On the night that my little brother was born, my parents got me a small, yellow stuffed dog as a present. I named him Furzy, and 22 years later, through childhood, my teenage years, college, and moves to New York City and DC, one of the constants in my life has been Furzy. Through all of these life stages, he’s always served as a safe, comforting reminder of my brother, my parents, and my family.
In this week’s Torah portion, Sh’lach L’cha, we learn all about tzitzit – special, knotted fringes that are supposed to go on the corners of our clothes. As we read in the portion:
“Look at it (the tzitzit) and recall all the commandments of the Lord and observe them.”
– Numbers 15: 39
In addition to serving as a fashion statement (there’s supposed to be a blue cord in the fringes), tzitzit are meant to serve as a physical reminder of all of the commandments we’ve been given in the Torah. But when I read these instructions about tzitzit, I can’t help but think about Furzy and the other physical reminders that I keep around to help me remember the most important things in my life, like my favorite books, personal journals, and pictures with friends. These reminders also don’t have to be big – the magnet on the refrigerator from a vacation, the screensaver on your phone, or small trinkets from a work trip – all have the ability to bring joy into our lives.
So, what kind of physical reminders do you keep in your life? How do they keep you focused on the most important things? And how do they bring you joy?
Comment below and let’s fill our world with more ways to stay present, centered, and joyful!
About the Author: Evan Traylor, originally from Oklahoma City, currently works at the Union for Reform Judaism and is an aspiring rabbi. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 studying political science and Jewish studies. Evan loves reading, traveling, exploring DC, and cheering on the KU Jayhawks.
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