“The next Mitzvah,” said Moshe, “is called Tzitzis. These are threads knotted in a very special way that are attached to the corners of a man’s four-cornered garment. When we look at the Tzitzis, we are reminded of the 613 Mitzvos of the Torah!”
Remember back in Parshas Mikeitz, we talked about people who tied strings around their fingers to help them remember things? Just in case you forgot, (maybe you need a string reminder too!) we’ll tell you again – but this time with a story.
Introducing (drumroll) Forgetful Feivel Fergeson, the most forgetful kid in 5th grade.
“Feivel, where’s your homework?”
“Feivel, did you bring your chessboard so we can play during recess… Remember? You told me you would!”
“Feivel, did you forget your lunch again?”
To all those questions – and about a million others – the answer was the same: “I forgot.”
One day, Feivel’s mother finally realized that she had to do something about this forgetting problem of her son. “Feivel,” she said, “please tie this string around your finger, as a reminder that you need to have all your things with you before you leave the house in the morning.”
The next morning, Feivel was bungling his way out the door when he suddenly noticed something. “Hey, what’s this? A string on my finger! Oh, right. It’s there to remind me to get my . . . let me think now . . . that’s right, my backpack with my lunch, my homework, chessboard, and my other super-important stuff!”
It worked. Forgetful Feivel Fergesson was no longer forgetful.
Tzitzis accomplish something similar. When we see these strings dangling on our sides, we remember that we are special people with special things to do: Mitzvos.
In addition, for those good at math – Tzitzis reminds us of the 613 Mitzvos.
Add up the number value of the Hebrew word Tzitzis – ציצית – and you get 600. Now add the 8 strings and 5 knots, and what do you get? 612! Ahem… That’s if you have a broken calculator.
Let’s try it again… And what do you get?
613 – that’s the exact number of Mitzvos there are in the Torah!