Upon giving a bar mitzvah tallit to his son, Rabbi Menachem Creditor penned an insightful “meditation.”
“Maybe once you wear this tallit, perhaps on a day when no one else is watching, you and I will be able to talk about how it felt,” he writes. He shares with his son “an understanding gained over time that a tallit is not only an object of beauty. Jewish hands have sometimes trembled holding our holy objects.”
“I give you this tallit,” Rabbi Creditor concludes, “with a heart full of hope and full of anticipation for the person you are becoming.”
The essence of the tallit is the tzitzit. In his book of responsa, Az Nidberu, Rabbi Binyamin Zilber zt”l writes that all of the mitzvahs ennoble the person who fulfills them, but some, namely tzitzit, are among the primary means of accepting the yoke of Heaven.
He cites the Rambam, who notes that the mitzvah of tzitzit causes one to carry out all of the other mitzvahs in a complete way.
If so, giving a son a bar mitzvah tallit with kosher tzitzit is an ideal way to set him off on the right foot.
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