Behind the Jewish Blessing Flags
Blessed to have traveled and trekked in the Himalayas several times between 2003-09, FTJ founder, Ilana Schatz, was repeatedly moved by the image of Tibetan prayer flags flying over homes and mountain passes, carrying their message of compassion, joy, long life, and prosperity.
These experiences inspired the development of FTJ’s set of Jewish Blessing Flags. “Blessing” flags because the first word of traditional Jewish prayers is “Baruch“, meaning “Blessed”. In the Torah, G-d urges Abraham and all who followed him, “V’heyeh bracha/You shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2). Today, each of us can strive to live our lives so that we are a blessing in the world around us.
In the Tibetan tradition, prayers are carried on the wind. The Hebrew word for “wind” is “ruach”, which is also translated as “spirit” or “breath”, as if the blessings of our spirit are carried in the wind.
This set of Jewish Blessing Flags celebrates seven key values in the Jewish tradition:
- Ahavah (Love)
- Rachamim (Compassion)
- Chesed (Lovingkindness)
- Shalom (Peace, Wholeness)
- Refuah (Healing)
- Kavod (Respect)
- Tzedek (Justice)
The colors and imagery of the Blessing Flags are based on ancient Jewish tradition (Exodus 28:1-8, 33-34). The High Priest’s garments were primarily blue, purple, and scarlet, and the tunic hem was adorned with embroidered bells and pomegranates. The hamsa (hand image) is a symbol of blessing and protection in many Near and Middle Eastern traditions, including Judaism. Also known as the “Hand of Miriam”, it is often used for protection in amulets and other ritual items. Five (hamesh in Hebrew) represents the five books of the Torah.
The blessing flags were produced by Mahaguthi, a fair trade organization in Nepal, according to fair trade standards, which reflect Jewish values of economic justice, fair treatment of workers, environmental sustainability, and consumer responsibility.
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