Tuesday, January 27, 2015

“Chilazon” – The aquatic or semi-aquatic creature

In the Talmud, in Menachos 44a, we find the following description: “The ‘Chilazon’s’ body has the color of the sea, and its form is that of a fish. It appears only once in seventy years (In Masechet Tzitzit, the probable source of this information, ‘seventy’ is replaced by ‘seven’), and ‘Techeilet’ is made from its blood; therefore it is very expensive.” Bava Metzia 61b says that the color of the dye made from the “Chilazon” was identical to the color “indigo.” And Menachot 43b says that “Techeilet” was a permanent dye.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tzitzit and Holiness By Rabbi Saul J. Berman

The selection of the parsha of tzitzit for this purpose is motivated by the underlying purpose of this mitzvah - to remind us of the way in which all of the mitzvot of the Torah empower us to achieve holiness in our lives.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Torah Tots Tzitzit coloring page


Tzitzit provides special protection in time of danger

The Gemara tells of a certain Rav Ketina who purposely wore garments that did not require tzitzit on them. He encountered an angel who told him that he was not doing the proper thing. Indeed, the angel told him that although one who does not wear a garment with tzitzit has technically not transgressed the mitzvah and therefore, is not punished directly; nevertheless, when Heavenly Wrath is forthcoming he becomes more vulnerable to it, as he is lacking the extra protection that the mitzvah of tzitzit would afford. The second Gemara relates that one who is conscientious in performing the mitzvah of tzitzit will receive the great reward of being able to greet the countenance of the Divine Presence at the end of his days.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rav Meir Soloveichik on the symbolism of Tekhelet

Rav Meir Soloveichik discusses the idea first suggested by Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik regarding the symbolism of Tekhelet and white in the tzitzit. He examines this in the context of the establishment of the State of Israel and the return of the Jewish people to its sovereign homeland

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Shulchan Aruch Project Genesis Torah.org

A garment that has four or more square corners on opposite sides (10:1-3,5-9,12) requires fringes (TZITZIS), provided it is big enough to cover most of the body (see 16:1), is primarily used for that purpose (10:10-11;19:1-2), and is owned by Jews (see 14:3,5). TZITZIS are required when the garment is worn during the day, or when it is worn at night if it is normally worn during the day; see 18:1-2. The requirement of TZITZIS applies only to garments made of cloth (see 10:4), and is only rabbinical unless they are made of linen or sheep's wool (9:1); according to some opinions, the garment or the TZITZIS should not be of linen (9:2,6). The TZITZIS may be made either of wool or of the same material as the garment (9:2-4); they may be white or of the same color as the garment (9:5).

The threads used for TZITZIS should be spun and twisted for that purpose by a Jew (11:1-2), and the TZITZIS themselves should be made by a (preferably male) Jew (see 20:1), preferably for that purpose (14:1-2). They should be made of material that is permitted and of good quality; see 11:5-8. They should be at least 12 inches long (11:4, and see the next paragraph). If they become untwisted they remain valid provided they remain partly twisted (see 11:3), but they should be knotted at the ends so they do not become untwisted (11:14). On what to do if some of them break see 12:1-3.

The TZITZIS are passed through holes near the four corners of the garment (see 11:9-11,15) that are farthest apart (10:1). Four TZITZIS are passed through each hole (11:12-13), and the two groups of four ends are double-knotted to each other at the edge of the garment near the hole (11:14,15). One of the TZITZIS is made longer than the others (11:4); the long end of that one is wound around the other seven ends and double- knotted; this is done repeatedly so as to make a total of five double knots separated by four sections of winding, with a total length of at least four inches, leaving free-hanging ends that are twice that long (11:14).

TZITZIS should not be removed from a garment that is used by a person except to insert them in another garment; see 15:1. If a piece of a garment that has TZITZIS in it is attached to another garment, the TZITZIS are not valid (15:2); but if the piece is big enough to wear, TZITZIS may be inserted into its other corners (15:3). On cases where a garment is torn, or a piece is added to it, near a corner see 15:4-6. TZITZIS should be treated with respect even if they are no longer in a garment (see 21:1,4), and so should a garment that has (had) TZITZIS in it (see 21:2-3), but it is permitted to sleep in such a garment or to wear it in the toilet (21:3) or in a cemetery (see 23:1-3).

It is not mandatory to wear a garment that requires TZITZIS, but if a person wears such a garment, he is required to put TZITZIS in it (see 8:17), and it is proper to wear such a garment every day, preferably all day, but especially at prayer times (24:1,6). On borrowing such a garment (or other religious objects) without permission see 14:4. It is proper to wear the garment on top of one's other clothes (8:11;24:1) and to hold the TZITZIS and look at them while reciting SHEMA (see 24:2,4-5 and Ch.6). A blind man should wear TZITZIS even though he cannot see them (17:1), but it is not proper for a woman to wear them (see 17:2). A child should start wearing them when he is old enough to do it properly (17:3), as described in the next paragraph. On giving a garment with TZITZIS to a non-Jew see 20:2.

A garment that has TZITZIS should be put on while standing (8:1). It should be put on the upper body, and preferably (at least briefly) over the head (see 8:2-3); the TZITZIS should hang down in front and back (8:4). Each time such a garment is put on (see 8:12-15), the blessing "...Who commanded us about TZITZIS" is recited (if the garment is big enough: "...to cover ourselves with TZITZIS"); see 8:5-6. [This blessing is not recited when making TZITZIS (19:2), but the blessing "...Who kept us alive..." is recited then or when putting them on for the first time (22:1).] The blessing may be recited after dawn, but preferably when it is light enough to distinguish light from dark threads (18:3). It is recited in the morning even if the TZITZIS were worn all night or put on before dawn (8:16). Before reciting the blessing, a person should look at the TZITZIS (24:3), separate them (8:7), examine them closely to ensure they are intact (8:9), and remember that he is wearing them to be reminded of all the Commandments (8:8).

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