The child is wrapped in a tallitA four-cornered garment to which ritual fringes (tzitzit/tzitzi'ot) are affixed. The knots in the fringes represent the name of God and remind us of God's commandments. The tallit is worn during prayer and can also be drawn about oneself or around the bride and groom to symbolize divine protection..
It is a sedimentary process,
each wrapping a layer through years to come.
the sum of those wrappings,
encrusted with time, places, people.
And seeing the tzitzitA set of fringes tied and knotted on each of the four corners of a tallit, symbolizing and reminding the user of God's commandments. Some Jews wear tzizit under their clothes at all times, with the fringes visible.,
will remember to remember
moments like leaves
which live to fall to the forest floor of memory.
Other communities, keeping faith,
in a single time, in a single moment,
in other rooms.
swaying to the same rhythms,
same songs, same seasons, joys, sorrows.
All this exists in the moment, unseen.
The child steps from the periphery to the bimahThe stage or platform on which the person leading prayers stands.,
is ringed by the attendants of the TorahThe 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.,
behind them, the Ark,
surrounded by this community
to be gathered to its breast.
The child presses the tzitzit to the Torah.
In that act,
sinking to its most profound depths,
the child reaches through to touch an eternity,
constructed and constructing,
the child touches there
the writing hands,
the praying hands,
Used by permission of author