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I saw someone wearing a blue string in their tzitzit. What does that mean?

by Rabbi Baruch Emanuel Erdstein

  

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The Jewish spiritual masters explain that the blue string, called “techailet”, manifests the mystical forces of strict judgment in the world. The white strings represent the mystical forces of Divine mercy. When the one techailet string is integrated into the seven white strings, the forces of judgment are subsumed and G-d’s mercy triumphs. In Jewish mysticism, this process is called “the sweetening of the judgments”.


The blue thread also reminds us of the color of the sea, which, in turn reminds us of the blue heavens. When we recall the heavens, this invokes within us a greater sense of G-dly awe.


In fact, according to tradition, the identity of the exact species of sea-creature used to produce this unique dye would be lost in the long years of harsh exile, but would then reappear in the Messianic Age. Spiritually, the reappearance of techailet heralds not the emergence of the strict forces of severity as much as our ability to incorporate it (i.e. sweeten it) into the realm of mercy and loving-kindness. In the Messianic age, the Divine light naturally permeating Creation will enable us to effect this mitigation of harsh spiritual forces.

When the one techailet string is integrated into the seven white strings, the forces of judgment are subsumed and G-d’s mercy triumphs
As long as almost four-hundred years ago, Kabbalists have declared that the Messianic Age has begun to unfold. This should not be confused with the manifestation of the Complete Redemption of world, which we still anticipate; we are employed, however, to acknowledge that the process of Redemption has begun. This is primarily reflected not only by the return of multitudes of Jewish people to the Land of Israel, but by the dissemination of the mystical wisdom of the Kabbalah, such as the writings of the Zohar and the teachings of Chassidut.

Accordingly, the reemergence of the commandment to wear techailet has been long anticipated. With an increase of Divine light, i.e. holiness, comes added responsibility. Nowadays, in addition to the technical questions of whether today’s techailet is authentic, lies a much deeper philosophical underpinning: Are we, in this generation, prepared yet to engage the mystical forces of judgment – even in an attempt to “sweeten” them?

Whatever spiritual worldview one takes at this present time, however, one thing is inevitable: in the age of world redemption and higher consciousness, the world will incorporate all severity and harsh judgment, and we will finally be able to fulfill the Torah commandment of the “thread of blue” in its fullness.


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Apparantly, the Talmud mentions the animal

Posted by: Anonymous, Great Neck, NY on Aug 28, 2006

An online store, called "Zara Mart," is selling these blue strings and claims that the Talmud does indeed provide the sea creature which produces the dye:

"The Talmud describes Tekhelet as coming from a sea-creature called a chilazon. In a homiletic passage, the chilazon is characterized as 'similar to the sea, being similar to [but not] a fish, and coming up from the sea once in seventy years [rarely].' Chilazon in modern Hebrew means 'snail'. Rabbinic, historical, archaeological and chemical evidence point to Murex trunculus snails as the source of Techelet."

It goes on to say how the dye is produced and exactly where these snails live. It makes a pretty compelling case.

Should we trust this?

Editor's Comment

You really wish to trust the alleged "Rabbinic, historical, archaeological and chemical evidence" proffered by a vendor who wishes to sell a product? I'd be very suspicious.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Messiah
Israel » Messiah
Daily Life » Clothing » Tallit and Tzitzit

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Zohar
The most basic work of Jewish mysticism. Authored by Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai in the 2nd century.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Chassidut
The teachings of the Chassidic masters. Chassidut takes mystical concepts such as G-d, the soul, and Torah, and makes them understandable, applicable and practical.
techailet
A blue dye which is produced from the "chilazon" fish. We are Biblically commanded to dye a thread of the tzitzit with this dye.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.