On the Fringe

Being "on the fringe" can mean the outer periphery of a place, ideas that are quite far from the accepted norm, even land that is on the far flung border of a country. Or, they can refer to the fringes of  a garment. When we meet the idea of a fringe in the Torah portion, Sh'lakh L'kha, the Israelites are in the desert, on the fringes of society: even the fringe of the fringes! They literally needed the space in which to become themselves, shedding the fear and mental perspective of an oppressed and enslaved people.

By the time they are under the leadership of Joshua,one of the two spies from the Torah reading who had faith and confidence) they are the ones inspiring fear, and are helped by another outsider: Rahab, politely termed an "innkeeper". She literally lives on the fringes of society: we are told that her home is on the outer wall of the city!

Another definition for tzitziyot (pl tzitzit, fringes) is more artistic. In Jacob Milgrom's essay,Tzizit, (p.1486 Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary) they are translated as tassels,or "flower heads." As an artist inspired by nature, you can be sure that this got my creative juices flowing! To see more pictures,  Please go to: www.renaissancewomankippot.org

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