As the Israel Defense Forces prepare to move into Gaza to destroy the Hamas terrorist group, an American rabbi affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement has launched a campaign to supply Israeli soldiers with tzitzit, or ritual fringes.
By wearing fringes on a four-cornered garment, religious Jews fulfill the biblical commandments mentioned in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12.
As of Thursday, the fundraising drive under the slogan “Spiritual Armor” has raised almost $50,000, delivering some 3,000 pairs of tzitzit to IDF troops.
“We know that tefillin [phylacteries] and tzitzit are our spiritual armor which provide special protection,” Rabbi Shmary Gurary, director of development at Bnos Menachem Girls’ School of Crown Heights, N.Y., told Anash.org.
The idea was born after “a dear friend who works with soldiers throughout the year reached out to me,” Gurary said. “He informed me that many soldiers, most of whom do not ordinarily wear tzitzit, would like to wear tzitzit on the battlefield.”
The Israel-based Ptil Tekhelet organization, which claims to have discovered the long-lost blue dye used in tzitzit, is also raising money in an effort to offer free tzitzit dyed with tekhelet to IDF soldiers.
“Since the start of the war, we have received an unexpectedly large number of requests from soldiers for tekhelet,” the NGO said, adding that it had already provided “hundreds” of soldiers with the religious garment.