A quick vort on Parshat Lech Lecha, disseminated by the Ptil Tekhelet Association:
In this week’s parshah, Parashat Lech-Lecha, Avraham Avinu refuses to accept a gift from the king of Sodom lest it be said that he was the one who made Avraham wealthy.
אם מחוט ועד שרוך נעל
“I will not take a thread or a shoelace…” (Bereishis 14:23)
This phrase, which Avraham Avinu uses, is the source of a famous Midrash (which is quoted in Sota 17a). As a reward for these words, the Midrash says, Avraham’s descendents received two mitzvahs: the thread of tekhelet and the strap of tefillin. Both of these mitzvahs involve attire that we wear and that are visible to others. They are the way we choose to present ourselves to others.
Avraham’s selfless devotion to God in the face of danger and his refusal to seek personal gain demonstrate that his motives were pure and that his external presentation matched his internal convictions.
May we all learn from Avraham Avinu that our tekhelet strings serve as an outward reminder to keep our hearts, thoughts and actions all directed toward Heaven.