Morning Ritual

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Watching Ken put on his tallis and tefillin.

The rhythm of the wrapping–the well known ritual of how. How does a man who claims to be spatially challenged manage to learn the intricacies of how to put the leather straps around his arm and hand. He holds the tallis in front of him, and sweeps it around over his shoulders. A wide and graceful arc. It lies splendidly across his back. And then he pulls it around his neck to expose his arms. He declined to learn the special tallis lift-and-fold–that Roman look–that can look terribly affected. I’m pleased our Rabbi chooses the shawl style. It’s a modest look.

Ken has a modified shawl style. He lifts the extra length and plops it on his shoulders in such a way that the decorative atarah disappears and the white linen lining is exposed. That’s alright, except that the “right” side of the tallis is a beautiful beige and black silk. I should re-line the tallis in the same silk! Actually, a good design would never allow these things to happen. Watching Ken, watch a man daub him, before anything he is a man in a man’s body.

He winds the tefillin straps firmly against his left arm, and knowingly wrapping his hand. He places the strange, little rosh box on his head, and then finishes off the special wrappings on his hands and fingers. And now, he turns into the prayer book and unconsciously sways and rocks as he reads his way through the morning prayers.

A Jewish man at prayer.