There are times where we would be planning our schedules for the month and Ettie would let me know about an appointment four weeks away. "How about you write it down in your agenda" she would encourage me, and of course I would reply, “agendas are for people who can’t keep track of their lives!” Then I would point to my head and say, “I have it all up here, don’t worry I’ll remember to book the time off.” Well lo and behold, two days before the appointment I would realize that it had slipped my mind and I double booked my time, leaving me having to frantically figure out how to fit everything in. And it’s not just me; I have noticed a phenomenon that men in general often times shy away from note taking, agenda keeping, and writing things down.
There are so many different methods and strategies for staying on top of important events, appointments, ideas, tasks, anniversaries, and so on. The post-it note, for example, is an amazing tool. Write it down, stick it where you will see it, and voila you have a reminder set out for you. That is, until the stickiness wears off and the note falls behind your desk where you will no longer see it and but you know you're missing something yet can’t put your finger on it or remember that you wrote the note in the first place.
There are agendas. Agendas are really great. They have a daily organizer, as well as weekly, monthly, and even yearly calendars. Some even have a section for phone numbers and notes. But they are bulky and aren’t always convenient to carry around. Then when you are out and need to check your schedule, you don’t have it with you because who carries an agenda with them at all times?
With the many technological advances we have seen over the last several years, one can use their phone as their scheduling system. Smart phones have a wide variety of different apps that you can use to plan out your life, lose weight, and make your own song, all while taking pictures and talking to your friend in a far off place. But you have to have a charger everywhere you go, and inevitably the phone dies unexpectedly right when you needed to use it as a reminder.
But there is one constant reminder that Hashem was gracious enough to tell us about. In this week's parsha, Shelach, we learn about the mitzvah of wearing tzitzis. Why do we wear a four cornered garment with long fringes attached? The Torah clearly tells us: “And it shall be to you as fringes; and you shall see it, and remember all the commandments of G-d, and do them; and that you seek not after your heart and your eyes, after which you go astray. That you may remember, and do all My commandments, and be holy to your G-d.”
Hashem knows that life is busy and that in the hustle and bustle it's easy to forget, both items that are big and items that are small. That’s why He sought to give us a wearable post-it note. A constant reminder, day or night which keeps us on track. The stickiness won’t wear off, you don't need to charge it, and it's even wearable; so you can take it with you everywhere you go. Best of all, it is a reminder not only to yourself, but can be an inspiration to others as well.
So whether you’re the paper agenda type or the iPhone aficionado, grab yourself a pair of tzitzis, the best reminder of all.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Shabbos,
Nuta Yisrael Shurack