Gift Wrapped

Jun 26th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Prayer
In honor of S.S.: “Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be Totafot between your eyes. And write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates (Devarim 6:8-9).”

It is difficult for me to find a gift for my wife; her tastes are measured by “her country,” not Yeshiva Lane. I have been successful from time to time only to confront an even greater challenge: wrapping the gift. I found a website that guides you in the actual wrapping, but I’m having a challenge with the bow. I spent more time tying and retying the ribbon than I did choosing the gift. The card is ready. The paper is (almost) perfectly folded, but I can’t get the bow just right. Is it as important as the gift? No, but Debbie is familiar with my artistic limitations and a bow tied perfectly by me would reflect the enormous effort in presenting the gift.

I finally decided to leave the bow askew because it would be proof that I, not a professional, wrapped the gift. The bow and paper will last only for the moment it takes my wife to read the card, and then she’ll rip it all apart, but the wrapping is a sign of the care that went into the presentation of the gift.

I wrap a present six days a week. I tie a knot that will not last long past my prayers. The way I tie the knot is a sign of how much care I put into wrapping my “gift,” my whole heart, all my feelings, dedicated to God.

I watch as people mechanically wrap their Tefillin each morning. They are as skilled as the professional gift-wrappers, but I remember that the Mitzvah is the tying. I am tying up my gift. It will be unwrapped when I finish praying. The special connection of that moment when I present the gift will physically pass, but the sign, the care I put into tying the knot, will echo throughout the day.

Permanently? No, but then it is a sign, not permanent like a tattoo, but a sign of where my heart is at this moment.

When I realize how much I care about the presentation of my “gift,” how my entire heart is focused on God, I slide my shirt sleeve over the sign; it is personal and intimate. A powerful sign that I cannot violate by allowing others to see.

That moment of intimacy allows me to take all the different compartments, Totafot, of my mind; the ones that are focused on paying my bills, personal issues, questions etc. and point them all in one direction, at least while I pray. The compartments are unified by my passion for connection to God.

The gift wrap, the bow, my feelings, unifying the compartments…all dependent on my prayer. I want it to last. I desire that powerful connection to last and define my day, so I want my home to reflect that passion. I look at m home as the carefully considered gift that needs the perfect wrapping, even with an imperfect bow. I want to preserve the gift and its wrapping, so I inscribe this feeling on every part of my home, and I walk within my wrapped gift, and find that I can live my life as a gift: This particular gift; the one I wrapped this morning.

Author Info:

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