So you shall not veer…

The Medrash about Qorach rhetorically asking of Moshe why a tallis that is made of tekheiles would need one more tekheiles thread for tzitzis ties the mitzvah of tzitzis to the next story in the Chumash – Qorach.

My Tzitzis

The words of the parashah about tzitzis tie it to a slightly earlier story – the meraglim.

13:16: אֵ֚לֶּה שְׁמ֣וֹת הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥ח מֹשֶׁ֖ה לָת֣וּר אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ…


15:39 וְהָיָ֣ה לָכֶם֮ לְצִיצִת֒ וּרְאִיתֶ֣ם אֹת֗וֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם֙ אֶת־כׇּל־מִצְוֺ֣ת יְהֹוָ֔ה וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם וְלֹֽא־תָת֜וּרוּ אַחֲרֵ֤י לְבַבְכֶם֙ וְאַחֲרֵ֣י עֵֽינֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּ֥ם זֹנִ֖ים אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃

The role of tekheiles is to prevent the error of תתורו the way the meraglim did.

The meraglim thought they would fail because they had an ego issue.

13:33 וְשָׁ֣ם רָאִ֗ינוּ אֶת־הַנְּפִילִ֛ים בְּנֵ֥י עֲנָ֖ק מִן־הַנְּפִלִ֑ים וַנְּהִ֤י בְעֵינֵ֙ינוּ֙ כַּֽחֲגָבִ֔ים וְכֵ֥ן הָיִ֖ינוּ בְּעֵינֵיהֶֽם׃

They certainly could know that they thought of themselves as grasshoppers, but unless the nefilim commented out loud, that last bit about how the nefilim thought of them was projection.

This is like the ענוונות of R Zekhariah Ben Avqulus. He lacked the confidence to be meiqil when needed and it was a step toward the loss of the second Beis haMiqdash. Likely the gemara is pointing to a lack of leadership in general, blaming the sages’ silence when Bar Qamtza was shamed to similar anvanus.

Qorach, on the other hand, thought he and his followers were like a tallis that was all tekheiles. Too much ego.

Notice the parashah of tzitzis sits in between.

Tzitzis is taking a thread of a royal fabric. Tekheiles is worn by Achashveiros and lent to Mordechai. Among other less famous such occurances in Tanakh. (Also, the identification of tekheiles with murex-dyed wool means it is a variant of the Royal Purple.)

It is placed as צִיצִ֛ת עַל־כַּנְפֵ֥י בִגְדֵיהֶ֖ם לְדֹרֹתָ֑ם – very literally: sprouts (tzitzis) on the wings (kanfei) of your garment.

It is our ability to grow and rise upward that is royal. The royalty is very real. But it is not inherent. Both the meraglim and Qorach were wrong. The ideal is in the Middle Measure.

(Notice that in this formulation, Qorach and his band of Reuveinites all claiming their birthright makes them holier are making the same mistake about inborn value vs. the value of commitment to a mission that we discussed in the Derashos haRan chaburah at Zelmele’s Kloiz of Eisav having made acc. to derashah #2.)

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *