In an ironic story, “transsexual female Jews” have just made a video teaching other Jews how to best wear the phylacteries for prayer, which are traditionally used only by men but now by women as well:
Tefillin (phylacteries), a prayer object typically worn by Orthodox Jews, can be a strange thing to learn how to properly wear.
Consisting of a set of small, black boxes with tiny Torah scrolls inside and leather straps, Tefillin is customarily only worn by men—but that is changing.
When Rachel Putterman, a 52-year-old woman, enrolled in Rabbinical school, she couldn’t quite get the hang of how to put on Tefillin. She turned to YouTube only to discover low-quality videos solely featuring men.
‘It was just upsetting to me that there was nobody that looked like me. It seemed like a glaring gap,’ Putterman told Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
So, Putterman, who formerly worked as a public interest lawyer, decided to start an IndieGoGo campaign to create an educational video featuring people of all genders.
The project will aptly be titled All Genders Wrap.
Putterman is directing All Genders Wrap and it is being produced by fellow Hebrew College rabbinical student Gita Karasov. The video will include 10 diverse Jews—including men, women, trans, and non-binary people—of different ethnic and racial backgrounds.
‘I want to make a statement to counter what you see when you go on YouTube, that there are people of all genders engaged in practice,’ Putterman said.
In addition to featuring diverse Jews, the video will also talk about other differences in Tefillin practice. For instance, they will show a Jew who wraps Tefillin according to Sephardic rather than Ashkenazic customs, and one who is left-handed and thus wraps on the left arm instead of the right.
‘My instinct was that this was going to strike a chord within a small subset of the Jewish community: the part of the community that is interested in laying tefillin but not the Orthodox,’ Putterman said.
And indeed, many non-Orthodox synagogues now encourage both men and women to use Tefillin.
In only eight days, Putterman’s campaign surpassed their fundraising goal thanks to more than 100 donors.
With the money, Putterman plans to hire a professional crew to shoot and edit the video, which she hopes to release in September. Additionally, she hopes to launch a website that will feature the personal stories of the 10 diverse Jews in the video.
‘I’ve been a feminist activist my whole life, and I’ve done a lot of research around these issues and writing about it,’ Putterman said. ‘But there’s something so profoundly satisfying about this visual imagery of non-cisgender men wearing this stuff, and not just wearing it but engaged in the practice.’ (source)
As Jesus said in Matthew 23:
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
It is ironic that these people would be focused on teaching a variety of people, but also transsexual- sodomite- Jews how to wear the phylacteries.
Homosexuality is a grave sin. What a man wears on his body is of no aid to him if the philosophy of life which he holds to is evil. It is similar to what the Catholic Church teaches on the sacrament of the Eucharist and grave sin, for while the body of Christ is meant to bring life, if a man receives it while knowingly in a state of serious sin and having not sought confession, he incurs condemnation on himself through the same sacrament.
The focus is on wearing the proper ritual garments as they are meant to be worn in prayer. However, it gives no consideration to the fact that some of the people who are wearing the garments are engaged in the sin of homosexuality.
What is a greater sin? To improperly wear a phylactery? Or to sodomize another person?
Indeed, the righteousness of a man before God does not come from his externals, but from his internals, for it is from the internals that a man’s heart is revealed.