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Hashem said to Moshe saying. "Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them that they shall make themselves tzitzis (fringes) on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations. And they shall place upon the tzitzis of each corner a thread of turquoise wool" (Bemidbar 15:37-38).
There is an expression that, "Throughout the generations, more than the Jews protected the Shabbos, the Shabbos protected the Jews." This is true not only for Shabbos, but for other mitzvahs as well. Many people found that their strict observance of the Torah's commandments actually saved them from tragedy. Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein shlita tells the following story in his classic book, Tuvecha Yabiu.

A young yeshiva student in Israel became very ill, R.l., and had to undergo a series of chemotherapy treatments. However, despite everything, he was determined would not to let the situation dampen his sprits nor interfere with his Torah learning and observance.

He had been told that in the hospital he would have to wear only sterile clothes. When he came for his treatments though, he brought along a talis katan (a four cornered garment with tzitizis attached to each corner) which he had personally washed and cleaned to meet the strict requirements of the hospital. However, he was confronted by a Sabra nurse who stubbornly insisted that he could only wear the hospital clothes. The yeshiva fellow decided to be just as stubborn, since she was being totally unreasonable about it. The debate turned into a confrontation, and the non-compassionate nurse told him to wait outside in the waiting room until he comes to his senses.

After three long hours (!), a senior doctor "happened" to pass by and asked the young man why he was sitting there. The suffering fellow explained his dilemma to the doctor who replied that there was, indeed, no reason at all why he could not wear his religious garment if he had washed it properly. The doctor went in to instruct the nurse, but came out a few minutes later, visibly shaken. Frightened, the boy asked the doctor what was the matter. The doctor assured him that everything was fine, and told him to go for the treatment, dressed in his religious garb, and then he would tell him what had happened.

After the treatment, the doctor came to speak to the yeshiva bachur again. "I am not yet observant," began the doctor with tears in his eyes, "yet I witnessed today how Hashem watches over those who observe His commandments. When I went to tell the nurse that it was ok for you to wear your garment, I wanted to see exactly what she was about to give you. I was horrified to see that, unintentionally, she was about to administer the wrong treatment - something which would have brought you much closer to death. Had she gone through with it, I shudder to think what condition you would be in right now. But only because you insisted upon wearing your talis katan, I came along and discovered the terrible mistake and corrected it in time."

This is what our teacher, Moshe, told us in the Torah: "To love Hashem, your G-d, to listen to His voice and to cleave to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days, to dwell upon the land that Hashem swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya'akov, to give them" (Devarim 30:20).

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel