Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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An Antidote to Anger: Insights on Tsitsis

by Reb Aharon @ Mystical Paths

[ We introduce a new author, Reb Aharon.  Reb Aharon is going to provide some deeper insights into select Torah topics, with a focus on a touch of the mystical side.  Please let us know what you think of his efforts. ]

tzitzitIn the Shulchon Oruch (Code of Jewish Law) it says [Be'er Heytev on Hilchos Tsitsis] that the word ציצת – Tsitsis (ritual fringe strings worn by religious Jews), stands for צדיק יפריד ציציותיו תמיד - Tsaddik Yafrid Tsitsiosov Tomid - that a righteous person always separates the strings of his Tsitsis. A puzzling statement to say the least.

There are a few things one might ascribe to a righteous person: a righteous person never gets angry, he always walks with G-d, etc, but separating his Tsitsis?  Somehow doesn't fit.. something's missing.. an explanation perhaps?

We know that the garment of the Tsitsis, the בגד, should be the same colour as the Tsitsis themselves [- this is the reason for the black stripes traditionally put on the otherwise white garment, corresponding to the colour of the Techeles (blue/indigo dye from 'chilazon' - aquatic creature) strings amongst the other pure white strings].

The Ari HaQodosh says that a segulah against getting angry is to look at the Tsitsis. A possible explanation for this on a level we can understand might be that the actual Tsitsis garment represents unity, the unity of all souls, which together make up one complete soul. In the garment per se, there is no separation. It is only at the corners that it separates into the four gedillim, [the four tightly wound parts of the fringes], these corresponding to the four Chayos of the Merkovoh, the four main archetypal souls.

(Thus the name of this garment is בגד, the first 3 letters of the Alef-Beis after the Alef. The Alef refers to G-d. The ב,ג,ד, directly following, refer to the enclothing of His Light in the Neshomoh.) And then afterwards they separate into the strings,  symbolizing all the different souls of B'nei Yisroel.

A person, if angered, should remember that we are all part of one big soul; the person who angered you is ultimately part of you, you are one  with that person, part of that big one soul. Look at the source. We are all one. This helps to dissipate and diffuse the anger.

So coming back to our original statement, צדיק יפריד ציציותיו תמיד - Tsaddik Yafrid Tsitsiosov Tomid, a righteous person separates his Tsitsis strings; he appreciates that each person is a holy entity; though the righteous person can truly see and appreciate that we are all one, he also sees that each and every person is a Tselem Elokim,  each a different and unique manifestation of the collective Neshomoh of Yisroel. And G-d wants that manifestation, the manifestation of His Unity through the myriad expressions of His Infinite Light.

The Midrash states that when Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses our teacher) pleaded on behalf of B'nei Yisroel after the sin of the golden calf, G-d 'wrapped Himself in a Tallis, like a Shaliach Tsibbur [- congregation leader of prayers]' and said the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.  The Tallis symbolizes the collective Neshomoh of Bnei Yisroel.

Only when a child disobeys the father, is the father able to display that deep element of love that sees no transgression; it is through the misdemeanor that we see a fuller manifestation of the father's love for the child.

When B'nei Yisroel sinned, G-d was 'able' to show his greater Love, revealing His 13 Attributes. Thus, he 'wrapped Himself in a Tallis', enclothed Himself in the Soul of Bnei Yisroel, and pronounced His Thirteen Middos of Loving Mercy.

These 13 Middos are in G-d in Absolute Unity [Koznitser Maggid], an allusion to that can be seen in the gematriah of שלוש עשרה (the word thirteen) which [with its' letters] is the same as שמע ישרא' ד' אלקינו ד' אחד. (Hear O’ Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One.)  They then dissipate in their revelation to thirteen, much the same as the Tsitsis from the garment.

And so we find that the number of times of windings in each individual fringe is gematriah ד' אחד - G-d is One. The אחד - One is gematriah 13, an allusion to the Thirteen Middos.

The word אחד symbolizes the Tsitsis: the Alef [Unity] refers to the garment, the Ches [numerical value of eight] refers to the 8 Tsitsis on each corner, and the Daled [numerical value of four] to the four corners. and 1 x 8 x 4 = 32, the number of Tsitsis altogether, the number of times the Holy Name of Elokim is mentioned in Creation, the number that alludes to the manifestation of G-d's Unity through the many, G-d's Will.

Thus the Tsaddik will separate his Tsitsis, alluding to the complete revelation of G-d's Absolute Unity through His myriad creations.

1 comment:

  1. 32=lamed bet, "heart", also.
    very nice piece, thanks.


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