Chapter 8 (Deuteronomy 6:8)A Chapter by Allen Smuckler
Bind (the words that I command you today) as a sign on your arm, and they shall be ornaments between your eyes...Deuteronomy 6:8
A Tallis, for the Gentiles in the audience, and even for a multitude of Jews, is a shawl (which holds no real religious significant other than it holds the tzizit (fringes) on its corners, which the Torah commands Jews to wear as a reminder of the mitzvot (blessing or good deed). A Tallis is worn at morning services, both on weekdays and on Shabbat, and also on the night of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement and the most religious day in the Jewish religion). After reciting the blessing, you throw the Tallis over your shoulders like a cape and bring your hands together in front of your face briefly.... And away you go.
The Tefillin, is worn at morning services on weekdays only. The use of the tefillin is difficult to explain with words and should be taught by someone experienced, which I certainly am not. It is the process of binding the words to our hands and between our eyes. We do this by "laying tefillin" that is by binding to our arms and foreheads leather pouches containing scrolls of Torah passages. It is a long tedious process to lay the tefillin with several different prayers being said before and after each step. I always thought it took longer to put the tefillin on than it did to actually dovan (pray). The Tallis and tefillin should be put on before you begin prayer, and Tallis should be put on before tefillin.
My father dovanned (prayed) every morning. This after working the night shift at the post office, getting to bed around 2 a.m., waking at 6 a.m., praying until 7 a.m. and then going back to bed. He did this every day for his entire life....and mine. Never missed a beat, through hail, rain, sleet or snow... Oh wait, that was the Post office slogan, well it worked for both.
It didn't matter; he was true to himself and never wavered. He, and I guess I, were Orthodox Jews and made no qualms about it. Everyone else pretended to be Orthodox. My father lived it and loved it. We would walk miles to Synagogue on the Sabbath and Holidays, not turn lights on during the Sabbath, certainly kept Kosher, switched dishes during Passover, and celebrated EVERY holiday from Sukat to Purim, to Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur to Simkah Torah to Passover, to all Jewish children's favorite holiday; Chanukah. There were so many holidays; they often surprised me. I just couldn’t keep them straight and always had to be reminded what part of Jewish history they each represented.
"My Tallis and Tefillin"...These are the items he wanted me to have if "anything should happen" to him. I knew the importance of those words and the absolute weight they carried. But really, what could be so bad that would make my father feel he had to have this talk with me. I was only ten and more importantly, he was only thirty-seven years old.
He didn't get out of bed but pointed to the nightstand.
"They're in the night stand, he muttered" as he hugged me and we laid there side by side in the stillness of our breath...
© 2012 Allen Smuckler
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on January 25, 2012
Last Updated on January 25, 2012
My Life (A Child's View)
AboutI'm a poet, a singer, a peaceful gunslinger.. looking to share my poetry..and a little bit of me...if I dare I 've been writing since I was 18.... am slightly older now, and still trying to fin.. more..
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