Slow and Steady Wins the Race
[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much.]
The Gemara tells us that the color of the techeiles [the blue string of the Tzitzis] is similar to the color of the sea, which is similar to the color of the sky, which is similar to the color of Hashem’s throne; hence, the techeiles should remind us of Hashem and His Mitzvos.
Rav Moshe Feinstein asks, why don’t we put on our Tzitzis the color which is most similar to Hashem’s throne, and not this seemingly complicated circuitous route?
Rav Moshe answers that the Torah is teaching us a very fundamental principle in Avodas Hashem: We are supposed to elevate ourselves in stages. We aim for great heights, but we should take it one step at a time. Therefore, in our pursuit of spirituality and thinking about G-d via the Techeilis, we do it with this lengthy process to remind us to take small steps and not one big leap.
Some see this as the dispute between Kalev and the other spies. They were saying, ‘it is a land that eats its inhabitants,” i.e. that we have to be on a very high level in order to live in Eretz Yisroel and if not, we will die. Kalev’s response, quoted by Rashi was, ‘if we have to go up to Heaven, we will make ladders to get there.’ One of the Chasidic Rebbes explains that he was saying “yes we have to aim for Heaven but we will do it like climbing a ladder,” i.e. one step at a time! Although Hashem wants us to reach for great heights, the way to achieve those goals is by working on ourselves one step at a time.
May we all take this lesson to heart: to have lofty goals and aspiration, but to accomplish them by working on ourselves slowly but surely.