David, we are told, reduced these commandments here reckoned at
six hundred and thirteen, to eleven, and Isaiah still further to
six, and then afterward to two. "Thus saith the Eternal, Observe
justice and act righteously, for my salvation is near." Finally
came Habakkuk, and he reduced the number to one
all-comprehensive precept (chap. ii. 4), "The just shall live by
faith." (See _Maccoth_, fol. 24, col. 1.)
The precept concerning fringes is as weighty as all the other precepts
put together; for it is written, says Rashi (Num. xv. 39), "And remember
all the commandments of the Lord." Now the numerical value of the word
"fringes" is six hundred, and this with eight threads and five knots
makes six hundred and thirteen.
THE TALMUD, _Shevuoth_, fol. 29, col. 1.