Tuesday, 03 January 2012

Becoming a Different Person

by Dovek Bashem (See all authors)

I just want to share a thought about wearing tefillin. It is known that tefillin is, in a sense, a commitment that we make to HaKadosh Baruch Hu both with our intellect (shel rosh) and our actions (shel yad).

R' Yosef Ber Soloveitchik famously asks why we say "baruch shem kvod" after making the bracha on the shel rosh. It cannot possibly be simply because we are choshesh for bracha l-vatala (as the Mishna Berurah explains). This is because we have a din of safek brachos l'hakel and if we really thought there was a possibility that we shouldn't make the bracha of "al mitzvas tefillin" then we simply wouldn't make it! R Yosef Ber answers in a really deep way.

He says that wearing tefillin, the shel yad and shel rosh together, transforms each one of us into a different human being - someone who is wearing the crown of torah on his head with the words of HaKadosh Baruch Hu by his heart. It is our knee-jerk reaction, immediately upon this complete transformation, to proudly proclaim "Baruch Shem K-vod Malchuso L-olam Va-ed."

The vort is, that our goal here on GYE is not just to restrain ourselves from dirty thoughts or to hold ourselves back from improper action - it's to be an entirely different person. It's to be a cheftza shel kedusha that really has divrei Hashem on our hearts and in our minds. Every morning when we put on tefillin we should realize that that moment proves that each of us has the potential to undergo that transformation and to truly become walking sifrei torah. We should all be zoche, whenever the transformation comes, to proudly sing the words "Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L-Olam Va-ed."