Amid all the bad news, a quiet revolution has started.
The Jewish people led by our holy soldiers are rediscovering the mitzvah of tzitzit.
Tzitzit is the Hebrew name for the ritual fringes that religious men are commanded to wear by the Torah. The requirement is stated in the third paragraph of the Shema prayer, recited twice daily. “And you shall make for yourself tzitzis on the corners of your garments… and you shall remember all of the commandments and not follow the desires of your hearts and your minds.”
What are tzitzit? The Torah tells us that these fringes are a reminder tied onto the bodies of all Jewish males to heed the words of the entire Torah. In Gematriya, the ancient wisdom that drawn from the numerical value of the Hebrew letters the word tzitzit adds up to 600. Add to that eight strings and five knots and you’ve got 613, the number of the mitzvot or commandments–the laws that bind a Jew to G-d.
And our holy soldiers have turned them into high fashion, in the best sense of the phrase.
Tzitzis are flying off the shelves. Factories are besieged with orders for IDF tzitzis the ritual fringes attached to a green garment which camouflages under the uniform. In battle, the usual white tzitzis are detectable and can pose a danger to their wearer. That’s why IDF soldiers on active duty wear green. Thousands of pairs are being manufactured and shipped to the bases, and our soldiers, some of them bareheaded and tatted up, accept them with tears in their eyes.
“They feel protected when they wear them. They feel Hashem is with them,” say the volunteers who go to army bases to give them out.
Not so long ago, tzitzis wearing was regarded as burdensome. Too many young men minized their wearing by removing them at night when the halachic requirement to wear them is less severe. Some stopped wearing them at all.
And now? Led by the IDF, our nation has done a complete 180.
The tzitzit are a physical expression of belief, of surrender to G-d, And in our present situation, that is what we need.
As I write, we are on the verge of a major ground assault into the Gaza Strip. Military pundits are predicting that this may, G-d forbid, be followed by a Hezbollah attack on the North and by riots by Israeli Arabs, even attacks by other Arab countries, some of them armed with nukes.
This is an impossible predicament well beyond even the outstanding capabilities of our holy IDF soldiers. Just as we did in Egypt, just as we did in Persia, just as we did throughout our long and challenging history, we need Hashem to save us. And we’re appealing to Him again.
When our holy soldiers go into battle wearing tzitzit they are stating that they, and indeed all Jews, aren’t limited by the laws of nature. Tzitzis remind us that we are a holy nation, all of us one body connected to the highest spheres. We are Hashem’s beloved firstborn. Hashem gave us this land, and Hashem conditioned our survival here on the performance of his laws.
By donning tzitzis, our holy soldiers state that they are part of this relationship.
May Hashem save us and all of our holy soldiers.