Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Tallis Bag Makes Friends

After shul today, I went into the ladies' room, leaving my tallis bag on the table outside. When I came back, it was being examined by a lady who asked where I had gotten it. I told her that it had been a bat mitzvah present from my parents who had bought it at Bob and Bob, uhhhhh...twenty years ago.

It turns out that she has one like it, and bought one for her daughter's bat mitzvah--all from the same Yaffa weaver, apparently. I occasionally run into this lady's work around--some years ago I came face to face with an elderly man wearing a tallis that was obviously a close cousin to mine. "Nice tallis!" he beamed. But it hadn't hit me until that moment that, actually, that it really is, as of Shabbos Korach, going to be TWENTY YEARS. I'm turning thirty-three in a couple weeks.

Korach was, actually, sort of a mistake. My childhood temple calculated the parsha according to my birthday on the Gregorian calender, hence, Korach. If we'd done it according to my Hebrew-calender birthday we would have landed a week later, on Chukkat, which would have allowed me to read about Miriam's death. Much more fertile for a baby Jewish feminist, and honestly, I never did quite get the hang of Korach. All of these "they spoke out against Moses/Aaron/the Brooklyn Dodgers and were promptly struck down by plague/leprosy/mumps" stories have never appealed to me. I don't respect authority for authority's sake. Never have. Probably never will. I had quite the time getting anything out of poor old Korach, and Datan, and Aviram, and On, and all their friends.

My mother seems to feel that the parsha was a terrible mistake that she should somehow have prevented. I try to talk her out of this. Nu, there are worse things than Korach.

Anyway, coming up on twenty years since the bat mitzvah made me think about what I would like to do Jewishly in the COMING twenty years, and what keeps reoccuring to me is that I would like to learn to leyn. I didn't learn when I was a bat mitzvah, and I know there are a lot of people in my area who teach. I'm cautious about getting myself signed up for anything new, given how overwhelmed I feel these days but..maybe one toe at a time?


Eliyahu said...

how do you feel about the "there are no coincidences" theory? i bless you that you're celebrating the bar/bat mitzvah(s) of your children within the next 20 years! may you find a good teacher for a good teacher!

Barefoot Jewess said...

This is what I discovered about leyning. That it allowed me respite from the material world. It placed me in a sacred space; it added to my life and stregthened me when I was weary. It got me through the terrible days leading up to my leaving everything I love behind.

It can only be a good thing, and an antidote to what ails you, if you look upon it as necessary for your soul, and not a performance piece. In my experience.

You go girl! I'm hearing your still, small voice loud and clear. I hope you don't need a hearing aid :)!

Viola Cesario said...

Learn to leyn! It's great! Learn to leyn the Rosh Chodesh reading! It's a super-mega-eg boost!

For real, though, my and my siblings' Hebrew birthdays all fall on Rosh Chodesh (Adar for me, Cheshvan for my brother and sister). My brother celebrated his bar mitzvah not on the actual day, so he read something else. And my sister learned something else for her bat mitzvah, so I read the same thing with my sister beside me that I had read seven years before for myself. Then this week someone ran up to me at morning minyan and said, "hey, you know Rosh Chodesh! Go read!" It turns out when you've practiced one reading THAT many times, you can do it near-perfectly on five minutes' warning.

The point of this ramble was: learn to leyn! It's fun!