Pekudei: Chapter 37

The hair in the Tefilin


Rabbi Shimon tells us that God gave the Other Side power to rule over the world in several areas. We should be careful to avoid the Other Side's judgment, and there are some secret means of doing this. In the Tfilin we enclose a small calf's hair, with a little bit of it poking out so that the Other Side can see it and leave us alone, seeing that we have given the Other Side its due. If the Other Side is not given its due, it may inflict harm and judgment on us. Yisrael knew this secret, so that when they were purifying themselves during Yom Kippur they gave the Other Side its share. Rabbi Aba is crying because he does not understand this explanation, and Rabbi Shimon comforts him, saying that on the day of Rosh Hashanah God sits in judgment over the world, while the Other Side watches carefully. But the Other Side gets distracted by the sound of the Shofar that awakens mercy, and then it forgets who has been condemned to death. People should protect themselves from the prosecutor's attention by sacrificing a he-goat once a month when the moon is new. He concludes by saying that Yisrael is blessed by the fact that God tells them how to be saved.