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The mitzvah of Tzitzis is in itself dispensible, inasmuch as someone who chooses not to wear a garment of four corners is exempt from fulfilling it. In effect, the mitzvah is that someone who wears a four-cornered garment must place tzitzis on the four corners. Nevertheless, so important is this mitzvah, that the Torah places it in juxtaposition with the two mitzvos of idolatry and Shabbos, to form a triumvirate of the three most prominent mitzvos in the Torah, in the sense that each of them is compared to the entire Torah. The mitzvah of Tzitzis is the only positive mitzvah among them, since the other two are negative mitzvos. In other words, the mitzvah of tzitzis is the only positive mitzvah which the Torah compares to all the other mitzvos. The Ramban ascribes the Halachic principle that a Mitzvas Asei overrides a Mitzvas Lo Sa'aseh, to his contention that every Mitzvas Asei is based on Ahavas Hashem (the love of G-d), and every Mitzvas Lo Sa'aseh (fearing Him), on Yir'as Hashem, and love, he says, is greater than fear. Based on this Ramban, ha'Rav Boruch Horowitz shlita points out that it is no coincidence that the source of this principle is the fact that Tzitzis overrides Sha'atnez (all the more striking when we consider that Tzitzis is not obligatory in the first place). As a matter of fact, he goes on to explain, it is that aspect of free-choice that portrays the essence of the mitzvah and its uniqueness, and which explains why the Torah chooses the mitzvah of Tzitzis to teach us this principle. Strictly speaking, love cannot be forced on a person. It can only be volunteered. And that is why the Torah left this mitzvah voluntary, as a role-model for all mitzvos asei - that one should perform them because one wants to, not because one has to. So Tzitzis, by virtue of the fact that it is voluntary, portrays the love of Hashem that is the hallmark of all mitzvos asei, and which is the reason that they override mitzvos Lo Sa'aseh. Presumably, it is due to the voluntary nature of the mitzvah, that the Torah opens the Parshah with the word "Va'yomer Hashem", (instead of the more common "Va'yedaber Hashem"), since "Va'yomer" has a connotation of mercy (whereas "Va'yedaber" denotes judgement), and is therefore more conducive to a mitzvah that is not obligatory. The Torah nevertheless continues with "Daber el B'nei Yisroel", because of the obligation to attach Tzitzis, once one is wearing a garment of four corners. ---- This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper, provided that this notice is included intact.

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