Testament, Matthew 23:5 records Jesus saying:

"But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments."

It is commonly held by scholars that Jesus was an observant Jew who wore tefillin.[1][2] The common interpretation of Jesus' statement has been that one should not do the commands of God with the motivation to be seen as more righteous and more zealous by others, which displays a prideful heart.[3][4]

In practice

While much of traditional Christianity has not considered Torah commands such as tefillin applicable to Christians (see Christian view of the Torah), there are some Torah-submissive Christians who agree with the rabbinic interpretations from which tefillin are derived and therefore wear tefillin out of obedience to Torah and imitation of Jesus., Torah-submissive Christians generally do not feel bound to Jewish oral law, so the construction and use of tefillin may not match that of Orthodox Judaism. However, because of practicality and convenience, traditionally Jewish tefillin are also used.

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