Shabbat Ha-azinu 5782

The very first tallit clips I had–you know, the thing that keeps my tallit from sliding off my non-existent shoulders–had sweet words on each clasp. “Like an eagle who rouses its nestlings, gliding down to its young.” Those words are half of a verse in this week’s Torah portion, Ha-azinu. The verse continues speaking of the eagle: “So did [God] spread wings and take them, bear them along on pinions” (Deuteronomy 32:11).
Those tallit clips have long since broken under the strain of frequent use. But I still remember the design, and the words, especially because they were part of a song on one of the first Jewish lullaby tapes we received as a gift when Jordie was born. It has been years since I thought of that song, but a YouTube search dug up several arrangements, including this sweet one:
Click here for Yonatan Shainfeld’s version
The melody was written by Dr. Philip Donn, and the words come from the siddur. This is what many Jews say when putting on a tallit: “May my soul, spirit, breath and prayer be rescued from externalities. May [God] save them as an eagle who rouses its nestlings, gliding down to its young.”
In that moment when a Jew–male or female–is putting on a tallit, the garment hovers over his or her head before resting on the shoulders. It evokes the soothing image of God hovering over us in sheltering protection. Now you can see why those words graced my much beloved tallit clips, and why a song with those words would hover over a baby being fed in a rocking chair. I’m glad for the memories this verse triggers. I hope you feel God’s sheltering presence in these words as well.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 6:09 PM
Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 32:1-52
Haftarah: II Samuel 22:1-51