a tent of heart strings

In the exile, we are spread out amongst the four corners of the world, awaiting the in-gathering. Rebbe Natan (in Likkutei Halachoth Tzitzith:7) brings down that wearing talit katan (the under garment we call 'tzitzith') identifies you with and connects you to the klal, the general unity of Israel.

This is a pretty cool way to connect with your distant hebrew brothers and sisters. Simply putting on the tzitzith in the mornings binds you to everyone else. That's not all though. Beyond those brethren that are out there and far away, there are those souls who have been distanced, pushed even further. We need to bring those souls into the collective as well. When we perform such acts this results in all manner of spiritual fixings, even creating new converts.

How do we take that extra step? Once we've already joined ourselves actively to the collective by donning the tzitzith, Rebbe Natan goes on, we then go to the Bet Knesset, to the morning tefilloth, and there we wrap ourselves in the Talit gadol. (what we call simply a 'Talit.') Wrapping ourselves in the Talit calls and pulls in all of the distanced souls, all of the exiled and pushed-away, bringing them all back into the collective whole of Israel.

As you might be able to imagine, learning this Torah from Rebbe Natan in chevruta the same day I came across this same notion of the distanced souls in another source was exciting. My Father-in-law's book Toldoth Ha'Ari brings down (from the שבחי האר"י) that the Arizal explained to his students that whole atmosphere and world is teeming with souls that have been pushed away and they are all circling bodiless looking for a way to rectify their faults and flaws. (not a simple task when they don't have bodies with which to perform actions) These souls used to come visit the Arizal while he would study with his students in the fields and forests because in his generation only he knew how to help them.

The full magnitude of Rebbe Natan's teaching only hit me when I learned that. Today through our performance of the mitzwah of tzitzith we can actively help these distanced souls to return to the collective, both the ones that are without bodies, and those that are trapped and lost in the confusions of the present day world.


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