I’ve gotten to the age where people get you practical gifts. I hate practical gifts. I want legos. At any rate, last year my in-laws got me a 1 Terabyte external drive. I said thank you but I really didn’t want it. What was I going to do with it? Well, my wife found good use for it with her pictures, and I put my music there. If we didn’t have it the computer would come to a grinding halt.
Avraham’s reward for not taking plunder from the king of Sdom was the mitzvah of Tzitzit (the Tallit, the fringed) and Tefillin. Considering the all of the things that Avraham did in the last parshah and this one, praying for Sdom, saving his nephew, circumcising himself, this wouldn’t seem to be so great. So what was so special?
These two mitzvot are highly connected to intellectual actualization. The tzitzit, with the ritual symbolism of the techilet [blue thread] and multiple ways of tying it, stimulates the mind to contemplate the world. The knots assist with the contemplation of the commandments and the thread helps reflect on nature and the nature of G-d. The tefillin are positioned over the head and next to the heart, which at the two seats of the intellect. The straps and the boxes of the tefillin hit a number of the acupuncture points, which stimulate the intellectual and spiritual aspects of the physical body.
The best gifts aren’t the fun ones but the practical. But I still want legos.