Last night I had the pleasure of working with Ari and her family on tying the tzitzit for her tallit. I had shipped her tallit out to Ari in Arizona. I sent along one of the sets of tzitzit that my father had left after he had died.
We worked together via Skype. It really is almost as good as being there. Ari’s father, a physician, wandered by as Ari tied her first square knot. She was having trouble understanding my explanation. For Ari’s father, those knots were familiar to him as suture knots. He then left the room to take care of other matters as Ari, tied the tzitzit on the first corner and her mother watched. Thanks to Skype, I was able to show Ari in real time how to tie the tzitzit from my dining room table in Manhattan and she learned the knot patterns in her home in Arizona.
Some kids have trouble using their hands. Ari was a quick study. After she finished the first corner I suggested that Ari’s parents tie the remaining three corners with her.
I loved hearing and watching Ari teach her parents what to do.
As soon as all of the tzitzit were tied, Ari put on her tallit with all of the verses from Psalms traditionally recited when putting on her tallit. She recited the b’racha and then recited the sh’hechiyanu.
I know that some folks pine for the good old days. Last night I was so grateful to be living right at this moment when I could teach a family in Arizona how to tie tzitzit from my dining room table. Shehechiyanu indeed.