A bag for my son's tallit

When I work on several pieces at a time, there is often a relationship between them that is not always immediately obvious to me. Over the last several months I have been working on the Torah Mantle in memory of my father and also on my son's tallit.

A tallit needs a bag. Today I began work on the tallit bag. I don't like when things are, in the words of a very swish party planner that I met in a fabric store with his client, "too matchy matchy ".

This tallit has all of those willow leaves on the stripes. I looked through one of my bag of scraps and found a piece left over from my father's mantle a rich deep blue cotton velveteen. I cut yet another leaf stencil out of an index card and brushed yellow and gold Shiva Pint stick through the stencil. (I did pay attention in kindergarten and remember the blue + yellow make green ).

a detail of the stencil for the tallit bag

I was very happy with the results.. You see just a detail here. And then I smacked myself on the head when I realized that this bag would also match my father's t'fillin bag.

My son in one of the many poignant elements of his reaching Bar-Mitzvah has inherited my father's set of t'fillin. My husband saw my father's t'fillin on his desk during the shiva and suggested that it would be so appropriate for my son to inherit them. My mother, was at first reluctant, but then realized how right it was for my son to wear those t'fillin.

My father loved beautiful things and had this t'fillin bag ( and the matching tallit bag ) made for him by J.Levine here in New York, the makers of standard tallit bags. But my father provided the design of olive leaves and dark blue Belgian wool twill. The design was made on the embroidery machines at J. Levine.

As I write this I remember some of the details of his ordering the bag. My father wanted this bag to be entirely devoid of glitz. No gold thread, nothing with shine. I think he had to argue with the folks at J.Levine about this. They just assumed that a bag for a Rabbi needed to be extra glitzy. My father wanted it to be almost austere. As you can see the design is embroidered with cotton thread with no sheen, not a rayon or a satiny thread. My father put lots of thought into this bag ( and the matching tallit bag and neckband and corners for his tallit).

My father's t'fillin bag

When my mother gave me the t'fillin to give to my son she asked that I make a new bag. At first I agreed, but as I looked at the bag I realized that it was in great shape. I will make my son a new bag when this one wears out. It is about 30 years old but still looks good.

And on a different note...I noticed that this blog has reached 3000 hits! hurray!!!!


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