Some more thoughs about Arona
By the time I began to work on the tallit, while it was filled with memories and meaning, it was also fairly grotty. A few years later, Arona and Lou travelled to Central America. There, Arona purchased a really beautiful high quality length of eyelet. Arona was ready for me to turn that length of eyelet into a tallit for her.
We looked at many texts together. On a hunch, I suggested the following prayer. It is often taught to very young children.
the soul that you have given within me
You created it
You wrought it
You have inflated it within me
and You watch over it within me
and You in the future will remove it from me
to return it within me in the future to come
all the time that the soul is within me
I give thanks to you my God and God of my ancestors
Greater than all of the actions
Master of all of the souls
In Hebrew, the word for soul and the word for breath, are the same. Yes, you can re read the prayer sub stituting the word breath for soul. Arona chose the " You" statemets for her pinot/corner pieces/
-You have inflated
-You watch over
After she chose the text, Arona told me that she had lung cancer. She talked about how that prayer seemed so powerful while she was struggling with the breath inside her body. I also thought about the next phrase in the prayer, about the soul being removed from the body. I didn't bring it up.
Arona asked me not to tell anyone aout her cancer. I didn't.
I keep thinking about Arona using that tallit, with those words on the corners.
Yehi zichra barukh - May her memory be a blessing