Parshat Shlach ends with the famous commandment to wear tzitzit (fringes) on all four-cornered garments because seeing them will remind us of all 613 mitzvot (commandments) (15:39). Rashi explains that the numerical value of the word “tzitzit,” plus the eight strings and five knots that make up the tzitzit equal 613, which can be a reference to all the opportunities to do mitzvot. Rabbi Yochanan Zweig wonders how this mitzvah serves as a reminder to perform others if the mitzvah is entirely avoidable by not wearing four-cornered clothing.
Rabbi Zweig explains that the fact that we wear tzitzit, although we could avoid it, is the actual reminder to look for other mitzvot to perform. Also, the fact that we choose to wear the tzitzit demonstrates that our actions are initiated by our love for G-d. Tzitzit can be used to remind us to look for creative ways to make a positive contribution to our world, not because we have to but because it’s the appropriate thing to do for what we love and believe in. There are many ways to be helpful, to make a difference, and to leave an impression on the world around us, if we remember to look.