Why do Jews wear little pillboxes on their foreheads?

#1
Recently, two of my brothers (who are manufacturing jewellers) asked me to attend a Trade Fair in Basel (Switzerland) to provide linguistic assistance.
I noticed upon my arrival every morning that many of the Jewish contributors engaged in prayer against a wall equipped with a sort of little box on their upper foreheads.

It's not as if I'm going to lose sleep over the subject, but I'd still dearly like to know what the little pillbox signifies, since I've seen it in any number of newsreel films of Jews praying at the "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem and in other places.

My apologies in advance if this query offends any Jews in the British Army or wherever, or if I've overstepped the mark in any way.

MsG
 
#3
No doubt someone knows this with more detail, but from memory, the small box holds a piece of text (I think from the Torah) which keeps the faith at the forefront of the wearer's mind no matter what else they're doing.
 
#4
Jews also have a scroll of text in an ornate box attached to the frame of the front door for similar purposes.
 
#5
The box is called a tefilin, as said, it contains passages from the scriptures.

Two are worn, during prayer, one on their left arm, as it's closest to the heart, to remind them to keep the Law with all their whole heart, the other on the forehead to remind them to keep to the teachings of the Torah with their whole mind.

Beebs

dutch_paddy said:
Jews also have a scroll of text in an ornate box attached to the frame of the front door for similar purposes.
A mezuzah.
 
#7
Sad when some one can't ask a simple question without worrying about who they are going offend.

Good point well presented, I've learnt something new and nobody is wailing about it or proffering 10 pages of cut and paste explaining why they have a right to be offended by it

Big sigh shakes head
 
#8
DozyBint said:
No doubt someone knows this with more detail, but from memory, the small box holds a piece of text (I think from the Torah) which keeps the faith at the forefront of the wearer's mind no matter what else they're doing.
Worn for morning prayer only. One is also worn on the arm (photo elsewhere on this site with armour soldier praying would be a good example of this).
 
#9
Arik said:
DozyBint said:
No doubt someone knows this with more detail, but from memory, the small box holds a piece of text (I think from the Torah) which keeps the faith at the forefront of the wearer's mind no matter what else they're doing.
Worn for morning prayer only. One is also worn on the arm (photo elsewhere on this site with armour soldier praying would be a good example of this).
As I said, from memory! I last took an RE lesson 16 years ago...
 
#10
thegimp said:
Sad when some one can't ask a simple question without worrying about who they are going offend.

Good point well presented, I've learnt something new and nobody is wailing about it or proffering 10 pages of cut and paste explaining why they have a right to be offended by it

Big sigh shakes head
You've got it down to a tee, gimpy! It's why I've held off asking the question for ages!
Let's hope more people will be encouraged by this, and not think they're some sort of alien, just because of their thoughts!

MsG
 
#11
I was told that the IDF have two styles of helmet, one with and one without.

But has anyone answered the earlier question about the big cloth helmet covers in some pictures?
 
#12
Everyone prays to their own God, it is the mark of a truely well rounded individual who can accept anothers belief without going mental, trust me I know 17 years in NI shows the intolerance of anothers belief. If you prick us do we not bleed?
 
#13
dutch_paddy said:
Everyone prays to their own God, it is the mark of a truely well rounded individual who can accept anothers belief without going mental, trust me I know 17 years in NI shows the intolerance of anothers belief. If you prick us do we not bleed?
Easy boy, easy! Tis all in the mind, so I've heard! :D :D :D

MsG
 
#14
Bugsy7 said:
thegimp said:
Sad when some one can't ask a simple question without worrying about who they are going offend.

Good point well presented, I've learnt something new and nobody is wailing about it or proffering 10 pages of cut and paste explaining why they have a right to be offended by it

Big sigh shakes head
You've got it down to a tee, gimpy! It's why I've held off asking the question for ages!
Let's hope more people will be encouraged by this, and not think they're some sort of alien, just because of their thoughts!

MsG
Think you're being a tad paranoid here, gents!

Genuine inquiry re aspects of religious practice, customs etc are not a problem at all. In fact, most people are pleased when others sincerely want to know about such things, and - in general - are only too happy to explain them.
 
#16
Bugsy7 said:
Recently, two of my brothers (who are manufacturing jewellers) asked me to attend a Trade Fair in Basel (Switzerland) to provide linguistic assistance.
I noticed upon my arrival every morning that many of the Jewish contributors engaged in prayer against a wall equipped with a sort of little box on their upper foreheads.

It's not as if I'm going to lose sleep over the subject, but I'd still dearly like to know what the little pillbox signifies, since I've seen it in any number of newsreel films of Jews praying at the "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem and in other places.

My apologies in advance if this query offends any Jews in the British Army or wherever, or if I've overstepped the mark in any way.

MsG
It is a fair question Bugsy7 and you have every right to ask it, furthermore it is a mark of a decent and respectful society that people should not only have a right to ask questions about religious practices, but also legitimately have dislikes and likes about religion and be able legitimately to subject religion to humour and criticism. If a religion has a decency and a rational and a coherent basis as I would argue eg Judaism has, people can argue about it and criticise it and it will not damage the religion but what will damage Judaism and argueably more importantly the safety of British Jews is if religion is placed off limits to criticism, argument and humour in that in such a climate whilst Judaism as such will carry on pretty much as it has, those in other religions will take advantage of such a climate where religion is beyond criticism, to secure a safe-zone of action for themselves, where they can work to destroy the British state without any interference to their machinations

Saludos Amigos and in the words of Dave Allen, may your god go with you!

Zapata
 
#18
I remember a Jewish lad in basic training who made a joke about going into the room when we had to test our respirators with CS. Sounded okay coming from a Jew but would have been in extremely bad taste if anyone else had done it.
 
#19
on a similer note the stringy bits hanging from the trousers of orthodox jews are to represnt the 4 corners of the world. The long curly side burns as worn by hassidic jews are worn cos somewhere in the bible it mentions something about not making the hair of the head square (cue squarehead jokes )
 
#20
stringy bits = tzitzit

The Torah states in Numbers 15:38: "Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and they shall affix a thread of blue (Hebrew: תכלת - tekhelet) on the fringe of each corner." Tzitzit are also commanded in Deuteronomy 22:12, which says: "You shall make yourself twisted threads, on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself."

Tzitzit are attached nowadays only to Jewish religious garments, such as a tallit gadol (large prayer shawl). Various reasons are given for the commandment. The Torah itself states: "So that you will remember to do the commandments". In addition, it serves as a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt (Numbers 15:40).

Curly sideboards = peyot. As part of the 613 commandments, an injunction in Leviticus 19:27, commands Jews "You shall not round off the corner of your head, and you shall not destroy the edge of your beard" or simply "Do not cut off the hair on the sides of your head. Do not shave off the edges of your beard." Hence curly sideboards! Mainly the hassidic jews who stick to this one.


Are there many jews in the army - & any Rabbis do you know. I know you can get your hands on kosher ratpacks (if you're lucky)
 
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