Concerning Widening Phylacteries and Lengthening Tassels

Today's Mass readings can be found here
The Gospel is from Matthew
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.

For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.

All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honour at banquets, seats of honour in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’

As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.

Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.

The greatest among you must be your servant.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Phylacteries or Tfellin are two small leather boxes worn during morning prayers by Orthodox and Conservative Jews after the age of 13 years and one day.
Each box contains strips of parchment inscribed with verses from the Scriptures: Ex. 13.1–10; 13.11–16; Deut. 6.4–9; 11.13–21. 
One box is fastened to the forehead and the other to the left arm; they are intended to serve as a reminder of the constant presence of God and of the need to keep Him uppermost in one's thoughts and deeds, thereby safeguarding the wearer against committing a sin. 
They are not worn on the Sabbath or holy days, since these days are in themselves a reminder of God. .
Photo ;The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition
| 2008 | Columbia University Press 

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