Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Pride in Being Chosen

Let me tell you how I feel about Nebraska.  If you were to ask me, "Which is worse, driving through Nebraska or chemotherapy?"  I would answer, "Obviously there is not comparison.  However, chemotherapy is also pretty bad."  In fact, my wife and I once cancelled a reservation and drove an extra two hours after a long day of driving with two toddlers for one reason: so we would not have to wake up in Nebraska.

That being said, while waiting at LAX for my plane home, I saw Miss Nebraska.  No, I do not collect Miss State cards.  So how did I know it was Miss Nebraska?  She was wearing a sash that said so.  Jeans and t-shirt like every other teen/early 20s in the airport, but also a bold sash emblazoned with "Miss Nebraska".  I couldn't imagine why she thought anyone in LAX would care that the duly appointed representatives of the great state of Nebraska had chosen her to bear the responsibility of that lofty title.  Given the nature of beauty pageants and their contestants, I decided that she really didn't feel a heavy responsibility to represent Nebraska.  Rather, she wanted us to know that someone (anyone, I would guess) had chosen her for something she feels is important -- beauty and personality.

The Torah tells us to put tzitzis on our four cornered garments.  Tzitzis is not a mitzvah like t'fillin; the Torah requires Jewish men to wear t'fillin.  Tzitzis are only a requirement if you happen to have a four-cornered garment.  One the details of the mitzvah is "u'r'isem oso"/that they [Klal Yisrael] should see it (the thread of t'cheles in particular, but also the tzitzis in general).  That injunction does actually require the tzitzis to be seen, instead it means that tzitzis are only required to be worn during the daytime hours (when seeing is a possibility).  That is why women are exempt; tzitzis is a time bound, positive mitzvah/mitzvas asei sh'z'man grama.

Four cornered garments are not the usual style, yet we go out of our way to contrive four cornered garments just so we are able to perform this mitzvah.  Just wearing the garment fulfills the requirements of the mitzvah; it doesn't have to be seen at all.  Yet, many of use do wear them out.  The Mishna Brura says that one should wear them out, because: "If one were a member of the king's elite guard, he would wear his uniform with pride.  All the more so, we, chosen by the King of kings, HaKadosh Baruch Hu to be His treasured nation should wear our tzitzis out in the open and with pride."

Wherever you are, whatever else you are wearing, tzitzis is a banner displaying to the world that we have been chosen and we want everyone to know.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…