When either of my two daughters starts to wear a new pair of shoes, I say to her, “May they take you to interesting places. May they help you run to do Lit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed.".”
The first part of the prayer reminds me of the following.
- Benjamin of Tudela, the Jewish traveler, began in 1159 what would become a 14-year journey. He began in Spain and visited, among other places, Rome, Constantinople, Lit. City of peace From the time of David to the Roman destruction, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the spiritual and governmental center of the Jewish people. During the long exile, Jews longed to return to Jerusalem and wrote poems, prayers, and songs about the beloved city. In 1967, with the capture of the Old City, Jerusalem was reunited, becoming "the eternal capital of Israel." Still, the longing for peace is unfulfilled., Babel, Baghdad, Susa (Shusan), Mount According to the Torah, God, in the presence of the Jewish people, gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai (Har Sinai)., Cairo, and Alexandria. My youngest daughter particularly longs to travel and explore the world.
In the The Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general., “God said to Abram, ‘Go away from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.’” (B’reishit 12:1) Some day, each of my daughters’ shoes will take them from their father’s house, from my house. This part of the prayer can be bitter-sweet, because I’m wishing them independence.
The second part of the prayer reminds me of the following.
- Abraham is the first patriarch and the father of the Jewish people. He is the husband of Sarah and the father of Isaac and Ishmael. God's covenant - that we will be a great people and inherit the land of Israel - begins with Abraham and is marked by his circumcision, the first in Jewish history. His Hebrew name is Avraham., upon spotting three strangers approaching his tent, ran to greet and offer them hospitality. (B’reishit 18:2) Hospitality, hachnasat orchim, is of course a Lit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed.".
- “Be…swift as a deer…to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven” (Lit. Ethics of the Fathers A tractate of the Mishna filled with pithy sayings of rabbinic sages. 5:23)
- “Run to perform [even] a minor mitzvah…for one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah…for the reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah….” (Pirkei Avot 4:2)
After I say the prayer, I kiss whichever of my daughters is wearing new shoes. (As I write this, my daughters are 11 and 6.)