Project Genesis

Mitzvos (Commandments)

Teffilin and Mezuzos

Health, Prayer, and Teffilin

What can bring good luck and health? What should one do when facing health issues? Can wearing tefilin for someone who hasn’t worn tefelin in many years make a difference in health and or good luck?

It is always essential to pray for someone who is ill (and for the ill person to pray for themselves). This can be in any language and at any time, but it is a particularly good thing to pray with a minyan in a Synagogue. When the congregation says the silent prayer one can add in any personal prayers or requests for themselves or others.

There are no guaranteed cures for illness in the Torah; for medical advice one must visit a doctor. But the verse states (Exodus 15; 26), “If you observe the voice of the L-rd your G-d, and do what is just in His eyes, pay attention to the commandments and observe the statutes, then any of the diseases that I placed on Egypt, I will not bring upon you, for I am G-d your Healer.” This means that although we do not believe in lucky charms or magic, keeping the commandments is a way of connecting ourselves with G-d and with our spiritual potential and may help our prayers to be answered.

One of the most important Mitzvot for a man is to put on tefillin every day. The Talmud in Rosh Hashanah talks about the importance of this particular mitzvah. I would certainly encourage you to obtain some kosher tefillin and put them on. (Tefillin should be checked every few years by a competent authority to make sure they are still kosher � if they are not kosher then putting them on does not fulfil the Mitzvah). However, the reason we perform Mitzvot is because that is how we can best fulfil our potential and connect with G-d. Adding to our “mitzvah tally” will certainly help our prayers to be answered. But Jews do not believe in simple “remedies” through Mitzvot.

Try to put on tefillin (or any other mitzvah) to get closer to G-d, and then hopefully He will answer your prayers in the way that you want.

I wish you many years of good health and blessing, and the strength to
perform Mitzvot.


Rabbi David Sedley

1 Follow-up »

  1. You mention the Mitzva of putting on the Tefillin each day. I have been wondering about this. Should one do this even if not part of a minyan? I am not always able to get to Shul every morning because of my job, but I am trying to be a more observant Jew. What can I do? Which prayers should I be saying if I am alone in my house. Is it appropriate to put the Tefillin on when saying the prayers if alone? If so, when is the right time of day (or is there one)? Can you give some suggestions on what would be a morning “ritual” if I cannot get to minyan?


    The Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin is one of the most important mitzvot; the Talmud in Rosh Hashana seems to consider the reward for this mitzvah to be greater than almost all the other mitzvot. Tefillin is not dependent on going to Shul or even to praying. If you are able to just put on tefillin in the morning before going to work it would be a big step in your journey to living a more observant lifestyle. (If you are unable to put them on in the morning you can put them on any time during the day, but not at night). If you have a few minutes in the morning I would suggest saying the Shema while your tefillin are on, and if you have some more time try and go through as much of the Amida as you can. If you have an Artscroll siddur, there is a list in the back of the priority of prayers for those who come late to Shul. You could use that list as a guide for what prayers to add in to your schedule as you get more fluent and quicker in your morning ritual. Of course any time that you are able to get to Shul and daven with a minyan that is even better. But don’t let missing Shul stop you from putting on tefillin and saying some prayers.
    I wish you luck in your journey, and please feel free to ask any more questions as they come along.

    Rabbi David Sedley

    Comment by ATR — June 16, 2006 @ 3:59 am

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