Phylactery, Olfactory, Same Thing

Oy vey. Check out this video of the Chief Inspector of the Philadelphia police department talking about the plane that was grounded this morning because of a pair of tefillin. Pretty unremarkable except for when he refers to tefillin as “a religious device…what is known as an olfactory, a box-like device that goes on the forehead.”


Tefillin are sometimes called phylacteries, which comes from the Greek term, phylakterion, which means amulet.

Olfactory means of or related to the sense of smell, and it comes from the Latin olfacere to smell.

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