Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Learn from a Knot

Learn from a Knot


by Reb Gutman Locks


     What can we possibly learn from a knot? The Torah says that we are to look at the tzitzit (Torah commanded fringes) “So that you may remember and perform all My commandments and be holy to your G-d”[i]

     There are a number of different customs for tying tzitzit. The custom pictured here teaches us the deepest secrets of Torah. In many places the Zohar (Jewish mysticism) tells us that Hashem fills and surrounds all worlds.

     In the tzitzit there are four columns that are separated by knots. Look at the thread that wraps tightly around, and forms these columns. It wraps around the column closest to the garment 7 times, the next column 8 times, the third column 11 times, and the lowest column 13 times.

     The gematria (numerical equivalent) of the first two letters of the Name “Hashem” equals 15. This is the same as the number of wrappings of the first two columns. The gematria of the last two letters of this Holy Name is 11 which is the same as the number of wrappings of the next column. The word “Echad” (One) has the gematria of 13 which is the number of wrappings in the fourth column. So by gematria we see that the tzitzit are telling us that Hashem is One.

     But even deeper… look at the thread that wraps around and forms those four columns. Now look at the thread that forms the “chain” that spirals around and runs along the columns. The thread that wraps around and forms the columns is the same thread that forms the “chain” that surrounds and spirals along the columns!  That one thread both fills and surrounds the columns.

     So it is with Hashem, the Holy One. Not only is Hashem one, but He fills and surrounds all.

     “You have been shown in order to know that Hashem, He is the G-d! There is none beside Him!”[ii]


[i] Numbers 37:40

[ii] Deuteronomy 4:35

1 comment:

  1. It is not uncommon that the last knot tends to become loose, so it is a good idea to examine them each morning and tighten what needs to be fixed.

    On a more meditative level, we pray in the Amida "VeKabtzteinu Yachad m'arba Kanfos haArets LeArtzeinu"
    (bring us togrther from the four corners of the Land to Our Land)

    In Tanya, the Alter Rebbe says that the word 'Arets' is related to 'Ratzon' = 'Will'

    In another area of Tanya, the Alter Rebbe mentions that the Soul can wander into undesirable areas, each designated by one of the four states of being; Earth Air, Fire, Water, (or in more modern terms, Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma Energy):
    Too much 'Earth' can lead to laziness and depression; Too much 'Water', to indulgence in material pleasures; Too much 'Fire' to anger and aggression; Too much 'Air', to vanity and arrogance.

    Perhaps the prayer in the Amida, we ask that if we have wandered astray on one or more of these areas of Will, to be returned to performing G-D's Will.

    With regard to the Arbo Kanfos Tziztis,
    maybe when we see a knot that is loose, it could be that we are 'loose' in that area of Will, and need some tightening.

    I haven't seen this written anywhere, and am wondering if there might be some correlation with each of the Arba Kanfos, to each of the 'Wills'.

    If you do know of such a connection, please elaborate.




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