Drash on Parashat Sh'lach L'cha
Rabbi Adi Cohen
Temple Shalom Gold Coast, Queensland
You are royalty. are you acting as one?
"Instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all God's commandments and observe them.”
I love watching the Queen of England on TV.
Always meticulous in her appearance, always conducting herself with grace, always inspiring, always aware that she is representing something bigger then herself. So should we.
In ancient times, tying knots on the fringes of one’s garments was a status symbol signifying royalty and high class (Jacob Milgrom, On Hems and Tassels, Biblical Archaeological Review, 1983, pg. 61).
The T’chelet, light blue colour, was also associated with royalty. In Sh’mot 28:31 we learn that the high priest wore a completely blue garment, K’lal T’chelet. In the Book of Esther, we read that in the king’s palace Mordecai was dressed in blue gowns: “B’levush malchut t’chelet Va’Chur”.
In that aspect, the tzitzit links us to our past and reminds us that we belong to a prestigious peoplehood, Israel.
While most of us wear a tallit during religious services, and less often on our daily garments, the tzitzit should be a daily reminder that we need to be a blessing all day, every day; a daily reminder that we are Jewish at work, in the shopping centre, when we visit family and friends, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. We are Jewish when we work out, when we are hosting a mid-week dinner at home, or going out to a restaurant with a tempting and possibly not-so-kosher menu.
The tzitzit is a reminder that we were all created in God’s image, that reciting a blessing is an act of acknowledgment and gratitude, that small acts of loving-kindness toward someone can have a big impact on their lives.
Judaism can be defined in many ways. However we choose to define our faith, ethics, and beliefs, they need to be translated and displayed in our day-to-day actions and interactions with the world - all day, every day.
The tzitzit is there to remind us that, just like the Queen of England, we need to conduct ourselves with grace, we need to inspire others to take pride in their heritage, that we represent something bigger than ourselves.
Ask yourself: I am royalty. Am I acting as one?