Tzitzit (illustration)
Tzitzit (illustration)Nati Shohat, Flash 90

Yair Ben-Ezra, who was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Ra'anana last month, sent a moving thank you letter to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, in which he asserted his tzitzit (ritual fringes) had saved his life. 

"My name is Yair Ben-Ezra," he wrote to the president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which has raised thousands of dollars to help Israeli victims of terror. "On October 13, 2015, I was attacked and stabbed five times all over my body by a terrorist from eastern Jerusalem who came at me while I was waiting at the bus stop."

Ben-Ezra recounted how on the morning of the attack, he had debated about wearing the new pair of tzitzit he had purchased for his sister's wedding, to be held the next day. 

"The morning of the attack, all of my tzitzit were hanging on the clothesline to dry, and I had only the new pair, folded in the closet, waiting for me. But then my yetzer harah (evil inclination) came and said to me: 'Nothing will happen - don't wear them today, save them for tomorrow and the wedding.'"

Ben-Ezra said his misgivings nearly prevented him from wearing the new tzitzit, until he gave in to wearing the garment. "I told myself, no! (...) I cannot let my yetzer harah dominate me. [The tzitzit] are my personal protector."

"In the minutes after I was stabbed as I waited for the paramedics," Ben-Ezra recounted, "the tzitzit that enveloped me were used by Hatzalah medics as a tourniquet for my stab wounds."

Despite his serious injuries, the brave Ben-Ezra struggled with the terrorist, preventing him from attacking additional civilians. 

Ben-Ezra concluded the letter by thanking Rabbi Eckstein: "I am moved to tears from the financial aid you have given me, which has helped me and my family in these difficult times. Thank you for your life's work and the activities of the fellowship you run."