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    We would think that To-rah is so vast that no one in-dividual mitz-vah can sym-bolize all the 613 “components”. Surprisingly, the Torah designates one mitzvah as an icon for the entire system of commandments. The mitzvah of tzizit activates our imagination and attunes us to entire system of mitzvoth. Somehow, a glance at the tzizit, evokes the entire range of mitzvoth. The mitzvah of tzizit is the only commandment described as a “memory-trigger” for all other commandments. Most are familiar with Rashi’s well-known explanation for this “trigger mechanism”. The gematria or nu-merical equivalent of the word tzizit (600) combined with the number of strings and knots of the tzizit (13) computes to a grand total of 613. This “tzizit calculus” assures that a quick glimpse upon tzizit stokes a fuller awareness of all the 613 mitz-voth of the Torah. The gemara in Menachot suggests a very different “trigger mechanism” for tzizit. The blue dye of the tzizit strings sparks our imagination and enables sustained mitzvah adher-ence. The blue tchelet dye is very similar to color of the ocean, the sky and the earth’s atmosphere. Browsing these strings and appre-ciating their color, draws our hearts upward toward Heaven and toward the presence of G-d. The color lures our imagination heavenly toward a more profound awareness of G-d and greater mitzvah adherence. Tzizit serve as a gateway to Heaven. However, the blue tchelet doesn’t merely fasten us to Heaven. In the process, we ponder the vastness of the ocean, the expanse of the sky and the mystique of the upper at-mosphere. All these elements emit a blueish hue. The blue strings of tzizit bridge our imagination to the vastness of our world, and medi-tating upon this immensity braces our religious commitment. The im-mensity of our universe provides “proportion” to our own lives and this proportion steadies our overall religious experience. The ocean and the sky are larger than “human experience” and when we ponder them, we see our own lives from a different and broader perspective. For example, when we return home on an airplane flight, we look down, from 10,000 feet up, upon the build-ings, roads and cars which form our daily reality. Seeing our lives from a different vantage point forces us to reimagine ourselves and our expe-riences. Proportion in life provides perspective; perspective anchors healthy and balanced religious life. Every religious letdown is a product of the contraction of our imagination and the ensuing loss of perspective. If we only understood the unfortu-nate consequences of our flawed de-cisions, we would certainly choose more wisely. Instead, we shrink into the “here and now” and think only about the “moment” and our im-mediate needs, rather than larger and broader consequences. Every sin is a tragic “barter” of eternity for current and fleeting needs. It is a ludicrous trade, a folly caused by loss of perspective. Sin and failure are products of small-mindedness; sadly, sin makes us even smaller. Restoring proportion between our small lives and the larger reality within which we live, between a shrunken present and a vast eternity, can avert this sad exchange. Tzizit is a “proportion restorer” – draw-ing our imagination to G-d- but also to the scale of the ocean and the breadth of the sky. If our imagina-tions soar, we are less likely to fall victim to the narrowness of sin. The Mussar movement was found-ed by Rabbi Yisrael Salanter in the early 19th century. Aware of a rapidly changing modern world, he stressed the importance of devel-oping moral character. No longer could it be assumed that pious be-havior would evolve naturally from persistent Torah study; piety must be independently cultivated. One of the pupils of Rebbi Yisrael, Rav Simcha Zeisel Broide, established a yeshiva upon the cornerstones of the mussar teachings. Annually, in his Yeshiva, as Yom Kippur ap-proached, a group of mussar devo-tees would voluntarily adopt joint practices to generate a heightened religious tone. In 1880 the talmidim dedicated themselves toward daily “pondering of eternity”. Contem-plating eternity would generate re-ligious discipline. They understood the value of proportion. It is ironic that as our world rap-idly expands, in many ways, it be-comes smaller, more narrower and with less self-perspective. Perspec-tive demands seeing ourselves “in light” of something different and something larger than our current experiences. Our world has it-self become too large and it is becoming more challenging to cast our experiences and ideas within anything larger than our already too-large reality. The more we have the more dif-ficult it becomes to imagine what we don’t have. Ironically, the world around us is large but perspective about that world has shriveled. As our experi-ences become more complete and our reality more cohesive, it is more difficult to stream our own “space” through the per-spective of something different or beyond our world. The universe has expanded but we have dimin-ished. Healthy proportion in life doesn’t only deter the tragedy of sin. When we face adversity or hardship, pro-portion helps us avoid panic or ex-cess anxiety. The spies of parshat Shelach can be excused for their honest reporting- as depressing as their intel may have been. However, their gloomy panic and their cowardly dread wrecked Jewish his-tory. Proportion pro-vides a larger view, it allows emotional equanimity, and it prevents the overre-action which panic incites. Additionally, pro-portion counterbalances unhealthy social pressures. Social trends exert a heavy influence upon our decisions and behavior. Trends come and go but sometimes they feel fixed and unchangeable, and we sheepishly succumb to them. Proportion helps us contextualize these seemingly powerful forces: not every society behaved this way or thought this way. Social conventions shouldn’t define us, and we should assemble our lives based upon eternal or ab-solute values and not upon fashions or fads. Without proportion, society is becoming extremely vulnerable to trendiness and social conformity. Furthermore, proportion encour-ages intellectual honesty. Our pas-sion convinces us that our views and perspectives are superior. We become so attached to those views that we can’t imagine different per-spectives. We often speak foolishly about the “logic” of the “righteous-ness” of our personal approaches while deriding other perspectives. Proportion reminds us of our true size and of the unknowability of the larger parts of our world and of course of G-d Himself. Standing in front of that abyss we tend to speak more humbly and with less over-confidence. My Rebbe, Rav Aharon Lichten-stein zt”l quoted Matthew Arnold, the 19th century British author who spoke of seeing life “steady and see-ing life whole”. We are at our reli-gious and personal best when we “see life whole”. The blue strings of our tzizit assure that we “see it whole”.