A Bit of Magical Thinking
A few months back, there was a sing along of old time Israeli songs at my synagogue. Those old time songs of hope and hope for peace just had me sobbing, thinking of my boy joining the many others who fought for the safety of Israel.
Earlier in the summer, I realized that I needed to put some of these emotions to work. I thought that while my son was doing his army time, I would make a Torah mantle in his honor, as a sort of amulet to keep him safe. A bit of magical thinking.
My rabbi thought that this was a dandy idea, and a bit of magical thinking was a fine thing. My husband, in a different take on magical thinking, thought that I oughtn't begin on the Torah mantle until our son came home safe and sound ( sort of a final payment on safe delivery). I figured that the Powers That Keep My Children Safe would be more likely to grant my desires if I made some sort of a down payment. OK, for you rationalists out there, none of this is rational, clear thinking, theology. I know that.
Never the less, I have been spending the last many weeks while in synagogue poking through the prayerbook and through the bible looking for an appropriate verse for this Torah mantle. Last Shabbat, I think I found the right verse. it comes from the end of Psalm 27 which is recited daily from the month before RoshHa Shanah, until the end of the fall festival cycle.
Hope in God and be strong
Take courage , hope in God
I decided to have a cascade of divine light coming down above the words. that light , also refers back to the beginning of the Psalm
God is my light and my help
Whom shall I fear
I have associated this Psalm strongly with my son since he was four or five years old. We were visiting various branches of the family in Boston. My son had left his security bunny at my sister's. My son slept with bunny every night holding it curled between his thumb and index finger. My sister understanding his distress, Fed-Ex-ed the bunny to my son. When he opened the package, he said, "Bunny is my light, and keeps me from being afraid."
I was struck by the similarity of his phrasing to that of the Psalmist. So, I began reading the Psalm to him. He seemed interested, so I kept reading. When I was done. My son said, " You know, that's exactly what I believe."
I plan to make the ray of light out of a mix of golden beads in varying shades and shapes, the better to catch the light. Yes, it will be an obsessive piece, and that is exactly the point. Keeping my hands busy will give me a place to put my anxiety. I'm guessing that the base fabric will be a white velveteen. The letters in the sketch are sketchy and ugly, and will be nicer in the final piece. I will decide the color of the letters later on in the process. I welcome ideas and input.