It seems obvious to me that in general it’s better to keep more mitzvot rather than fewer, but wearing tzitzit seems like a special case. I’ve asked rabbis in my community about this, but I want to ask here to solicit a more diverse response.
Numbers 15:39-40, the section read in the Shema that describes the meaning of tzitzit, says:
וְהָיָ֣ה לָכֶם֮ לְצִיצִת֒ וּרְאִיתֶ֣ם אֹת֗וֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺ֣ת יְהוָ֔ה וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם וְלֹֽא־תָתֻ֜רוּ אַחֲרֵ֤י לְבַבְכֶם֙ וְאַחֲרֵ֣י עֵֽינֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּ֥ם זֹנִ֖ים אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃ לְמַ֣עַן תִּזְכְּר֔וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺתָ֑י וִהְיִיתֶ֥ם קְדֹשִׁ֖ים לֵֽאלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃
And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God.
I’m sure there’s plenty of commentary on this — and I would be honored to be taught more about it — but p’shat seems to me to be clear that tzitzit are the reminder to perform all mitzvot and not to subordinate them to going “after your own heart.” So what I’m wondering is, if tzitzit are an indication of following “all the commandments,” is it appropriate for non-Orthodox Jews to wear them?
Say one dresses liberally by mainstream American standards, let alone Orthodox ones, but wears tzitzit (and a kippah), too. One eats only foods that are nominally kosher, and only eats hechshered meat, but one does eat (vegetarian/dairy only) at non-kosher restaurants. One prays three times a day at the appointed times, but prefers or is at least accepting of egalitarian prayer. One keeps Shabbat in most ways but will still shut off appliances that are no longer being used on Shabbat in order to conserve energy and reduce environmental impact. One is, in other words, the ideal religious Conservative or Reconstructionist Jew, striving hard to incorporate mitzvot into one’s life but sometimes going against rabbinic interpretations for one’s own, personal, ethical reasons (“after [one’s] own heart”).
Should this person not wear tzitzit? Does wearing tzitzit make it a more serious problem to act in these religious but non-traditionally Halakhic ways because of Torah’s clear instruction to keep “all the commandments” while wearing them?
One obvious concern I can think of is marit ayin. Is it better to be seen by the community living this way without tzitzit than with them?
But even privately, what if one does not intend to follow “all the commandments,” at least as rabbinic tradition has conveyed them? Maybe one does aspire to keep “all the commandments” as they interpret them themselves, or in the way their liberal rabbi might interpret them, but certainly not in the way Halakhic tradition does. Is that not a conflict with the pasuk?