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Tekhelet is the ancient royal colored fabric that we are commanded to place on our tzitzit, as the Torah states: “And you shall place on the corner tzitzit a thread of Tekhelet” (Bamidbar 15:38).
About 1300 years ago, the secrets of this wondrous blue color including the identity of the mysterious sea creature – the Chillazon – that produced the dye, slipped into obscurity.
Over the past half-century, a convergence of research and discoveries by Rabbis, scientists, archeologists, and others has led to the conclusive identification of the sea-snail, Murex trunculus, as the authentic source of Tekhelet.
Since 1991, Ptil Tekhelet has been producing Tekhelet threads allowing Jews to once again fulfil the mitzvah in its most complete manner.
The process for making Tekhelet is long and painstaking.
Once the sea-snails are caught the dye is extracted and quickly turns a dark purple.
Then chemicals are added and the liquid (which has now turned yellow) is heated and then exposed to sunlight.
Next, the wool is dipped into the vat to fully absorb the dye.
When the wool is removed and exposed to air, the magic begins: the wool changes before one’s very eyes into a beautiful sky-blue color.
It is then processed – carded, spun and plied – by hand and for the express purpose of the mitzvah, and the tzitzit threads are ready.
The mitzvah of tzitzit is to place four strings on each of the four corners of the garment.
These are threaded through a hole such that eight strings hang from each corner.
The Rambam holds that one of the eight threads (that is a half of one of the four strings) be of Tekhelet and the other white.
The Raavad holds that two of the eight are tekhelet, and Tosafot hold that the white and tekhelet are even, four of each.
Confused about what opinion you should follow, or how to arrange the various knots and twists? Visit our site and learn more about the different methods.
Most of us know what size shirt we are, but what about a pair of tzitzit or tallit?
Here is a quick guide that will help you order the garment that fits you best:
For the tzitzit:
Small is size 20, Medium is 22, and large is 24.
For a tallit:
Small is size 55, Medium is 60, and Large is size 70.
Choosing the right size garment will ensure the best experience and long-term comfort. Enjoy your Tekhelet!