In the last portion of parshas Shelach the Torah discusses the parsha of tzitzis. The pasuk says (15; 39) ‘This shall be fringes for you, and when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of Hashem to perform them, and you shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes after which you are going astray.’
Rashi quotes a gemarah in Menachos that says the ticheles reminds a person of the sea, the sea then reminds one of the heavens. Finally, the heaven makes one think about the Kiseh HaKavod. What the gemarah is saying is that when we look at our ticheles it reminds us of the Ribono Shel Olam; this thought prevents us from transgressing aveiros, chas v’shalom.
There was once an irreligious professor who walked into the Mir and went over to Reb Yerucham Levovitz, Zt”l and questioned this gemarah. He asked him- is it really possible for someone who wears tzitzis to constantly ‘see the image of God’, because the blue reminds them of the sea, the sea of heaven and heaven of the Almighty?
Rav Yeruchum pulled out a Shulchan Aruch and read him the following law: A man may not gaze at a cloths line that has the garments of a woman on it as it will cause his mind to wander. Reb Yeruchum asks the professor, do you have a difficult time understanding this halacha?
The Mashgiach Z”tl was bringing out an important yesod. A person whose mind is leaning towards lewdness needs a slight nag and then his mind will wonder into the wrong places. However, a yid- all he has to do is get a little push in the opposite direction because his mind is always leaning towards Torah. If a person‘s mind is leaning towards something all day, all he needs is a small reminder for his thoughts to shift back to where they naturally go.
A person whose mind is directed towards ruchniyos-will automatically associate his mind with that, with just a small reminder. A person who internalizes that small ‘sign’, will automatically associate his techeles with the Ribono Shel Olam.
Rabbi Yechezkel Panet, the Mareh Yechezkel, relates the following story which drives home this point.
There was a man who sent his son to the marketplace to buy some fruit. At the marketplace there was a young girl who was selling fruit. All the while he was trying to purchase some fruits he was avoiding looking at the girl. He asked her for a watermelon and when she gave him one it seemed not to fit his appetite. Perhaps it was spoiled he thought, and decided to go to another vendor. As he turned to leave, without making a purchase, she turns to him and said ‘excuse me, you’re not going to buy anything from me?’ Caught off guard he looked up at her, apologized and turned to go back home.
Upon entering his house the boy broke down in tears and told his father that he had unintentionally looked at the girl and he transgressed the sin of not looking at woman unless it’s for marriage purposes; he was inconsolable. His father tried to calm him down by saying, it was unintentional and you are excused. The father then inquired about the girl and her family and saw that it was truly suitable for his son and the marriage was arranged; hence, no aveira was ever transgressed.
This was a person who understood that when he saw blue he saw the heavens and the Kiseh HaKavod. He guarded his eyes so much that when he saw his tzitzis he understood what it was supposed to remind him of.
Many of us are involved in the working world and unfortunately there’s not much with what to guard ourselves out there. It’s up to us to be cognizant of this problem and constantly be on the lookout. We have to remember that our tzitzis is there to provide that safeguard for us. We all know how important watching what we see is and how careful we must be of what we think. Through doing so it can hopefully lead to our children to follow in our footsteps and let us not forget, it will be them who will be there to greet the coming of Moshiach. May we be zoche to witness that day as well, b’karov.
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