Quiet but busy

I know I haven't posted in a while. The house has been full of houseguests and I have been kind of under the weather, but I have been working.

I have been working away on my future son-in-law's tallit. Working on this tallit has been a really nice time to work closely with the man who will be sharing my daughter's life. I really appreciate how he puts so much thought into his decision making.

He has chosen the Hebrew name, Gideon Ezekiel. Gideon because his late mother was named Deborah, and Gideon is the next prophet. Ezekiel is a family name. We hadn't quite settled on a text to use on the tallit before my husband and I left for our Texas adventure. My future son-in-law said that he wanted the text to somehow convey that he was converting. he had hoped that the text would be connected to either Deborah or Ezekiel. We each had the assignment to go through biblical text in order to find the right verses for his tallit.

While I was in shul in Houston I started reading through all of the haftarot from Ezekiel to see if I could find something that would work on the tallit.

I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found this verse.


:
26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. כווְנָתַתִּ֚י לָכֶם֙ לֵ֣ב חָדָ֔שׁ וְר֥וּחַ חֲדָשָׁ֖ה אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וַֽהֲסִ֨רֹתִ֜י אֶת־לֵ֚ב הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ מִבְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וְנָֽתַתִּ֥י לָכֶ֖ם לֵ֥ב בָּשָֽׂר:


I sent an email to the future Gideon Ezekiel with my suggestion for a text. He was meeting with our rabbi as he received the email Our rabbi suggested using both the verse before and the verse after. It was a brilliant suggestion because the verses take one through the process of conversion itself.

:
25And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean; from all your impurities and from all your abominations will I cleanse you. כהוְזָֽרַקְתִּ֧י עֲלֵיכֶ֛ם מַ֥יִם טְהוֹרִ֖ים וּטְהַרְתֶּ֑ם מִכֹּ֧ל טֻמְאֽוֹתֵיכֶ֛ם וּמִכָּל־גִּלּֽוּלֵיכֶ֖ם אֲטַהֵ֥ר אֶתְכֶֽם:
26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. כווְנָתַתִּ֚י לָכֶם֙ לֵ֣ב חָדָ֔שׁ וְר֥וּחַ חֲדָשָׁ֖ה אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וַֽהֲסִ֨רֹתִ֜י אֶת־לֵ֚ב הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ מִבְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וְנָֽתַתִּ֥י לָכֶ֖ם לֵ֥ב בָּשָֽׂר:
27And I will put My spirit within you and bring it about that you will walk in My statutes and you will keep My ordinances and do [them]. כזוְאֶת־רוּחִ֖י אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְעָשִׂ֗יתִי אֵ֚ת אֲשֶׁר־בְּחֻקַּי֙ תֵּלֵ֔כוּ וּמִשְׁפָּטַ֥י תִּשְׁמְר֖וּ וַֽעֲשִׂיתֶֽם:
Those were the texts that I used for the stripes. We still needed text for the atara/neckband of the tallit. As I have been preparing for this wedding I have been deeply feeling the loss of Deborah. No, I never met her. I know that my future son-in-law was close to his mother.

Had she been alive she would have been my machateinista,  a kinship word that does not exist in English. In Yiddish, your child's in-laws are the machutunim, the word has the same root as the word for wedding.They aren't just my child's in-laws they have a kinship relationship with me.

I have heard of machateinistes who were so close that when they both became widowed they became roommates.I won't have that opportunity. but even more importantly Deborah won't have the pleasure of seeing her youngest son get married and hopefully one day create a family. this made me sad.

I realized that it was really important to choose a text for the atara with a connection to the biblical Deborah. Deborah sings a great song that lots of day school kids have had to memorize.You can find it in the book of Judges. it is a poem of victory over an enemy and it is kind of vengeful and full of blood and guts. While it is a great poem, it wasn't exactly appropriate for an atara.

We had both nixed the idea of using Deborah's song but I kept thinking about how important it was to have something in the tallit about my future son-in-law's connection to his mother. I went back to the text to take another look and found this verse.

ג  שִׁמְעוּ מְלָכִים, הַאֲזִינוּ  {ר}  רֹזְנִים:  {ס}  אָנֹכִי, לַיהוָה אָנֹכִי אָשִׁירָה,  {ס}  אֲזַמֵּר,  {ר}  לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.  {ס}3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, unto the LORD will I sing; I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel.

By just using the fragment, I will sing, I will sing praise, I had something workable.

I calligraphed the phrase onto black silk. it looked good.
But I kept thinking about all the good stuff that Deborah is missing, and I started to hand embroider the letters.
I am more than halfway done with the embroidery.

The tallit itself is done with the corners waiting to be sewn on.
Last Friday I had my future son-in-law try on his tallit. I just loved seeing his face as he put it on. He didn't say much. He didn't have to. His face said it all.

I assume that the rest of thetallit will please him as well.

Comments

  1. I love the stories behind your creative process. I treasure those scriptures from Ezekial.

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  2. I so enjoy your sharing...a glimpse into lives unknown to me....so much love and reverence!

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  3. These sound like wonderful words to use. My sister's name was Deborah - after the Deborah of the Bible, so we always took note of her whole victorious story. Love that there is a reminder of her singing, which goes round the neck. I am sure your son-in-law's mother sang over him as well - as a babe and a small child, but probably when he was older, too.

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