Shelach Lecha 5775: Gathering, A Dream of Reunion

tzitzit old shoe womanThis week’s Torah portion includes the commandment to wear tzitzit — fringes — on the corners of our garments (Numbers 15:37-41), which we fulfill with the tallit. The ritual use of the tallit includes gathering the four tzitzit just before saying the Shema, upon reciting this line: Bring us in peace from the four corners of the earth and lead us upright to our land… The act reflects our historic longing for reunification in our homeland. This meditation has dreamlike quality, beginning with the yearning for Israel that’s in each of us. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.


Gathering: A Dream of Reunion
והביאנו לשלום מארבע כנפות הארץ
ותוליכנו קוממיות לארצנו

Bring us in peace from the four corners of the earth
And lead us upright to our land…

First Tzitzit – Gathering fringes
The first knotted string in hand,
I imagine the journey home,
Home to the land of our mothers and fathers,
Holy and full of promise, labor and love,
To build a life of wonder and awe.
This is me.
This is my pilgrimage to sacred soil.
This is my dream of holiness and redemption.
I am the first tzitzit.
I am returning home.

Second Tzitzit – Gathering hearts
The second fraying string in hand,
I imagine my children, my family, my household
Returning with me to our homeland
To build and to renew our ancestral blood.
This is my family.
This is our journey to hallowed ground.
This is our wholeness and rebirth.
We are the second tzitzit.
We are returning home.

Third Tzitzit – Gathering moments
The third worn string in hand,
I imagine you, my community, my kahal,
Returning together to our Source and Shelter,
To consecrate the ancient land and our holy vow.
This is my village.
This is our journey to mystery and majesty.
This is our bond of ages.
We are the third tzitzit.
We are returning home.

Final Tzitzit – Gathering millennia
The final woolen string in hand,
I imagine all of us, from all corners of the Earth,
Returning with songs of praise and rejoicing,
To claim our place among the nation of Israel.
This is my people.
This is our journey of destiny.
This is our covenant.
We are the final tzitzit, separate no more.
We are returning home.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: This remains my deepest yearning for all of the people Israel. We’ll each arrive when the time is right. Thanks to Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder for challenging me to think about how this meditation might be heard by those who are not considering aliyah. Click here for more prayers and meditations about Israel. Gathering: A Dream of Reunion first appeared on this site on December 30, 2011.

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Photo Source: Old Shoe Woman (On Flickr)

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