Posts Tagged ‘tallis and tefillin’

 

On Handing Down an Heirloom Tallit at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Posted on: March 27th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

TallitThis idea for this prayer was suggested by a member of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, whom I met while serving as their 5776 Yom Kippur Scholar. The idea resonated for me because I have three heirloom tallitot that I plan to pass along, when the time is right. Places for personalizing the prayer are shown with blank lines, followed by [instructions in brackets]. Other word choices are identified with a slash (“/”). This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

On Handing Down an Heirloom Tallit at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Dear __________ [add name],
At this moment of your bar/bat mitzvah
I/we bequeath this tallit to you as a symbol of my/our pride in you
And in the hope that it will keep you connected to our history and our heritage.
This tallit was _________ [add background of the tallit].

May this moment be the beginning of a miraculous journey.
May this tallit become a cherished symbol of your Jewish life.
My prayer is that each time you put it on
You remember our family’s devotion to you,
That you remember this special moment,
And you remember the Jewish call to heal the world.
May it be God’s will that one day
You pass this tallit to the next generation, in love.

G-d of our fathers and mother,
Bless my/our _______ [identify the relationship; such as: daughter, grandson, niece]
With health and prosperity,
Wisdom and happiness,
A life of blessings and peace.
How splendid is this moment!
How amazing in beauty, trust and joy!
My heart is full.

ברוך אתה ה’ אלקינו מלך העולם
.שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה

Baruch ata adonai elohenu melech ha olam,
shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe
Who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: Related prayers include: “Meditation on a Child’s First Torah Reading,” “Bind and Wrap,” “Light of G-d” and “Gathering, A Dream of Reunion.” And this is a related story called “Hershal Dovid: A Torah Reading Story.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Learn Hebrew Pod

Light of G-d

Posted on: November 11th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Sunrise US Fish WildlifeThis meditation is inspired by the morning ritual for putting on the tallit, which opens with the two lines of barchi nafshi, (Psalm 104:1-2), continues with the blessing l’hitataif b’tzitzit and closes with four lines beginning mah yakar chasdecha (Psalm 36:8-11). Wrapping ourselves in the tallit, we remember that we’re surrounded by G-d’s light.

Light of G-d
How bright is Your garment of light!
How vast the curtain of heaven!
How great Your splendor and majesty!

I stand before You
In service to Torah and Mitzvot.
Ready. Willing. Present.
Dedicating my heart to You.
My soul singing in praise.

In Your light, we see light.
In Your light, we are bathed in light.
Wrapped in Your light,
We are sheltered by light.

Blessed are You,
Bringing light to the upright in heart.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: The lines “in Your light, we see light” and “in Your light, we are bathed in light” are alternative translations of the words “b’orech neireh or” from Psalm 36. The former and more literal of the two is from The Koren Siddur. The latter is from Siddur Sim Shalom. See also: “Bind and Wrap,” “Gathering: A Dream of Reunion” and “Morning Blessings.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Libaray

Jew against Jew

Posted on: April 23rd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Susan Sliverman with Torah 22 Apr 2015This is a prayer for Jews to love one another. I wrote it a year ago, but it echoes as a response to the violence perpetrated at the Kotel this week. Charlie Kalech and I were beaten after we and other men helped facilitate the use of a full-sized Torah by Women of the Wall at the Western Wall on Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, April 22, 2015. This prayer is part lament and part admonition against sinat chinam, basesless hatred of Jew against Jew. The prayer is the result of an assignment last year by master teacher Yaffa Epstein at Pardes Institude of Jewish Studies after a semester of studying the Amidah, a central prayer in Jewish liturgy. May one day soon we forget the violence, on that day the love of Torah will be shared equally, with joy, among all of our people.

Jew against Jew
Oh my people,
What has happened to your heart?
What has happened to your vision?
And what has happened to your wisdom?
And what has happened to your love for one another?
The seeds of disrespect and misunderstanding have taken root,
Yielding fear and anger,
Condemnation and recrimination,
A rising hatred of Jew against Jew
That threatens to consume us.
Sinat chinam has attacked the soul of our people.

Ancient One,
G-d of our fathers and mothers,
Grant us a new wisdom and a new vision
To see beauty and holiness
In all of the tents of Israel.
Guide us back to each other
With reverence and understanding.
Renew our days with love.
Then, G-d of Old, we will build
A temple of song to your Holy Name,
Resounding from heart to heart,
From soul to soul,
From generation to generation,
The whole House of Israel.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d,
You delight in Your people’s love.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: The photo is from Facebook album by top news photographer Miriam Alster. The album contains beautiful photos of women expressing love of Torah. There are also horrible photos showing what Charlie and I experienced at the hands of so-called ushers and ultra-orthodox men: he was beaten and manhandled, I was roughed up and stomped on. Those photos are important to understand the forces that oppose women’s rights at the Kotel. Yet here I choose to show the celebration, with Rabbi Susan Silverman dancing with Torah. When I was down on the ground, Susan and Charlie’s wife Sarah Halevi rushed toward us to help. Thank you, Susan and Sarah, for coming to my aid. The photos of women expressing love of Torah, those are the photos of the joyous future we desire, Torah for all, b’ezrrat Hashem.

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Photo Source: WOW Facebook album by Miriam Alster

Bind and Wrap

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

item29Wearing talit and teffilin—Jewish sacred garments—has been described as a metaphor for the love between G-d and Israel. This prayer/poem reflects that metaphor. The first stanza represents Israel’s acceptance of G-d’s love. The second represents the acceptance of G-d’s word. This is my personal meditation to prepare for putting on talit and tefillin. I recently rediscovered joy in the mitzvah of tefillin, a joy I reclaimed while praying at the Kotel in support of the Women of the Wall. I wrote an essay about it, which I posted on my Times of Israel blog.

Addendum, January 11, 2015: I’ve gone from putting on tefillin once a month in solidarity with WOW to praying with tefillin most days of the week. I’ll write an essay about that soon.

Bind and Wrap
We wrap ourselves
In the unreachable
With a sheet of broad cloth.
Fringes tied with turns and knots.
We wrap ourselves
In G-d’s holy shelter.

We bind ourselves
To the unknowable
With each turn of the strap.
Black leather strung from a box.
We bind ourselves
To G-d’s holy word.

How do we hold onto the gifts around us?
How do we see the mysteries near to us?

Bind and wrap.
Bind and wrap.
Throughout our lives,
Bind and wrap.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to another prayer using the tallit as a metaphor, called “Gathering: A Dream of Reunion.”

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. If you use or like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet. Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo Source: Judaica 3000

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