Sunday, June 08, 2008

Benefit of Techeiles

The Gemora (Daf Yomi: Sotah 17a) asks: It is understandable that Tefilin straps were a reward (for this world as well), as the verse states, “And all of the nations of the land will see that the name of Hashem is upon you and they will fear you.” The braisa quotes Rabbi Elazar the Great as saying that this refers to the Tefilin that we wear on our heads. However, what (earthly) reward do we have from Techeiles?

The Gemora answers this question from a braisa. Rabbi Meir taught: Why was Techeiles singled out from all colors (to be used in tzitzis)? This is because Techeiles is a similar color to that of the ocean, which is similar to that of the sky, which is similar to that of the Throne of Glory. This is as the verse states, “And they saw the G-d of Israel, and under His feet was like something made out of a brick of sapphire, and like the purity of the sky.” The verse also states, “like the appearance of a sapphire stone is that of the Throne of Glory. [The Gemora’s answer seems to be that this merit benefits us in this world as well.]

Rashi explains that anyone who fulfills the mitzvah of tzitzis is regarded as if he received the Divine Presence. This is obviously beneficial to the person.

Rashi in Chulin (89a) explains differently. He says that when Hashem looks at His Throne of Glory, He is reminded of the mitzvah of Techeiles that is being performed by the Jewish people. And because of this, Hashem has compassion on Klal Yisroel.