Rav SR Hirsch, Symbolism of Tzitzis – Relationship ep. 13

The Beyond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning series at the kloiz meets on Wednesday nights at 8pm EDT.

Even if you missed the discussion so far, next week is a great time to start! We will be beginning a study of Rav Shlomo Wolbe’s Olam haYedidut – The World of Affection! Come join us, 8pm June 29th!

(And there are always the posts in The Kloiz Aspaqlaria category, which has recordings of any chaburos you may have missed!)

Wednesday night (June 22nd, 2022) we concluded (for now) our discussion of the parts of a person — body, mind and soul, and the aspects of the soul that addresses each — nefesh, ruach and neshamah, by discussing Rav Hirch’s symbol system and how it relates to the three Pillars, the three Crowns, and the three aspects of the human soul.

Rav Hirsch notes that there are three colors named in Biblical Hebrew, the primary colors of adom (red), yaroq (yellow and green), and tekheiles (blue and purple). Adom being the earthiest, closest on the rainbow to the adamah (the earth) and tekheiles at the high end of the spectrum, least impacted by the physical, closest to the heavens beyond. Similarly, he explains that when the number six, as in the six days of creation, appears in nevu’ah or halakhah, it is a reference to the physical world. The seventh completes the week, by indicating the holiness that is within the world. And eight goes beyond, starts again at the next octave, hinting at the Jewish calling to bring the messianic age, the “new heavens and new earth” of Yeshaiah’s nevu’ah.

And so, in tzitzis, we take the physical forces represented by the six non-winding strings, and bind it with the seventh and the eighth. And it is the eighth string, the one beyond nature, that the Rambam rules is the sole tekheiles one.

Although he doesn’t use this terminology, to Rav Hirsch tzitzis is about using our mental and heavenly callings, our ruach and nefesh, to obtain mastery over the more physically concerned nefesh.

So that we can find reminders of these ideas when we observe Shemini Atzeres — a special day just between Hashem and the Jewish People, or attend a beris on the eight day. When we note that Shabbos and Shemittah are on the seventh, but Shavuos and Yovel are at the beginning of an eighth, when we learn about the colors of the kohein gadol‘s clothing or the curtains, roof, and storage of the Mishkan.

Go to http://thekloiz.aishdas.org for links to the Zoom room, a link to join the WhatsApp group, to recordings of past shiurim, and the other posts like this one.

The resource sheet for Rav Hirsch’s essay on the symbolism of tzitzis is on Sefaria at https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/409461

To summarize our look at the three-ness inherent in the anatomy of the human soul:

Pillars Torah Avodah Gemilus Chasadim
Tov Inherent /
Relationship to Soul
Relationship to Hashem Relationship to Others
Uprooting Sin Gilui Arayos Avodah Zara Shefichas Damim
Sustains the world … gives the world value. … for it was created liKhvodi … causes Hashem’s Chessed to the world
Avos Yaaqov Yitzchaq Avraham
Yaaqov/Yisrael as Synthesis Yaaqov
Rivqa’s two bracelets of 5 gold each
Rivqa’s nose-ring
Sefer haYetzirah “Mother Letters” א ש מ
Non-Intert Elements Air/Wind (אוויר) Fire (אש) Water (מים)
Element as Middah Thought
in Torah
Passion / “Hislahavus
in Avodah
Calm / Unity
in relating to other people
Protecting Torah / Anshei Keneses haGdolah Establishing many students Diligence in Law Making a siyag laTorah
(i.e. morality rather than precise Law)
Dynamic Middle
(Synthesis or Dialectic)
Truth / Law Peace / Lovingkindness
Aspect of Soul Ruach Neshamah Nefesh
Desires Ego Spiritual Physical
Time of Life (paired with desires) Adulthood Old Age Youth
Time of Night Middle – the dog barks (demanding “hav hav!”) Near Dawn –
The baby nurses, the wife talks with her husband
Near Sunset –
The Donkey Brays
Children of Adam & Chavah Hevel Qayin Sheis (bidmuso betzalmo)
World “In the Air” /
the world between our ears
Shamayim Aretz
Organ Heart Head Liver / Groin
Rav Hirsch
Colors Yaroq –
green & yellow
– growth
Tekheiles –
blue & indigo
– heaven
Adom – red – earth
Numbers 7 & 7th 8 & 8th 6
Micha’s Miqdash Speculation
Crowns (simple take) Torah Kehunah Kingship
Crowns (according to Maharal 4:13) Torah Kingship – in the soul’s ability to rule mind and body Kehunah as the sanctification of the physical
Crowned Kelim
(see the Maharal, Avos 1:2)
Aron Mizbeiach haZahav Shulchan
Uncrowned Keilim
(deducing from the Gra)
Menorah Mizbeiach Nekhoshes Kiyor

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