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Spiritual Tools: Chanukah: Tefillin & The Light of the Crown

It is written that God told Moses, “I will take away My hand, you will see My back, but My face shall not be seen (Exodus 33:23).” Our sages teach us that this alludes to the fact that God showed Moses the knot of His head tefillin (Berachot 7a).


God hides Himself in the Hidden Splendor. The place in which God hides Himself is the brilliant concealed Light, which cannot be perceived at all.

The Infinite Light of God’s Essence is all the more certainly hidden and incomprehensible.

It is written, “From my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:26).” We know that when a person wants to hide himself, he places his hand over his head or face. When God covers Himself, we therefore also say that He does so with His “hand.”

God’s hand is alluded to by the letter Kaf, which means, “palm of the hand.” This letter Kaf, however, also alludes to the Crown (Zohar III:274b). This is the highest of all the Emanations, and, in this, the Infinite Light is concealed.

The concept of the Crown cannot be perceived by any mortal human or any other created thing. It is therefore called Nothingness (Zohar III:256a).

God had the greatest possible love for Moses and wanted to fulfill his request to “see” God’s “face.” He therefore told Moses, “I will remove My hand.” He was telling Moses that He would reveal the Crown to him.

We cannot speak of this further, for “God’s glory is to conceal a thing (Proverbs 25:2).” The words stand, hidden and sealed, and the wise man will understand it by himself.

Our sages alluded to all these concepts in very concise words when they talked, “We learn that God showed Moses the knot of the tefillin. God revealed to Moses the Knot of Attachment which is called “Tefillin.” This alludes to the Divine Mentality, as is known (Zohar III:263a). This is enough for one who understands. (Ohev Yisrael; Ki Tisa)

Chanukah-KavanotApplication: this should be used as a Kavanah when placing the head tefillin each day of Hanukkah. The Crown is more visible during Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, and is therefore more accessible through our tefillin on these days.

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