Here is Adin Steinsaltz, perhaps the pre-eminent Talmud scholar of our times, speaking about the many different paths to Jewish practice:
“We believe that the Law has at least 600,000 different paths within it for individuals to enter. There is what is called ‘the private gate’ for each of us. And we each have to find our own gate.”
I’m convinced that one of those paths is sewing. And that sewing plays a role in many paths. I’m remembering the Torah passage about the Israelites in the desert building the Tabernacle, the tent that housed the Ark of the Covenant. The building of the Tabernacle, God said, would allow him to dwell among His people:
Everyone who excelled in ability and everyone whose spirit moved him came, bringing to the Lord his offering for the work of the Tent of Meeting and for all its service and for the sacral vestments…And everyone who had in his possession blue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, goats’ hair, tanned ram skins, and dolphin skins, brought them…And all the skilled women spun with their own hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen. And all the women who excelled in that skill spun the goats’ hair.
Then all the skilled among those engaged in the work made the tabernacle of ten strips of cloth, which they made of fine twisted linen, blue, purple, and crimson yarns; into this they worked a design of cherubim…They made loops of blue wool on the edge of the outermost cloth of one set, and did the same on the edge of the outermost cloth of the other set…And they made fifty gold clasps and coupled the units to one another with the clasps, so that the tabernacle became one whole…They made cloths of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle…They made the curtain of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen, working into it a design of cherubim…they made the screen for the entrance of the Tent, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine twisted linen, done in embroidery…(From Exodus chapters 35 and 36, The Jewish Bible: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures.)
(From Exodus chapters 35 and 36, The Jewish Bible: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures.)
If you’ve read my About page, you know that sewing — specifically, sewing a matzah cover for Passover — provided one of my first steps on the path to Jewish practice.
I wish you Godspeed on the journey along your own path.
[Image: Bordadora con Lampara by Cristóbal Rojas (1889) via Wikimedia Commons)