The Torah gives us the mitzvah of Tzitzis, the command to place fringes on a four-cornered garment. The fringes would include one made of Techeiles, wool dyed a special shade of blue. It was intended to remind us of the sea, which would remind us of the sky, which would remind us of G-d’s Heavenly sapphire-colored throne. If the “magic” lay in the blue thread, then why do we need the white ones? Instead of three white to one blue, just have the blue!
R’ Eliyahu Meir Bloch was the dean of the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, OH. One Shabbos, he was walking with his niece Chaya (later Rebbetzin Chaya Ausband) and as they passed a certain shop, he asked her to wait outside as he went in. This was unusual but she did as requested. When he came out of the store a few minutes later, he explained, “The owner of the shop is Jewish and I felt I had to say something about its being open on the holy Sabbath.” She asked him, “Do you really think he will begin to keep the Sabbath because of what you told him?” “No,” replied the Rosh Yeshiva, “but I didn’t do it for that reason. I did it because if I were simply to accept it and say nothing it would weaken my own respect for Shabbos. How can I turn a blind eye when I see something wrong? I had to protest to remind myself how important the Torah and mitzvos really are.”
With this we can explain why the white threads are necessary. It’s not enough to be the “blue thread,” the source of holiness and closeness to G-d when you’re on your own. You have to be strong enough to do it when you’re surrounded by those who don’t see the greatness on their own. When surrounded by white threads, the lone blue one retains its color and shines even more vibrantly, proclaiming the greatness of HaShem Yisbarach.

– Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz

SPARKS of JUDAISM
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