Monday, June 11, 2012

Don't Forget




In this weeks Torah portion, Shelach, is the commandment to wear the fringes,the tzitzit, the threads attached to the corner of our garments-- symbolic reminders of our obligation to observe the commandments. Each thread, each knot, each twist and turn of the threads have become reminders of the 613 commandments in the Torah.
The portion describes that there is a blue thread in the middle of the tzitzit. Tradition teaches this blue thread came from the dye made of a sea animal. But the actual source is unknown to us, although there are some who claim they know and some archaeological digs that have discovered heaps of shells of a certain sea creature. 
 Why do we wear tzitzit? Is the answer found in the unique, blue color, Techelet?  The color “is like the sea, the sea is like the sky and the sky like the throne of glory.” (Menahot 43b).  So, wearing tzitzit reminds us of God’s presence. Techelet-dyed cloth was a valued item throughout the Ancient World. In many places it was a symbol of status and power.
 Today you will see individuals with a blue thread and also traditionally for centuries, the threads have been white. 
Many traditions have their symbols of connections. The Tallit and Tzizit remind us of the embrace of God and the covenant of our people.
A baraita taught: “That you may look upon [the fringe] and remember all the commandments of Adonai”: this commandment is of equal weight to all the other commandments combined.--(Babylonian Talmud, Menahot, 43b)

This passage about the Tzitzit, the fringes, teaches us to love God and study God’s teachings. We’re given a way to ensure that those teachings become a part of our life. “Look at the fringes and remember...”

So, the tzitzit becomes like a string tied around one’s finger, in that it is a cue to remember and achieve certain goals, and things that are too important to forget.


I read that when an astronaut travels into space, techelet is the last color they see before the blackness of space…a thread of blue, because it represents God’s color, God’s presence.

During the First Zionist Congress, it was unanimously decided that the Israeli Flag be blue and white, the same colors as Tzitzit. The Flag is the Tallit of the State of Israel. 

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