My Grandfather and Father’s Talis (Prayer Shawl)

As a Rabbi who performs intimate and memorable life cycle events, I was recently engaged to officiate a wedding of two wonderful young people in the Bahamas. Among the many things we discussed in preparing for this blessed event was the wedding ceremony itself. The bride to be was asking about the Chuppa (Wedding Canopy) and what it entailed. I shared with her many different options and she asked whether we could use a Talis (Prayer Shawl). I said we could and asked if she had one in her family that she wanted to use. She said she did not and inquired whether I did.

That question evoked some very intense emotions inside me. The answer was a simple yes to the bride, but for me it evoked some amazing emotions. I was able to reflect on a dear friend, Jeff, whose father was able to locate the Torah (Bible) he grew up with in pre-Nazi Germany, arranged to have it brought to the USA, fully restored (which they honored me to oversee) and had his oldest grandchild read from at her Bat Mitzvah. Leo, a great man, died shortly after. I share this with you as I feel that regardless of our ethnicity, passing ritual items through the generations is what binds us to our heritage. I never knew my Grandfather, but when I wear his Talis it is though he is with me through the many photos I have and the stories I have been told.

So I will carry my Grandfather and Father’s Talis with me to the Bahamas and they will be present when the Bride and Groom exchange their vows and express their love for one another in creating their new family and starting their own legacy to their heirs in the days to come.

My prayer for you today is that you embrace those items from your ancestors and find ways to use them in your life that gives meaning to them and creates meaning for you.

I am a modern and independent Rabbi with an MSW Degree and 24+ years of sobriety providing addiction counseling focusing on healing, spiritual guidance and personalized life cycle events. If you, a family member or friend are in need of my services, please contact me at 954-755-3764 to get the help you deserve.

Hugs and Blessings,

Rabbi Mitch

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