Monday, June 11, 2007

The straps on my tefillin shel yad broke

the other day. My retzuot are somewhat old and worn, and I bent my middle finger. Snap!

I ended up going to Safra's, which is local to Kew Gardens Hills, and they repaired it for me same-day. When I got there at around 7:30 they told me it hadn't been done yet, but they sent it to expert in the back who handled it. Decent price, as well. $25 for regular, $35 for "asiyas yad." The difference between them? $10. Also, the fellow tying it says "leshem mitzvas tefillin" while tying it.

This got me thinking about retzuot, and I came up with the following somewhat homiletic thought: The retzuot, the straps, are like the reins on a horse, harnessing and directing man's energy -- in this case, his heart and mind -- towards worship of his Creator.

Interestingly, looking on morfix, the entry for "reins" was

מוֹשְׁכָה, מוֹסֵרָה; מוֹסְרוֹת הַשִּׁלְטוֹן, רֶסֶן הַשִּׁלְטוֹן

meanwhile, the entry for "reigns" was

I would imagine that resen hashilton, "the reins of rulership," gets the shilton component from the homonym. The two words do not seem to be etymologically related. To cite, which cites American Heritage Dictionary, "reign" comes from
[Middle English reigne, from Old French, from Latin rēgnum, from rēx, rēg-, king.]
while "rein" has a different etymology:

[Middle English, from Old French resne, reine, from Vulgar Latin *retina, from Latin retinēre, to retain. See retain.]

While waiting at Safra's, I saw a fancy piece of Judaica with the text for hafrashat challah. But in the word hafrashat, in the title and in the body of the text, there was a dagesh in the shin following the kametz. Not that it matters, of course, but if you are already buying a fancy piece of Judaica, it might as well be without glaring errors.

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