So, I’m learning a new job that will have me doing some classroom instruction. Typically, I can be anywhere in western SC with a class that will last four days or so. Yesterday, as I shadow my trainer, I began with a class of 12, just north of Greenwood.
This morning, while setting up, I asked if there were any questions and a hand immediately went up. The late 20’s lady hesitantly said, “Uhm, what, uhm, are those string things you have on your side?”
I smiled, inside and out, and took three minutes to quickly explain my background, what my tzitziot are, what they mean and where I get that from Scripture (Numbers 15:37-41). At least seven of the students were very interested with one even asking to look more closely and ask follow on questions.
There is a debate that has gone on for a long, long time as to whether this command is a private or corporate command. I.e., do I tuck them in and let them remind only me, or, as a peculiar people, do I wear them out as a reminder to others to keep the commandments and as a witness to who I am as a keeper of the Commandments. Personally, I have always worn them out and been convicted of such. I do not intent to fuel the debate so much as say, “If they had been tucked in, would I have had opportunity to give a witness to the veracity of the Torah and walking as the Messiah?”
Yesterday’s Torah Portion included Numbers 15:37-41 concerning tzitzits, a subject we have discussed before.
As I finalized my preparations for Shabbat and a lesson titled ‘Faith and Focus‘, I turned my attention to re-reading the parsha and considering the other various parts when several thoughts on tzitziot hit me. Often discussed/debated is the question whether to wear them in or out and who are they supposed to remind. Consider this:
23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”Zechariah 8:23
20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” Matthew 9:20-21
35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured. Matthew 14:35-36
If the fringe, the tzitzitot, are hidden, how are the nations to grasp it, or how did the sick reach out and touch Yeshua’s? Simply, it was worn outwardly. Isn’t that implied when Yeshua said,
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16