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Why do certain people have a blue-dyed fringe on their tzitzit?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Daily Life » Clothing » Tallit and Tzitzit | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The Torah commands us (Numbers 15:38) to place a blue (“techailet”) fringe on the corner of our four-cornered garments. Our sages tell us that this fringe must be dyed with the blood of a (shell?) fish called “chilazon.” This rare fish is a denizen of the Mediterranean Sea.


A blue (“techailet”) fringe is placed on the corner of our four-cornered garments. Our sages tell us that this fringe must be dyed with the blood of a (shell?) fish called “chilazon.”
After the Jewish people were exiled from the Holy Land, the chilazon was no longer available. Therefore, for many centuries Jews wore Tzitzit without techailet.


In the past century, there were certain venerable rabbis who claimed to have identified the chilazon. Since then, tzitzit with techailet has made a comeback, and one can often spot people sporting such Tallitot. There are many, however, who have cast doubts on the re-identification of the chilazon.


Rabbi Sholom DovBer, the fifth Rebbe of Lubavitch, maintained that according to the teachings of Kabbalah, the chilazon will not reemerge until the coming of the Messiah.1 

Footnotes

  • 1. Igrot Kodesh of the Rebbe Rashab, vol. 1:158

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Techeles

Posted by: Garet Benson, Israel on Apr 05, 2011

It should probably be mentioned that there are two types of dye that are claimed to be techelet: cuttlefish tzitzits (Radzyner) and Murex Trunculus tzitzits.


RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » 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.
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.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Tzitzit
Literally: the fringes which are attached to four cornered garments, as Biblically mandated. Normally this word refers to a t-shirt sized four cornered garment which contains such fringes, and is usually worn beneath the shirt.
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.
Tallitot
Plural form of "Tallit." Prayer shawls. Large four-cornered woolen garment with fringes attached to their corners in a specific manner. These garments are worn by males during the morning prayers, fulfilling the Biblical obligation of attaching fringes to four-cornered garments.
Lubavitch
Also known as “Chabad,” Lubavitch is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. “Lubavitch” is the name of the Belarusian city where four of the Chabad Rebbes (leaders) were based. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York, with branches worldwide. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.