Shelach: Something to Notice

Bamidbar/Numbers 15:37-41 is found in most prayerbooks at the third paragraph of Torah study after the Shema:

…Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments through the ages; let them attach a chord of blue to the fringe at each corner….”

It is interesting to note that Mishkan T’filah [tent/sanctuary of prayer], the Reform movement’s new (2007) siddur, restores this passage, with the following explanation:

This text was omitted from many Reform prayer books when it was not customary for Reform Jews to don tallitot [prayer shawls, with fringes on the corners] for prayer. Now that many Reform Jews find meaning in this custom, Mishkan T’filah has restored the full paragraph as an optional recitation.

Fringe-Gathering Meditation

Siddur Birkat Shalom offers the following meditation on this passage:

And God said to us: Israel, speak with one another. Take action from My thoughts and give voice to the longings of My heart. Choose ways to fashion My laws and to obey them, and in doing so, let yourselves draw closer to your source. Gather up some things that will remind you of Me, things that speak of the earth and the sky, solid and shimmering, light sand and blue air. Perhaps the reeds moving in the wind, a bird’s feather and a small polished stone, white narcissus with blue hyacinth. Whatever these things may be, agree upon them. Choose them together and be one people. Love Me, observe My commandments and be holy. I am your God; I have brought you out of Egypt again and again. Seek to know Me; I am your God. (p.48b)


For more info on Siddur Birkat Shalom, read this post and/or visit this page. Here is further discussion of variation in prayer books and information on Mishkan T’filah.

The “Opening the Book” series was originally presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group that for many years pursued spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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