Tefillin and Tallis

August 16, 2010

I just got the best gifts I have ever received. They have such a huge significance, that it made me cry when my great uncle  gave them to me. He gave me my great grandfather’s (on my mother’s side) tallis and tefillin! I mean, I’ll probably never use the tefillin just because while I can see tallis and kippahs being used by women, for some reason I can’t see tefillin being used for women. Besides the rocking chair my great grandfather made for my grandfather (on my dad’s side),  I have never received anything that previously belonged to a family member. Especially not something of such meaning that has such a relevancy to my life right now. I mean, here I am, trying to find my place in this world and my path in Judaism, and I get this amazing gift that I just cannot believe I have been given. I’ve never met my grandparents besides a grandmother on my mom’s side who I don’t really talk to, and to have been given something that was once theirs makes me feel like I have a connection to them that I never had before, and to be given something with such significance to them, and that is so relevant to where I am right now, the feeling is just beyond words. For some reason, it has fueled my desire to continue along my path of Judaism (not like I was going to stop) and to better understand it and find my place in it. It has given my faith a really big, new, fire because I feel such a deeper connection to it. It’s awesome.

On a side note, I’m having a lot of fun in New York.  I’ve gone to go meet all types of family members, and I’ve made some really great memories. I met a distant cousin of mine (5th) and we (my mom and I) stayed with him and his wife for a couple of days. They have llamas and sheep and dogs and cats and chickens, and pretty much everything. It was pretty cool. It was also pretty cool to meet family members that are observant of the mitzvots. They taught me quite a bit in the couple of days I stayed there. And tomorrow, I’m going to go with my great aunt, mom, and cousin to some small town with an apparently awesome little Judaica shop. I’m very excited for that. And I’ve also gotten to have shabbat dinner (only my third. Can you believe that? I’m going to be working on being shomer shabbos in the next couple of months, maybe when the high holidays come up) which was awesome. And I went to a conservative shul (for morning minyan), and it was pretty cool to see what they did (and to go to a morning minyan and recite the prayers, although I couldn’t read the hebrew in the siddur).

So all and all, I’ve had an amazing vacation so far (and it’s only going to get better, I hope!) to add onto an even more amazing summer vacation.

Well, I’m off to go learn the prayer for donning the tallit so that perhaps I can wear it to shul next week.

Ahavah Olam,

The Jewbie

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I feel you in my heart, and I don’t even know you.” (once again) Nineteen, Tegan & Sara

That song has always been one of my favorites. Not one of my friends likes it, except for me. I found out about it through my cousin when I went on his profile page a few years back and listened to it. It’s such a good song.

Speaking of my cousin, I miss him so much. I feel like I’ve had so many opportunities that I could have tried harder to see him, and I didn’t, and I feel like he probably now expects that from me. I just texted him to talk to him about coming up to see him soon, and I’m hoping he replies. I feel so terrible. I haven’t seen him in almost six years, and I miss him a lot. He’s always been one of my favorite family members, and I guess I’m just really upset that we never got a chance to see each other more.

On another note, I went to see the Rabbi at the Orthodox Shul today. He asked me a ton of question, which I didn’t mind answering, but when I’m tired and put on the spot I often stumble over my answers and don’t think things through so I also often say the wrong thing. One of the things that came up was “proving that I’m Jewish” with some sort of documentation of my family members that states that they belong to an Orthodox temple, etc. I guess if I can’t get it (my mom’s immediate family no longer goes to temple, and I don’t know if her other family members, such as the ones I’m going to visit this summer, go to an Orthodox temple or some other one), I’ll have to be confirmed. But I will most likely be able to get it, it’ll just take a lot of work, which is half of the fun, right? :/ Anyway, so we also talked about why I wanted to go there, how to follow the mitzvahs better (take it step by step. He told me this awesome old Jewish Proverb about how to go about it), etc. The way he made it seem was that I didn’t really need a synagogue to help me to become a better, more observant Jew, I had the tools I needed within myself and around me, and that if I attended his synagogue, it would just aid me in my learning process, I didn’t necessarily need to go there for anything (like Shabbat). But I guess I do need those documents as proof that I’m a Jew. I mean, I know I am, my family goes back for generations upon generations of Jewishness, I just need the proof for anyones else (such as if I went to a different Orthodox Synagogue, or asked the Rabbi to help me learn, or if I wanted to go on the Taglit Birthright Israel tour, etc) which is understandable. Unusual, but understandable.

So the Mizvots I’m trying to incorporate into my life this month (I want to take it month by month, maybe a new mitzvah each one?) are Tzniut (which I practically already have down, and I’ve been working on it for a bit, so that’s why I’m adding more), reading the Torah daily, and once I get that down, doing the morning, afternoon, and nightly prayers (which will probably the be the hardest Mitzvah for me to take on, only because I’m so lazy). I also want to try to start attending this “Basic Judaism” class that the Orthodox Synagogue has on Thursday nights, so that maybe I can get a deeper understanding, and add on to the multitude of stuff I’ve already learned.

ONLY THREE AND A HALF  MORE DAYS UNTIL I GO TO NEW YORK! Yayyyyy!

With love and a cherry on top,

the Jewbie