Awareness, Gdliness – 120 words
Wearing Tefillin is what I call, a Mind Mitzvah – they require that we remain constantly aware of them, without lapse. It’s like talking to Gd and not being distracted by things going on in the background – that’d be just plain rude.
The Mishneh Berurah, 44:3 explains however, that this awareness is not quite so intense. We may multi-task; keeping in mind that the clock is ticking – turn off the soup, take the cake from the oven – indeed one is fearful of forgetting lest the consequences bite him – embarrassment at the Shabbos table without soup or the famous cake, but there is no problem with looking around and engaging with other matters.
HKBH expects less from us than we expect from others – “you may engage in other activities whilst wearing Tefillin, just don’t leave Me in the oven to burn.”