Positive Mitzvah Fourteen

Wearing Tzitzit

BaMidbar 15:38 Speak to the Benei Yisrael and say to them that they shall make themselves tzitzit on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations. And they shall place upon the tzitzit of each corner a thread of techelet:

Tzitzit is a four cornered garment with eight knotted fringes (the tzitzit) hanging from each corner which all Jewish men and boys must wear. One of the strings of each tzitzit is to be dyed techelet with the blood of an aquatic creature known as Chilazon (Rashi). The exact identity of the creature that is the source of this blue dye is unknown nowadays. The techelet thread helps its wearer focus on his duty to G-d because, as the Sages put it: Techelet is similar to the color of the sea, the sea to the sky, and the sky to G-d's Throne of Glory (Menachot 43b)

This is not counted as two Mitzvot, although it is the rule with us that [the absence of] the techelet does not impair the validity of the white, nor does [the absence of] the white threads impair the validity of the techelet. (In each tzitzit there should be seven white threads and one blue.) The reason is given in the Sifre, "One might think that these are two Mitzvot - the Mitzvah of the techelet and the Mitzvah of the white; Scripture therefore states, 'It shall constitute tzitzit for you' (BaMidbar 15:39) thus showing that it is one Mitzvah and not two." (ibid., Sifre)

This Mitzvah is not obligatory upon women as explained at the beginning of Kiddushin 34a, all its provisions are explained in Menachot.

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