TZITZIT -- The Fringes:

1) The mitzvah of tzitzit is a safeguard against immoral temptations. The tzitzit have the power to protect us from the `suggestions of the serpent' the negative ideas of those who are far from God's service and who put obstacles in the way of people who want to draw closer to the truth. Then it becomes possible to follow the guidance of the Tzaddikim and their followers, who are the `guardians of the Covenant.' This is the way to find truth and faith, to become worthy of true faith and of coming to the Land of Israel and witnessing miracles. Then the redemption will come. Whatever one needs will be given in abundance, and in his study of Torah he will be able to understand whatever he learns.Because of the greatness of the mitzvah of tzitzit you should be very careful to perform it properly. When you wrap yourself in the holy tallit and recite the blessing, have in mind that you would like to be worthy of achieving all these goals (7:4).

2) Tzitzit is the embodiment of the ruach chaim, the life-spirit which animates everything holy. In the merit of this mitzvah we will be provided with whatever we may be lacking. When a Jew is in need of something and sighs with a deep breath, he draws his breath from the life-spirit of Torah, which is the source of creative power and can therefore provide whatever is lacking. The sighs and groans of a Jew who yearns for holiness have the power to curb the life-spirit which gives vitality to the husks and which is called ruach seara a `raging whirlwind' (Ezekiel 1:4). In this way it is possible to shake off the evil in one's character and leave only the good. The wicked will be crushed and cast down to the earth (8:8).

3) The mitzvah of tzitzit is a manifestation of the sovereignty of God.Through it, the supremacy of the forces of the Other Side is crushed. But the Jewish people, who are bound to the side of holiness, receive all their vitality from there and draw down abundant blessing and wealth without end (49:7).

4) If you are careful about the mitzvah of tzitzit and perform it properly you will be able to achieve true prayer and return to God whole-heartedly.The harsh judgements will be sweetened, and the secrets of Torah will be revealed to you (Ibid.).

5) Every day God sends hints and mesSages to each person in order to draw him closer. One should strive to expand his mind in order to understand them. On the other hand there is a certain limit beyond which it is forbidden to delve and speculate on the meaning of these hints. It is dangerous to overstep this limit. The mitzvah of tzitzit creates the necessary frame within which the mind must work. This explains why we put on the tzitzit before we lay the tefilin. First it is necessary to erect the frame so as not to go beyond the boundary. Only then is it safe to expand the mind so as to understand the hints God sends. This understanding is embodied in the tefillin (54).

Online English translation of Likutey Etzot
A compendium of Rabbi Nachman's practical teachings on spiritual growth and devotion.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5766 / 2006