In Numbers 15:37-41, the children of Israel are commanded to affix צִיצִית/tzitzit/fringes to the corners of their garments. The fringes were a remembrance of the Lord’s commandments, a warning not to go after that which is alluring to the heart and the eyes, a covenant identity marker, but also threads to reach out and draw in.
Fruit hanging on a tree is both part of the tree and separated from it. Fruit originates with the tree, and is nourished by it, but it reach out from the branch. The Hebrew word צִיצִית/tzitzit/fringes originates from a root meaning blossom. The fringes, therefore, are potential fruit coming forth when acted upon in faith. The fringes then, hanging from the garment, blur the line of distinction between the garment they are affixed to, and the world beyond it.
The fringes both remind, identify, and draw in.
In the Gospels we find those with all manner of affliction reaching out to touch the “hem of His garment,” meaning the צִיצִית/tzitzit/fringes, affixed to the corners of Yeshua’s clothing, to be healed (Matt. 9:20; Mk. 6:56). They reached out to His faithfulness, and the promise that the “servant of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings” (Mal. 4:2), “wings” being the same word as “corners” in Hebrew.
The fringes reminded and drew in, not that Yeshua/Jesus needing reminding, but those seeing Him were reminded that the same God who commanded the fringes was faithful to fulfill His word. Yet, they also drew people in, as they noticed the fringes hanging affixed, yet apart from the garment into the space around them. In that space between they were drawn in, and as Yeshua said:
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:44).
How did the Father draw those, His covenant children, to Yeshua? The blossoms bearing His fruit of righteousness that changed those who looked up to, and reached for the garment of Yeshua.
Here, the strings attached were not for our detriment, as is the usual case in our world; rather, they were the promises of grace to those called before they knew their need. Reach out, taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps. 34:8).
Be well. Shalom.