The Wimpel and Its Impact on the Mosaic Law Family
Time has passed and our lives have taken turns in the road. The evolvement of the wimpel project has held to its vital course in tandem. This age old folk art tradition has made an impact in our homes, hearts and spiritual growth. Our Jewish achievements have been recorded and artistically embellished on our individual wimpelin.
They have been created for newly wedded couples (1), families maturing through various stages of growth (2) , B'nai Mitzvah youth (3), and newborn children. (4) The unique identities of the individual, couple, family or community organization are painted onto their wimpelin. Adequate space remains on each wimpel for future information. Photographs of many of these wimpelin can be seen on the pages to follow.
With each simcha, we witness the wrapping of these special binders around a Torah scroll. To enhance the setting, family and friends are invited. A Rabbi, Jewish scholar or teacher elevates the atmosphere, with words of welcome and inspiration. **
The custom of the wimpel has been utilized from simcha to simcha in the lives of a number of families. These couples have repeated the wrapping of the Torah for the births of their offspring, their B'nai Mitzvah youths, later the marriages of adult children and the births of grandchildren, thus carrying the original intent into the third generation. Often significant goals of scholarship and good deeds performed in the community are included as cause to celebrate, each done in gratitude for its intrinsic gift. An interesting phenomenon occurred within one family while researching their genealogical data. Before their upcoming Bat Mitzvah simcha, during the often stressful time of the planning, a special bonding experience occurred, thus making the whole period that much more meaningful.
There is a profound feeling generated by the use of this simple, yet vital tool, that lifts us spiritually. It begins during the process of creation, through the unique ritual of binding the Torah scroll*, and in conclusion, during its communal sharing with the congregation during the upcoming Shabbat service.
The wimpel has taken on many qualities. It is a unique object that seems to literally transmit the feeling of binding ones essence to the Torah. It is a graphic replication of identity. As time passes, it becomes a record of chronological genealogy. When embellished properly, it can be seen as a work of art
(1) Cheron- Shapiro, Burton - Melnick, Stolow-Erle, Cohan-Ortego (2) Fishbein, Pimstone
(3) Arenson, Pollack, Taff (4) Kaplan
*The Torah binding ceremony has its own ritual and identity. On Thursday or Friday afternoon preceding the individual/family Shabbat simcha, ones family and close friends, are invited to the synagogue for the binding the Torah scroll. The Rabbi sets the tone of the occasion, leading the ceremony with meaningful words for the individual/family, while the scroll is being bound by the wimpels owner(s). When the observance is completed and the scroll is properly returned to the Aron Hakodesh, a feeling of celebration has been created for the upcoming simcha, not only for the owner of the wimpel, but all who are present. In celebration, the Shechianu may be recited, a drink L'chaim enjoyed and a donation to the Rabbi's discretionary fund discreetly made.
**Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law Congregation, Sacramento. CA
Mr. Charles Nadler of Chabad of Sacramento, CA