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Shlach

  
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 15:37  15:38
15:38 speak to the Israelites and have them make tassels on the corners of their garments for all generations. They shall include a twist of sky-blue wool in the corner tassels.
Daber el-beney Yisra'el ve'amarta alehem ve'asu lahem tsitsit al-kanfey vigdeyhem ledorotam venatenu al-tsitsit hakanaf ptil techelet.



Commentary:

tassels
  Tzitzith in Hebrew. Also see Deuteronomy 22:12. The tzitzith-tassels consist of four strings doubled over so that eight strings appear to hang from each corner (Menachoth 39b). There is also an area where a single string is wound around the other seven, consisting of one-third of the tassel (Menachoth 39a). This must be held in place by a knot (Yevamoth 4a, b). The custom is that there be five knots and four areas of winding on each tzitzith-tassel (Targum Yonathan). The prevailing custom is that these wound areas have respectively 7, 8, 11 and 13 windings.

twist
  Some say that this denotes a single thread made of two strands twisted together (Sifri; Targum Yonathan). According to this, only one of the seven strings would be dyed blue (Yad, Tzitzith 1:6). This was done by dying half of one of the strings before it was inserted (Teshuvoth Ramban, P'er HaDor 21).

A second opinion is that the word pethil here denotes a doubled-over string (Tosafoth, Menachoth 38a, s.v. HaTekheleth, end, 39b, s.v. U'Posle-hah). This may agree with the opinion that an entire thread was dyed blue, so that when it was doubled over, two out of the eight strings were blue (Raavad on Yad, Tzizith 1:6).

There is a third opinion that the word pethil here denotes the thread that is wound around the others (Rashi, Menachoth 39b, s.v. U'Posle'hah; Rashi on Deuteronomy 32:5). Thus, it was the blue thread that was wound around the others. According to this opinion, the number of blue threads is not defined, and may be equal to the number of white threads. There were thus four blue and four white strings in the tassel (Rashi, Tosafoth, Menachoth 38a, s.v. HaTekheleth).

If the special blue wool is not available, the fringes can be made entirely white (Menachoth 38a).

sky-blue wool
  See note on Exodus 25:4.





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