Being Brave is … wearing tzitzis out. Tzitzis are the strings on a four cornered garment worn by Jewish boys (13+) and men as written in the Torah. It is worn to remind them of the 613 mitzvot (coming from the word connection) which bind them in relationship to their G-d. The option is to wear them in or out – tucked into the pants or hanging outside the pants.
When the Rebbe came from war torn Russia and Europe in the 40’s, the life of American Jewry looked very different than it does now. The Rebbe received the mantle of leadership in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in 1951, and back then, there were just a small number of Chassidim who gathered around him to hear his teachings and wisdom. Nowadays there are huge numbers of people who have been touched by the Rebbe’s light and the face of Judaism looks very different than it did in the 50’s.
One of the reasons I believe this change took place is because of the philosophy of the Rebbe. He encouraged the proud, open and honest practice of mystical Judaism. This included wearing tzitzis out. A very brave practice because it openly identifies a man as a Jew. There’s no blending in, no pretending not to be different when those strings hang out. And yet it honors and is in complete alignment with the brave and proud spirit of Chanukah and the small, mighty army of Maccabeats. Wearing tzitzis out openly and proudly declares one a Jew – one connected to the three fathers of Faith – Avraham, Yitzchak, & Yaakov and the three mothers of Faith – Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah – a mighty heritage indeed 🙂
25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev – the month of Being Brave
1st day of Chanukah