Have tassels on four-cornered garments

The Literal Commandment

"Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God." (Numbers 15:38-41)

 

The literal commandment is that we should make tassels on the corners of our garments.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

 

Pictures of Messiah

As the Word of G-d made flesh, Messiah is the perfect picture of G-d's commandments. The commandment to put tassels on the corners of our garments (to set them all around us) pictures not only the perfect life of obedience that Messiah lived but the life we should live in Him. He is all around us. No matter which way we turn, no matter which way life would turn us, we are surrounded by the tassels and by the life of Messiah.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by wearing tassels on the corners of his garments.

When the scribes of Israel translated the Hebrew scriptures in the Greek Septuagint, they used the word kraspedon to translate the Hebrew word tzitzit. This same word, kraspedon, is used to describe the fringes of Messiah's "cloak" in the story of the woman with the issue of blood:

While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, "My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live." Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples. And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I will get well." But Jesus turning and seeing her said, "Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well." At once the woman was made well. (Matthew 9:18-22)

 

The word "fringe" in this passage is the same word, kraspedon, that is used in the commandment of Numbers 15:38.

 

Traditional Observance

prayer shawlThis commandment is traditionally observed two ways: either with a large sheet-like garment called a tallit gadol or a smaller, poncho-like garment called a tallit gadol.

In both instances the tzitzit are affixed on the corners of these garments.

In the image at right, the man is wearing a tallit gadol. The tassels along the edge of the garment are not the tzitzit. The tzitzit are the longer tassels at the end (the corners) of the garment beneath his hands.

 

The image below shows a close-up of two kinds of tzitzit: one with a thread of blue and one without. The twists, windings, and knots shown below vary among various groups.

800px-Tzitzith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community

It is interesting to note that the purpose of tzitzit is not for the person wearing to see them. How often does a person look down at his waist during the day? Tzitzit is a community activity. The members of the community wear tzitzit so that others in the community can see them and be reminded of the commandments of G-d.

 

You can learn more about the traditions of tzitzit here.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should wear tassels/tzitzit on the corners of our garments.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 84
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 2
  • Mishneh Torah Book Love
  • Mishneh Torah Category 9- Tzitzit
  • Reference Numbers 15:38
  • Scripture Book Numbers
  • Chapter 15
  • Verse 38
  • English Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue.
  • Hebrew לח דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל-כַּנְפֵי בִגְדֵיהֶם, לְדֹרֹתָם; וְנָתְנוּ עַל-צִיצִת הַכָּנָף, פְּתִיל תְּכֵלֶת.
  • Greek 38 Λάλησον τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ καὶ ἐρεῖς πρὸς αὐτοὺς καὶ ποιησάτωσαν ἑαυτοῖς κράσπεδα ἐπὶ τὰ πτερύγια τῶν ἱματίων αὐτῶν εἰς τὰς γενεὰς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐπιθήσετε ἐπὶ τὰ κράσπεδα τῶν πτερυγίων κλῶσμα ὑακίνθινον.
  • Parashah 37- Shelach
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 386
  • Sef. Hach. Command The precept of tzitzit, tassels on a four-cornered garment
  • Category Signs and Symbols
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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