When we wrap ourselves in the tallit, we are symbolically wrapping ourselves in the presence of God, it should never be our ambition to use the tallit to make ourselves seem more holy or spiritual. That is what the Pharisees did, and Yeshua condemned them harshly, saying:
"They do all their works to be seen by men. They make their Scripture boxes broad and lengthen the tassels on their prayer shawls. They love the places of honor at feasts, and the prominent seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the marketplaces, and being called 'Rabbi' by men. ... Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and greed. You blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may also be clean" (Matt. 23:5-7, 25-26).
We are to wear the tallit in humility, seeking to bring glory to Yeshua and not to ourselves. Our carnal nature is all about "me" or "I," but when we humble ourselves before Yeshua, our concern is all about Him, our eternal source. Humility is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes from Yeshua. Pride, conversely, comes from our flesh nature. Pride is divisive and causes separation, while humility heals and brings reconciliation.
Pride led to Lucifer's fall from heaven, and it has influenced mankind since the Garden of Eden. We have taken the attitude that we can rise to the top on our own. But the more we seek to ascend to higher levels of wisdom, knowledge, riches, greatness, reputation, beauty and happiness, the emptier we become. Following any plan other than the Teacher's leads to a life without true meaning. Seeking Hashem—and not our own advancement—under the tallit will remind us to humbly submit to Yeshua's will and not pursue our own!
In Noah's day, humankind strayed appallingly from the way of Adonai (Gen. 6). When one strays from God, it means he is following the ways of the flesh, which is the way of pride, lust and selfish ambition. Following Yeshua in an intimate relationship through His Word and following the ways of the world will each leave an imprint. We have to choose which impression we want to represent us.
Noah chose the way of the Teacher and found favor in the eyes of Hashem (Gen. 6:8). Noah was a righteous man who walked with God, but his righteousness alone could not have saved him. He was saved due to God's unmerited (or free) favor. Noah experienced this unmerited favor because he submitted to Hashem by humbling himself and following God's instructions and not simply exalting himself.
How then do you find favor in the eyes of Adonai? Through faith and humility. Humility is walking according to the will of God. "Surely He scorns the scornful, but He gives favor to the humble" (Prov. 3:34).
The battle between the yetzer hara (the evil inclination) and the yetzer hatov (the good inclination) has been ongoing since the Garden of Eden. It is the battle between the evil one and the Spirit of the Mighty One of Israel. This seduction of mankind has persisted since the Garden of Eden. However, when Yeshua came to this earth and successfully finished His work on the tree by dying and rising again, He won the victory over sin!
In ancient Babylon, "the whole earth had one language and the same words" (Gen. 11:1). Can you imagine how powerful the people of the earth could have been if they had not given in to the temptation from yetzer hara and from hasatan and instead had humbly submitted to Yeshua? He could have exalted them to magnificence. But they yielded to seduction:
"Then they said, 'Come, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top will reach to heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.' But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men built. The Lord said, 'The people are one and they have one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do; now nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.' So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore the name of it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. From there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth" (Gen. 11:4-9).
We must take a good look at ourselves and take an account. Instead of seeking to exalt ourselves, we need to be just like Yeshua. He did not rise to greatness; He descended to greatness.
Pride and arrogance have the ability to spiritually blind you in such a way that your heart becomes hardened, sometimes to the point of no return. We must consider our ways.
The preceding is an excerpt from Rabbi Charlie Kluge's book, The Tallit (© Charisma House, 2016, all rights reserved).
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