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What is the significance of the number of coils on the tzitzit?

What is the significance of the number of coils on the tzitzit?


There are five (double) knots on each of the tzitzit tassels. In the spaces between these knots, one of the fringes – which is longer than the others – is coiled around the rest. Seven coils in the first space, eight in the second, eleven in the third, and thirteen in the fourth. These 39 coils have the same numerical value as "Hashem Echad" — G‑d is One.

We start with seven coils and conclude with thirteen because when the blue (techelet) fringe was added to the tzitzit, it was coiled around the white fringes anywhere between seven and thirteen times. Techelet is sky-blue, (a constant reminder of the G‑d in Heaven who watches over our every action), and there are seven (spiritual) heavens. If including in the count also the six spaces between the seven heavens, there are a total of thirteen.

Perhaps the reason why the middle two spaces have eight and eleven coils is because G‑d's name (the Tetragrammaton) is divided into two parts; the first part, Yud-Hey, equals fifteen (which is the total of coils in the first two spaces), and the second part, Vav-Hey, equals eleven (the total for the third space). The last space then is the numerical value of "Echad" — "One."

Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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George Hobbs Kent February 9, 2011

Yud - Hey Vav - Hey Dear Rabbi,

Is this then alluding to Gods name being YHVH as opposed to YHWH...with a W? I ask this becasue it is the topic of much argument and debate right now.

My own studies into the Hebrew texts, although I do not read biblical hebrew are informing me that God gave the name YHWH at Sinai to Moshe in front of the burning bush.

Many thanks from a humble Torah scholar. Reply

Rivqah Aurora, CO June 1, 2010

13 There are also the thirteen principles of the Jewish faith. Reply

Naftali Silberberg (Author) September 15, 2009

Re: the number 13 Absolutely! Thirteen is a very significant number in Judaism. Primarily because it is the number of G-d's "Measures of Mercy" (see Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 17b). Reply

Anonymous San Diego, CA September 14, 2009

the number 13 Hi there - Is there any significance to the number 13 being a 'good' number other than it reminds us of the age of a bar-mitzvah?

Thank you Reply

This is no fringe mitzvah! The tallit and tzitzit serves as constant reminders of our obligations to G-d and our fellows.
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