Skip to main content

TALLIT by Sheri Lindner


 My mother created a gorgeous tallit for me, and this poem was a thank you to her… 

 A tallit is a Jewish ritual prayer shawl, worn during a prayer service.  

In our community, when we recite the Priestly Blessing ("May the Lord bless you and keep you…") we wrap our tallitot around the shoulders of those standing next to us, understanding that it is not priests or rabbis who are the bestowers of blessing, but we to each other.  

My mother and father together made tallits for each of my children as they came of age.  Being far beyond the coming of age, I did not feel I could ask for one of my very own (which I never had).  

When I did, my mother created a gorgeous one for me. I picture her working on it: an ancient tribeswoman, an artist, whose hands and vision bring about miracles.  

Tallit

And the daughter who was herself beyond two score and ten
saw that the woman’s fingers had begun to twist like branches of an ageless tree
and she asked this of the woman
and the woman said
yes
and the woman took up
the tool of her ancestors
and set to work,
made
thousands
of perfect stitches

each nestled snugly to the next
like lovers spooning in exquisite fit.
On the virgin white cloth
that the woman cursed for its slipperiness
the stitches multiplied
in mitotic unfolding
as if the silken threads
were spun from the very tips
of her fingers.
The story rose off the cloth,

a sculpted bas relief
that could be read by touch as much as by sight
spun for the younger one
as unique as a fingertip’s whorl
and mythic as the song sung on reedy shores
when being came into being:
begotten and begetter
beloved and lover
seeker on her way from Eden to Canaan
carried on the tides of history, the shoulders of her people
her own feet wet from the crossings made.

And the older woman gave the garment
To the younger
a swaddling cloth of pictographs
that wrapped the girl season upon season
in the gift of her own life.

                                                --Sheri Lindner
                                                  November 3, 2007
The author's Tallit



Sheri Lindner, Ph.D., a former teacher of English, and currently a clinical psychologist, is also a poet and essayist interested in the processes of development and maturation as they are reflected in Biblical stories and children’s literature.  Her writings have appeared in Jewish Currents, The Reconstructionist, Reconstructionism Today, Kerem, Jewish Women's Literary Annual, Poetica, Performance Poets Association Literary Review, Matzoh Ball Soup, Soul-Lit, The Ritual Well, and The New York Times.





~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

MY HEART SEEPS by Edith Lazenby

Courage is not only facing fear, but also looking past fear, to see what lies it tells and truths it saves...
Sometimes I sit at a computer in trepidation. The house trembles and I wonder what I will find. 
Truth is not a fact or a feeling. It may rest on love’s heart and walk with integrity. It may stand beyond humanity in ways we can only imagine. Truth can be solid as earth and fickle as wind. But a wind can know stillness and the earth can crack wide open.
Tonight I found a stillness in a crack and managed to balance there...


My Heart Seeps
by Edith Lazenby
I cannot hold on And I cannot let go. I walk a path I don’t know. I feel moonlight But cannot see Its orb midst The cloudy cold. My hands tremble. My eyes tear. My toes wriggle To grasp earth. I want to stand Tall in the light Yet fear shadows all. Inside I crumble Under the weight I cannot shoulder.

FOR THE SISTERS by Tammy T. Stone

These days, I’m finding it difficult – along with many, many others - not to feel disheartened...
I'm disheartened by the feeling that chaos has descended upon us, at the negativity and fear, the anger and reactivity, the violent spirit of animosity characterizing the times. It’s hard not to give in to the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, even as we cling to the strong conviction that it is our positivity and our love that will prevail.
Every crevice of my heart goes out to the suffering (and we are all suffering when one of us suffers), and my heart aches for the untold numbers of women around the world who are immediately and devastatingly affected by recent decisions to cut funding to organizations vital to their health and wellbeing, a movement that horrifyingly undermines women’s sovereignty over their own bodies. Words do not do the feeling justice.
It feels to me that the earth itself is overturning, that our fragile grasp of what is right and true, of our incredibl…

IMAGINE A WOMAN by Patricia Lynn Reilly

This poem invites you to look upon yourself with loving kindness…
Gazing at your own true reflection, you will discover that everything you have longed for “out there” is already within you! I invite you to love your creativity fiercely. Faithfully plant seeds, allowing under-the-ground dormant seasons, nurturing your creative garden with love and gratitude. In the fullness of time, the green growing things thrust forth from the ground. It's a faithful, trustworthy process. AND it takes time and patience.  Blessed is the fruit of your creative womb! I invite you to trust your vision of the world and express it. With wonder and delight, paint a picture, create a dance, write a book, and make up a song. To give expression to your creative impulses is as natural as your breathing. Create in your own language, imagery, and movement. Follow no script. Do not be limited by the customary way things have been expressed. Your creative intuition is original. Gather all of life into your inner c…