Parshat Shelach: The Lady and the Tzizit

Parshat Shelach: The Lady and the Tzizit

The Talmud tells the tale of the yeshiva student who was overcome with desire to meet a certain illustrious prostitute. He sends a large sum of money in advance and goes on a long journey to meet her. Ultimately he arrives, but right before sinning, his Tzitzit slap him in the face, bringing him back to his senses. In the continuation of the story we discover that the hero is not the student but rather the lady who as a result of the meeting ultimately embarks on a journey of her own. The structure of the Talmudic story parallels the structure of the verses about Tzitzit which appear in Parshat Shelach. This story also illuminates the approach of the Ba’al Shem Tov towards the Yetsar.