Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Gathering: A Dream of Reunion

והביאנו לשלום מארבע כנפות הארץ, ותוליכנו קוממיות לארצנו

Bring us in peace from the four corners of the earth and lead us upright to our land…

tzitzit old shoe womanOn reciting this line, worshipers traditionally gather the four tzitzit that are draped around them on their talitot. The act of bringing them together reflects the historic longing for reunification as a people, for our return to the land.

After my trip to Israel in June 2011, I began to see myself as the first tzitzit, quite literally thinking of my return to the land of our ancestors as I held that first fringe. The second tzitzit became my family, joining me in this holy place. The third: my worship community. Finally, K’lal Yisroel. And so, we would all return home, together, reunited after millenia. The result is a meditation with a dreamlike quality, beginning with the yearning for Israel that’s in each of us. Here’s my dream, one tzitzit at a time. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

Gathering: A Dream of Reunion
והביאנו לשלום מארבע כנפות הארץ
ותוליכנו קוממיות לארצנו

Bring us in peace from the four corners of the earth
And lead us upright to our land…

First Tzitzit – Gathering fringes
The first knotted string in hand,
I imagine the journey home,
Home to the land of our mothers and fathers,
Holy and full of promise, labor and love,
To build a life of wonder and awe.
This is me.
This is my pilgrimage to sacred soil.
This is my dream of holiness and redemption.
I am the first tzitzit.
I am returning home.

Second Tzitzit – Gathering hearts
The second fraying string in hand,
I imagine my children, my family, my household
Returning with me to our homeland
To build and to renew our ancestral blood.
This is my family.
This is our journey to hallowed ground.
This is our wholeness and rebirth.
We are the second tzitzit.
We are returning home.

Third Tzitzit – Gathering moments
The third worn string in hand,
I imagine you, my community, my kahal,
Returning together to our Source and Shelter,
To consecrate the ancient land and our holy vow.
This is my village.
This is our journey to mystery and majesty.
This is our bond of ages.
We are the third tzitzit.
We are returning home.

Final Tzitzit – Gathering millennia
The final woolen string in hand,
I imagine all of us, from all corners of the Earth,
Returning with songs of praise and rejoicing,
To claim our place among the nation of Israel.
This is my people.
This is our journey of destiny.
This is our covenant.
We are the tzitzit, separate no more.
We are returning home.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: For me, this dream points toward aliyah. Even if I settle in Israel, it will remain a dream, a prayer of longing. For in truth, my children do not see themselves as the second tzitzit. They’re not coming with. Not now. Perhaps not later, either. Even as I move toward aliyah, this will remain my wildest hope for me and my children. It will remain my deepest yearning for you and all of Israel. We will each arrive when the time is right. Click here for more prayers and meditations about Israel.

Thanks to Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder for challenging me to think about how this meditation might be heard by those who are not on a path to aliyah. My sense is that for some, the yearning for Israel is a prayer for the future of our people. For others, it’s a journey to the land. And for others, it’s the longing for a new Zion, where the diversity and beauty of all Jewish expression is nurtured and celebrated. The dream may be quite different for each of us. Yet each vision, each idea is somehow part of the same dream. We must each create our own place in the nation, the people and the State of Israel.

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Photo Source: Old Shoe Woman (On Flickr)


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