Problems With Using an Extra Coloured String

Problems With Using an Extra Coloured String

Problems With Using an Extra Coloured String 150 150 Israel Ziderman

Date: May 15

RR: Hi, question.
Is an extra coloured string problematic? And are different chulyos opinions me’akev?
i.e. If one was to wear Tosfos techeiles, would he be yotzei Rambam and Ra’avad as well?

IZ: 1 & 2 no.
3 yes.

RR: So I understand that if one wanted to be yotzei everyone, he should wear Tosfos?

RH: RR correct. Not only that, but many with the idea that Ptil means cord should ask what Rashi and most Rishonim were even thinking, by denying the basic translation of the word Ptil? A translation from Assyrian to English (which I also shared here) helps a lot in that Patalu translates as a weaving of. When translated as such, equal partners of strings make a lot more sense.

YYB: Raavad is yotzei everyone. Tosfos and Rashi both say if you can’t use two whole strings then you’re still yotzei with one whole string. This means you’re also yotzei Raavad, and only not yotzei Rambam. I can’t remember now if the exact loshon is that it’s a b’dieved or if it’s said some other way.

RH: YYB bedieved you’re yotzai whatever you do. The issue is that many Ashkenazi Poskim holding like Tosafos say you’re not yotzai in an entire “Psil” Techeiles if you do too little, and many Sephardi poskim state that if you do too much that’s not good.

DA: RH the Gemara or Sifri (not sure off hand) darshans Psil to teach that you need shizurin (the shoresh means twisted – uphsalto- There is no mashmaos to the number of strings from psil except the simple pshat that it is singular. Rav yitzchak brand brings several examples where the Gemara needs to make a drasha to remove a word from its simple singular meaning to make it plural. The Gemara and sifri darshan the number strings from gdilim, not from psil.

RH: DA that too. And to draw back on the Assyrian dictionary (thanks to the University of Chicago), Gidlu means “braided rope.” So Gedilim refer to braids.

RR: RH from your last comment to YYB I understand that there is indeed a machlokes poskim… or is the machlokes only לכתחילה?

IZ: DA
For RH
Can you locate my previous post quoting Rashi who proves that petil techelet is a collective noun for the material and should be at least 2 cords.

RH: RR The fact that you have at least one Rishon to go by means that you have whom to rely on. Bedieved means something else, in that “after the action is done” can you follow on a minority opinion so that you’re not exactly sinning. Here it’s Lechatchila, just that the majority opinion isn’t followed.
What’s unique in the case of Techeiles is that there is no “real” Mesorah for it, and no Minhagim. R’ Yehoshua Yankelewitz told me that while now he wears Tosafos ratio (and also was instrumental in guiding me to some of the archaeological and linguistic material here), he started off wearing Raavad ratio thinking that 1 string in a case of doubt is the way to go. Then he went to Tosafos. When he learned in the Zilberman Kollel, he followed the Minhag of the Yeshiva and wore only 1 string based on the concept that you can switch ratio if you have no long-standing Mesora for something and it’s up in the air. After he got married he switched back to Tosafos and is wearing his ratio after his own due diligence and research.

IZ: Rashi defines the peshat of petil tekhelet

RH: IZ found it:
“1. As regards to the prefered number of tekhelet cords in tsitsit, let me refer you to Rashi on לתת על המצנפת למעלה (Shemot 39:31), where he proves that, although the term “petil tekhelet” is in the singular, it refers to several cords and at the least to two cords. This justifies his and Tosfot’s ruling on the Gemara that tsitsit requires two tekhelet cords.
2. This ruling is also adopted by the Mishna Berura (11:12, 58): “בזמן שהיה תכלת, היו עושים שנים מתכלת ושנים מלבן”.
3. Furthermore, the late Rabbi Levi Yitshak Halperin זצ”ל, founder and head of the Institute of Science and Halacha, Jerusalem, ruled that the number of threads according to Rambam (1) and Raavad (2) are included in the number adopted by Rashi and Tosafot (4), and it is therefore the preferable הידור to have four.”

IZ: RH 
Regarding a masoret, shouldn’t we accept that nignaz hatekhelet is a strong masoret, directing us to respect its rediscovery.

RR: A costly hiddur

RH: IZ I don’t understand what you mean. If Nignaz is a strong Masoret, then the anti-Techeiles people say that even if Techeiles exists today, we can’t wear it until Moshiach comes. So in terms of rediscovery, perhaps; in terms of wearing it is another matter based strictly on Mesorah.

RH: RR We spend a lot of extra money on mehudar Mezuzos, Tefillin, Sifrei Torah, etc. for a Mitzvah. Why should this be any different?

RR: Was joking. You’re 100% right. The real question is why we spend money on holidays etc. and not on hiddur mitzvah (:

IZ: RR
Since the cost is a one-time expenditure, a calculation of the number times one fulfils the mitzvah with this single tallit means that the cost is less than the required outlay on hiddur.

RH: RR IZ it’s lehavdil similar to getting a high quality item versus a low quality item. High quality items generally cost more but last longer, meaning that in the long term you are saving money. I’m personally thinking of some computers I’ve bought in the past, but this manifests itself in many other items.

IZ:
שבת שלום, חברים

RH: IZ Shabbat Shalom!

DA: RH I would respond that Rashi is trying to explain the stira in the pasukim and in both the context of the tzitz and eifod the word psil has to mean multiple. By the tzitz Rashi actually says there are 3 strings. That does not prove that the inherent meaning of psil is two. Additionally tosfos himself on 38a rejects that the word psil itself means 2.

IZ: DA
But, by tzitz, Rashi does prove that petil tekhelet is not necessarily a single cord.
Regarding that tosfot, which words do you refer to?

IZ: RH
I suggest we look upon nignaz purely as the reason we didn’t have tekhelet all that time. Thus nignaz is not an ikuv nor an issur at all.
Secondly, nignaz explains simply why there is no logic in expecting a positive masoret.
Furthermore, the historical documentation says that the trunculus dyeing industry stopped in the same period that tekhelet was reported nignaz: no other dramatic suspension of a lucrative industry is known to me. This is compelling evidence.

Israel Ziderman

Scientific Director, Tekhelet Foundation
Chairman, Union of Civilian Research Scientists in Israel
Scientific Editor, Yalkut Journal of the Israel Textile & Fashion Association

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