The Attached Cover
I was surprised to find another hint toward the etymology of Tefillah in this past week’s portion. “Any open vessel that has no attached cover – Tzamid Patil – is contaminated.” (Numbers 19:16)
Patil shares the same root as Tefillah: P-T-L. We are familiar with the connection between the two words from “Sacred schemes have I maneuvered,” (Genesis 30:8 In Hebrew: “Naftulai Elokim Niftalti” again the same root of P-T-L. God created the Primal Human in a straight manner. He corrupted and confused himself. He twisted himself up in knots, as a Petil – a thread. Tefillah is the untying of the knots and straightening ourselves out. (Peirush Maharzu on Bereishit Rabbah 52:13)
Onkelos and Rashi understand the relationship with a Petil – thread – as connecting the different parts of our lives together.
The Tzamid Patil – Attached cover – in this past portion, hints to P-T-L as attachment: Tefillah is our means to attach to our Creator.
In Jewish Law we can connect only similar species – Min b’mino. We must be “similar” to God in order to attach. We must use our prayers to bring an abundance of life and positive influence to all of God’s creation.
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