Back to the Torah Mantle
I have been working on making a Torah mantle in memory of my father. The goal is to have it complete and debut, so to speak, at my son's bar- mitzvah at the end of March. When I last updated about the mantle, I thought it was nearly done.
I took a closer look and realized that I was NOT happy with several aspects of the mantle. The top was insufficiently padded. It felt sort of skimpy. I had attempted to sew the mantle in one piece, making a row of trim at the join between the top and the skirt unnecessary. The result rather than being smooth, was pretty lumpy and unattractive looking. It was in short, not by best work.
So this morning I had to do my least favorite thing , un -sewing. I took the mantle apart. As I was clipping all of my stitches, I remembered my father's tallit. My father who loved nothing but the finest, had comissioned a wool tallit to be woven for his 70th birthday. About two or three years ago, my father asked me how to wash the tallit. I talked my father through washing the tallit on the gentle cycle in his washing machine and then using the air dry function the dryer.
I had failed, in giving directions to my father, to take two things into account. First of all, my father did not take to following directions very well and he was likely to improve on directions without thinking the consequences through. The other was that I didn't realize how terrible my father's vision was. He probably didn't realize that there was an air dry setting on his dryer. he certainly didn't use it when he turned the dryer to it's highest heat and dried it for a nice long time.
So as many of you can guess. My father's lovely hand woven tallit got badly felted. My father mailed it to me ( so I could feel terrible???) and it has been living in my fabric stash for the last couple of years inducing pangs of guilt whenever I unearthed it.
The shrunken tallit is now the inner layer of the Torah mantle. I still have to serge it all together and then edge it. It fulfills the Jewish concepts of Maalim b'kodesh, v'lo moridim, one can raise something in holiness but not diminish it's holiness, so a shrunken tallit can serve well as part of a Torah mantle.