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Tzava'at Harivash 21

Tzava'at Harivash 21

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When donning the talit 1 one is to see the “blue thread.” 2 This means that awe come upon him. 3

Footnotes
1.
A four-cornered garment with tzitzit (special fringes) attached to each corner (Numbers 15:37ff.; Deuteronomy 22:12), commonly called “prayer-shawl.”
2.
The fringes on all four corners are to contain a petil techelet, a thread colored blue (or turquoise) with a dye extracted from an aquatic creature called chilazon. (The identity of this creature is no longer known, thus nowadays we are unable to observe that detail of the precept of tzitzit.)
The significance of the techelet is that its color reflects the color of the sea, which is similar to that of the sky which, in turn, is analogous to that of the Divine Throne of Glory. Thus “you shall see it and remember all the commandments of God and do them, and you shall not stray after your heart and after your eyes...” (Numbers 15:39) To see the “blue thread” (or, in the present observance, the tzitzit in general) is a reminder of God and will prevent man from sinning (Menachot 43b; and cf. above, sect. 5-6, note 1).
3.
The significance of the talit is “accepting upon yourself the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom in the act of spreading the talit over your head” (Zohar III:120b). The techelet signifies the Heavenly Throne of Judgment, thus “you shall see it and remember all the commandments of God” because of the awe or fear it instills (ibid. II:139a and 152a-b; and see also ibid. III:175a).
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