For those not in the know (and until yesterday, I counted myself among you), yesterday marked the first day of a new month on the Jewish calendar: Elul.
The morning begins like any other: our toddler twins wake up screaming, I change diapers, prepare breakfast, play with them, get them dressed, and call my parents so that they’ll Skype with them while I shower and give me time to actually wash my hair. As I get the computer ready and open the door to the bedroom, wherein our linen closet lies, to find a towel, I realize that this morning is not like all others. It’s the first of Elul.
I enter the bedroom and find my husband Marco wrapped in the tallis (prayer shawl) my parents bought him for our wedding, and my father’s tefillin (phylacteries). Two Judaic reference books lay open on our bed, illuminated by the glow of his iPad, which is on. It’s his first time laying tefillin, and he’s trying to follow the rules.
I’ve come in to hustle him into the shower—I need to get ready before the babysitter arrives so I can start my workday on time, and he needs to shower first and get out the door! But seeing him dressed in the regalia of full Judaic manhood stops me in my tracks.
“Oh—I’m sorry,” I murmur, slightly embarrassed that I’ve walked in on him this way.
He looks up from the texts. I notice a YouTube video streaming on the iPad: How to Lay Tefillin. “This is going to take some time,” he says.
I restore his privacy by closing the door.
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