A Prayer Before Knitting

Recently, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg challenged us all to engage in a spiritual practice – any spiritual practice – whatever made sense to us, to keep us engaged and sane during this time of pandemic.

If you have a spiritual practice, this would be a good time to double down on it.

If you don’t have a spiritual practice, this wouldn’t be the worst time to start one.

My spiritual practice is knitting – and so I decided to record the prayer that I try to say when I’m knitting for someone in need.

When I began this practice of knitting-as-healing-prayer, I looked for prayers written by others. Everything I could find was written from a Christian perspective, which is fine…except I’m Jewish.

So I wrote my own, and when I’m knitting for someone in need I make sure to exchange my usual media for something a little less…extreme, and I make sure I have comfy clothing and some hot tea and I forbid myself to doomscroll.

I take a few minutes to breathe and make sure I’m calm, and then I pray and begin to knit.

When I engage in gemilut chasadim – this act of lovingkindness – I reap the benefits of mindfulness and meditation for myself even as I create a tangible piece of love for another.

I sit and
I breathe and
I reach for my yarn and
I move my hands with intent. Yarn flows around my needles
Like the winding of tefillin –
like a ritual before prayer
that in itself becomes the sacred. Holy One of Blessing,
witness every stitch that I create.
May each one count as a petition
that You grant (____) r’fuah sh’leimah. May You knit up (____)’s body
As I knit this (____).
May you comfort (____)’s soul
Through the warmth of this gift. Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe,  who gives us the ability to create as an act of loving-kindness.

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