Monday, October 10, 2011

Yom Kippur, the Mezuzah and Tzitzit

Yom Kippur

Last Friday night through Saturday was Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement.  It was a day of personal reflection, repentance and for some, fasting.

A friend gave me a beautiful olive wood mezuzah (similar to the one below) several month ago, and I have been meaning to hang it up.  The hold up was that it did not come with the scroll, and I wanted to write the scroll, in Hebrew and in English to place inside.  I finally did in on Yom Kippur and it feels so good to have it up!

For those who don't know, the mezuzah is made to fulfil part of the mitzvah commanded in Deut. 6:4-9.  This passage is called the Shema, because the first word of it in Hebrew is Shema which means "hear, understand and obey."

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."   

The most literal interpretation would be to actually write the words on the doorposts, which I would actually love to do someday when I have a house with nice looking door posts/frame and I can afford some wall art.
For now a mezuzah will have to do.

So I wrote out that whole passage in Hebrew and as I went I used my Hebrew word pictures book to learn the names of the letters.  Then I wrote it in English on the other side.  We read the passage outloud and I told the girls that I was hanging it up so that we can always remember to keep YHWH's commands as we come and go from our house.


Last year, I started wearing tzitzit.  In Orthodox Judaism, women do not wear tzitzit, but I do not hold to their traditions, but instead try to follow what the Torah actually says.  The Torah says for "All the children of Israel..." to wear them, so as I child grafted into the family of Israel, that means me.  However, I lost my tzitzit when we moved from Oregon and I haven't replaced them for the last 10 months.  I kept thinking that for sure I would run across them and then even when I was sure they were lost for good..... I just got lazy and didn't bother to order new ones.  Well, on Sunday (after Yom Kippur, since we do not buy or sell on the Sabbath), I ordered some new ones.   

I really liked wearing them when I did so before.  It was nice to always have a physical reminder that YHWH is Echad, his love for me, and his commands. 

No comments:

Post a Comment