I read an interesting article a few days ago, about a study that came out recently from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. It suggested that men who wear tefillin may receive cardiovascular health benefits. Dr. Jack Rubinstein, the associate professor who led the study says "We found people who wear tefillin...recorded a measurable positive effect on their blood flow. This has been associated with better outcomes in heart disease." In other words, tefillin seems to be good for the heart.
What an interesting and meaningful concept. Once I thought about it, it made me think about another way tefillin can be good for the heart.
When requests for help with bar mitzvahs come into our office, the stories behind them are pretty difficult. There are boys who come from divorced or broken homes where one parent is working day and night, trying to raise kids on barely any income. There are families where one of the siblings is really sick and all finances in the home must go to their care. Still there are other homes where the bar mitzvah boy himself is going through a terrible crisis and his parents are scrambling, trying to keep everything in their lives from falling apart. In all these cases (and there are so many, many more) when the time comes for a kid to have his bar mitzvah, there's simply no money to get him tefillin. He'll be lucky if there will be any kind of celebration-even the most minimal-at all.
So can you imagine what it must be like for a child like these, who, through our Bar Mitzvah Twinning program suddenly gets notified that despite all the chaos and stress in his life, all the issues he must deal with everyday, when it's likely that tefillin just won't be available for him-he will be getting a pair of his very own? He won't have to borrow from a friend or a sibling each morning? He will be able to put them on every weekday, just like all the other boys in his class?
Imagine how it must make him feel, in his heart. Excited. Happy. Proud. Relieved. And...normal.
From the thank you letters we receive we don't even have to imagine any of this, we know it's true.
And knowing this should put a pretty special feeling in the hearts of our donors.
The researchers are right. Tefillin really is good for the heart.