There’s this urge when you become religious to buy every piece of Judaica possible.
It’s a process that starts with simple jewelry, of course with chamsas and magen david on them. Then we move onto goofy tee shirts that say “matzah baller” or “I don’t roll on the Shabbos”. Eventually you start buying real Judaica, like mezuzot and hanukkiahs. Suddenly you’ve maxed out your credit card when you realize how insanely expensive shipping anything from Israel is.
If you’re a certain kind of person, you buy a tallit katan, a shirt that you wear underneath your clothes, like Jewish Magic Underwear. And then you have this awkward moment of being the person at the Reform synagogue wearing tzitzit while people look at you like you got lost while walking to Chabad.
I mention this because this week’s Torah portion commands tzitzit, the fringes that go on prayer shawls.
It’s a straight forward mitzvah: you attach fringes to a four cornered garment, and wear it. The mitzvah isn’t that intensive. Frankly, it’s more complicated to buy tzitzit than it is to observe the mitzvah.
Religion is like that. It’s this thing you get caught up in. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good that religion isn’t just davvening or charity. Maybe it’s a good thing that even shopping can be made holy…as strange as that is to say.