Saturday, March 29, 2008

ravaj does tefillin


i have always found the sight and thought of tefillin to be a little bit scary. the tightness with which most people wrap the straps around their arms, the flesh bulging between the leather lines, made me very uncomfortable. since women are not required to lay tefillin (although they may if they wish), and as a reform and progressive jew i never saw or knew anyone who laid tefillin until i went to israel, i did not feel compelled to have anything to do with them.

ever since i became the ravaj, however, it has occurred to me that it is against my principles to reject something out of hand without knowing anything about it. now and then i would ask someone to show me how to do it when they had a moment, but it never seemed to happen. then it occurred to me that i should at least know how in case someone comes to me and asks me how. but it never seemed to happen.

earlier in the year, i asked one of my colleagues at school to show me. last week he said that he had not forgotten, and would i like to come in early on friday and he would show me. and i did. and he did. it wasn't as weird as i had thought it would be. it did not feel uncomfortable, even though the leather left red strap-marks on my arm when i removed it after only a few minutes. then i had to go straight into solo teaching as my mentor was away, and had no time to reflect further, or sit with how it felt. i may have to try again!

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