Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tefillin To The Rescue!

This article from a few days ago in the Jerusalem Post discusses an annoying outreach ploy -- sending text messages to Israeli members of Knesset (parliament) and their staffers, reminding them to put on tefillin (phylacteries -- this word is by no means a helpful translation. What the fuck is a phylactery?) and hasten the redemption. The group calls itself "Light For Tefillin." I personally get a kick out of people who think that the world's ills can be cured in one fell swoop -- whether the remedy is "moshiach" or "rapture" or "colonizing Mars." And I'm always amused when certain rituals are designated as magical. For example, I learned as a child that if all Jews observed one more Sabbath together then moshiach would surely come. But at least Sabbath is an egalitarian ritual -- both men and women can hasten redemption by keeping it. But tefillin? Since the group that is sending out the crazy messages is Orthodox and doesn't think women should use tefillin lest we get our menstrual cooties all over them, does this mean that only men -- the "proper" users of phylacteries -- will be the only ones redeemed? That would decimate the Upper West Side dating scene.

Anyway these texts are far more annoying than the ones you get about reducing your credit card debt. Why? Because they arrive at 7 a.m. At least the loan sharks have the decency to wait until midday after your first three cups of coffee kick in. (Aside: does anyone seriously respond to those debt messages? I think that if you take your credit advice from a text message then you deserve whatever identity theft that comes your way.)

Anyway, one Knesset aide, Lior Finkel decided to fight back. After politely trying to get herself removed from the text list, she actually followed the message's instructions -- she put on tefillin and then photographed herself in it and sent it back to the Light proselytes. She has not been disturbed since. Outreach thwarted! Huzzah! Let us all put on tefillin and take photos of ourselves.


Ayelet said...

She is my new hero! The girl's got klass.

Dvora Meyers said...

I agree. I want to do what she did -- put on tefillin and take a gazillion photos. A tefillin slideshow!