Dec 20, 2010

A Meditation Upon Giving a Bat/Bar Mitzvah their Tallit

A Meditation Upon Giving a Bat/Bar Mitzvah their Tallit
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The tallit I am about to give you is heavy.  

Even if the material is light, the meaning is something I pray you will feel very deeply.  When some prepare to wear our tallit, they recite a mystical saying about "God wearing Light like a garment."  I don't know what that means, but I believe there's something to think about.  Maybe once you wear this tallit, perhaps on a day when no one else is watching, you and I will be able to talk about how it felt.
When I look at you, growing older, my heart stops.  You are not the small child I wept over.  My tears today come from a different place.  You aren't as innocent as you once were.  And I share with you an understanding gained over time that a tallit is not only an object of beauty.  Jewish hands have sometimes trembled holding our holy objects.  I pray that you feel protected and safe in your tallit, that you only know the pride and joy it holds.  But I know that your eyes are wide open.  And I can't simplify the world you clearly see.  It can be beautiful, but it isn't always.

Some people wear their tallit over their heads during deep moments of reflection.  A tallit helps you see with your eyes closed.  The strings are tied in special ways and remind us that we're tied to each other, tied to Jewish history, tied to God.  I give you this tallit with a heart full of hope and full of anticipation for the person you are becoming.  

May you feel lifted as it rests on your shoulders.  

May you feel my love every time you wear this tallit.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom  || Bay Area Masorti  || 
Rabbis for Women of the Wall  || 
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