Dear Refiner's Fire...

Dear The Refiners Fire crew, thanks much for your information and knowledge that enables us to learn. Your website is great. It's as though Ephesians 1:17 is being implemented in my life. Could you please help me understand how in our current lifestyles we can implement Tzitzit? Where can we obtain them? Can we make them ourselves out of what? How do we actually use them considering our attire and life styles are so different? And there's a lot of division out there about women being able to wear them. What do you say about this?

Our Response...

Thanks for writing - and first we would like to mention that it's awesome that you mentioned Ephesians 1. According to the AENT with Footnote, there is very deep meaning in this passage:

Ephesians 1: 17. That the Elohim of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in the recognition of him. (AENT)

Footnote: Four attributes (sefirot) of YHWH are being described in this one sentence: shubkha (Heb. Hod) = majesty/glory; chokhmata (Heb. Chokhma) = wisdom; gilyana (Heb. Shekhinah) = revelation/manisfestation; and yadai (Heb. Da'at) = spiritual knowledge. Two of these words are exact cognates, essentially the same words from the Hebrew. Two others are close synonyms. Rav Shaul uses a synonym for yadai earlier in this chapter: sakal, rendered as "spiritual understanding" in 1:8. Other attributes (sefirot) are very clearly described throughout this first chapter.

Moving on to your questions: Yes we can and should use them today, in our current lifestyle! The commandment to wear tzitzit was a "forever" command! Numbers 15:37-40:

Numbers 15: 37 ADONAI said to Moshe, 38 "Speak to the people of Isra'el, instructing them to make, through all their generations, tzitziyot on the corners of their garments, and to put with the tzitzit on each corner a blue thread. 39 It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of ADONAI's mitzvot and obey them, so that you won't go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves; 40 but it will help you remember and obey all my mitzvot and be holy for your God. 41 I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to be your God. I am ADONAI your God." ( CJB)

Tzitzit are made with "loops" on the end so they can be looped around belt-loops on pants or dresses. Since the commandment is to "wear them on the corners of your garment", we often see tzitzit put on in pairs - 2 on your left hip, and two on your right hip, where the seams of the fabric of the pants or dress come together. Another way is to tie the tzizit onto a string or belt, which you can then wear around your waist, over any garment. Another way is to wear a "tallit katan" - sort of a "vest" with the tzitzit tied to the corners of the vest, which you then wear.

They can be purchased from a number of vendors on the Internet, if you have access to that and a credit card with which to make payment. Simply Google tzit-tzit - and bear in mind that most traditional shops do not include the blue thread, so in most cases, if you buy ready-made tzitzit, you must still take them apart, and re-assemble them with your own blue thread.

You can make Tzitzit from needlepoint or crochet thread or yarn, the kind called "chainette". Chainette threads are a particular type of round thread. They look like a long line of crochet loops and cannot be divided into individual strands. The kind we are familiar with is "Red Heart" brand, "Luster Sheen, No. 2, fine". All you need is a roll of white, and a roll of blue. You will use a whole lot more white than blue as each tzitzit requires 3 strands of white and 1 of blue. Tying your own takes some practice, but it is not hard. Click here for a site with some instructions.

You can buy the thread at any fabric store or from Judaica shops - but the Judaica shops will charge a whole lot more since they will already be cut to length, and packaged.

Depending on your situation, wearing Tzitzit in public is fine. But if you feel uncomfortable or fear being confronted about them, then wear them "tucked-in" where they do not show on the outside. Yahweh said "It is to be a Tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of YAHWEH's mitzvot and obey them, so that you won't go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you" - and you can still know they are with you, even though they are tucked-in. On the other hand, if want to wear them so others can see them, it will give you great opportunity to talk to others about the importance of Torah, and obedience to Yahweh.

For those who insist that women are NOT to wear tzitzit, please read the following.

Reread Numbers 15:37-40 above and ask yourself: Are only "men" the "sons/people of Israel"? Do only men need a tzitzit to "look at and thereby remember all of ADONAI's mitzvot and obey them, so that [they] won't go around wherever [their] own heart and eyes lead [them] to prostitute [them]selves"? Do only men need help to "remember and obey all [God's] mitzvot and be holy for God"?

According to one Aramaic scholar: The Hebrew word B'NAY does in fact mean "sons"; however, the Rabbis admit there are times when it can be argued it's a mixed gender group and the term does not "turn" female until the whole group is designated "female". It is true also that a clearer word for "people" in Hebrew would be AM (people), but that doesn't mean B'NAY always and only means "sons"; it is a matter of interpretation that may never be resolved. However, there is nothing in the Torah that FORBIDS women specifically from wearing tzitzit either, and therefore, worst case, it is OPTIONAL for women to do so - but not a violation of Torah IF they opt to do so.

Below is an idea for women who wish to wear tzitzit...instead of tying and untying, simply place them on a belt: