The story began when I bought a lovely tallit hoping it would be a segula (a good omen) for my boyfriend and me to get married. It wasn’t. But I didn’t get rid of it. It found a hiding place in each of my homes since then. After years of this, I realized it had become heavy emotional baggage, partially because it was a dark secret.
I decided to make it the opposite of a secret. I wrote a post on Times of Israel about my tallit segula and my new desire to rid myself of it. This post was received so warmly. As a result I tapped into the romantic side of segulas and learned that sometimes they are prayers and hopes and that is sweet. Some readers also gave me ideas of who to give the tallit to.
By then I was ambivalent. Did I still want to get rid of the tallit? Maybe I liked owning it. Alas, another post, this time more light-hearted, comparing segulas to candy.
One reader had suggested donating the tallit to Yad Eliezer, an organization in Jerusalem which raises funds and collects goods for needy engaged couples. It felt like a good option.
Still unsure what to do, I emailed a woman at the organization and she replied that they’d be very happy to receive the tallit.
By then there were more factors to consider. To my pleasant surprise, the talisman tallis post had been a catalyst for me meeting a man. Maybe in that case it really was best to keep the darn thing around.
And so I held onto it for another couple of weeks.
Passing it on
Over that period of time, things were complicated and I realized the fear aspect of segulas was affecting me again (read the first post). I decided I wanted to follow through on my original decision, despite my mixed feelings about it. I also kept feeling like action was preferable over status quo. The tallit was sitting on my desk staring at me. I wasn’t ready to put it back on top of my closet but it couldn’t just stay where it was.
So I did it. I found a summer dress in my closet that comes to the knee. I stuffed a shrug into my purse so I could cover my shoulders while in the charedi neighbourhood. I walked to the bus stop and sat down to wait.
Then I realized I’d forgotten the tallit at home. Was it a sign? Should I push it off to another day?
No, no. It just was what it was. I walked back home, grabbed the plastic bag with the beautiful, (like-)new tallit bag, tefillin bag and tallit and headed back to the bus stop.
After getting off the bus, I put on my shrug and followed Google Maps to the location. I got a little lost (a sign??) and then found the organization.
A young woman welcomed me. I told her why I’d come. She was very thankful. She introduced me to the woman I’d been in touch with by email.
At the peak of my visit, three women were standing around me saying that a very needy couple would be so happy to receive the tallit and bags, that they would pray for me, that they had a man to set me up with (the irony) and that the tallit and bags were indeed of very good taste.
The question I’d been hoping to avoid did come up. How did I come to own this tallit? I smiled and said it’s a whole story and I had it written down. The English speaker amongst them gave me her email address so I could send her the original post.
I was then kissed, thanked again, had matchmaking mentioned again, water offered to me and then I was back on the quiet street.
Good, I thought as I walked to the train. The tallit was undoubtedly in good hands.
But I miss it…
Good. I’d changed the status quo.
But I was sad it hadn’t changed in the way I’d hoped.
The next morning I sent the woman the link to the post about the talisman tallis, worried she’d think the tallit was cursed.
Instead she wrote back the sweetest note. Here is part of it:
People say donating to hachnassat kallah for a needy couple is also a “segula” to get married so I guess you never know…
Thank you again for donating the most beautiful tallis.
And may you see the happy ending ASAP
We are praying for you!
I laughed when I learned I’d traded one segula for another.
That is the tentative ending of this story. The tallit is now part of a new story. And my decisions have created new meaningful experiences for me and amazingly continue to do so.
This story has turned out to be simply one chapter of many in the Book of Love.