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Phylactery

A charm or amulet. The Jews wore on their wrist or forehead a slip of parchment bearing a text of Scripture. Strictly speaking, a phylactery consisted of four pieces of parchment, enclosed in two black leather cases, and fastened to the forehead or wrist of the left hand. One case contained Ex. xiii. 1-10, 11-16; and the other case Deut. vi. 4-9, xi. 13-21. The idea arose from the command of Moses, “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart ... and bind them for a sign upon your hand ... as frontlets between your eyes” (Deut. xi. 18). (Greek, phylacterion, from the verb phylasso to watch.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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