|We at TorahTeachers.com observe the wearing of tzitzits on our garments. The commandment in Num 15:38-39 does not show us exactly how to tie them although it does clearly say that each one must have blue in them. There are other hints in the Hebrew that have guided several methods of tying them. We are going to explain here several methods to cover whichever way you would like to obey Yahweh’s Command.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 15:37-40
Again YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying, 38 “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners.
39 And it shall be unto you for a tassel, that you may look upon it and remember ALL the commandments of YHWH, to do them; and that you may NOT follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 and that you may remember and do ALL My commandments, and be set-apart unto your Elohim.”
Note: There are many ways to tie the tzitzit. The main thing is that the tzitzit contain a thread of blue.
The author has since begun wearing a style of tzitzit known as ˜Two House Tzitzit,™ developed and presently tied by Zipporah Reshel, of www.zipporahsthimble.com.
The author offers this article only as an alternative, for those who wish to tie their own tzitzit.
The commandment in Numbers 15:37-40 is to make tassels or ˜festoons™ on the four corners of one™s garment, so that one may look upon it throughout the day, and remember to do all the commandments of YHWH, that one might be set-apart unto Elohim.
To wear tassels daily surely sets one apart, as most people look on this practice as an oddity: But the commandment remains; and so YHWH can see who values His commandments more than they value the opinions of men.
The Rabbis have historically tied their tzitziyot with a ˜winding™ pattern, according to the ˜School of Shammai.™ However, the very word ˜Tzitzit™ seems to indicate a woven pattern, as the Hebrew letters Tzadee, Yod, Tzadee, Tav spell out the word picture, ˜Hook, make, hook, sign.™ It is a woven (not a wound) sign.
×¦×™×¦×ª (Hook, Make, Hook, Sign)
To make your first set of woven (or braided) tzitzit, give yourself about an hour. They take just a little bit longer to make than the wound version, but the end product is much better-looking.
Referring to the study ˜Ephraimite Halachah for Techelet,™ the cord, string or yarn can be of any material, provided the strings are all of the same kind (not mixing, say an animal product like wool yarn, with a vegetable product like cotton.) Since I put my tzitzit on a linen or cotton garment (both vegetable products) I use cotton yarn here.
Reference the study ˜Ephraimite Halachah for Techelet,™ (located for free online, at www.nazareneisrael.org/freestudies.asp), the yarn should be dyed of the indigo plant, as this is the meaning of the word ˜Techelet.™
It can be either a light or a dark shade of indigo, as long as it is of indigo:
Unless you are going to tie your tzitzit directly onto the garment (which is the standard Orthodox practice), you will need to tie your tzitzit on some kind of ˜anchor™ that will give you an appropriate-sized loop, when you are finished.
Go ahead and get comfortable, because you will be at it for about an hour.
Start with two lengths of string, one white and one blue, each about thirty-six inches in length (one yard, or one meter long):
Tie a square-knot around the anchor:
The square-knot will not count in your twenty-six knots. It is merely an anchor:
Next, begin to spread out your strings in a ˜four-square™ lanyard-style pattern. Those who were Boy Scouts may remember this pattern from their youth.
Take one blue cord initially ˜north™ (or up.)
Then take one white cord initially ˜west™ (or to the left.)
Now take the other blue cord ˜south™ (or down);
Then take the other white cord ˜east™ (or right.)
Now comes the tricky part. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy; but the first time you do it, give yourself some time.
Place your left index finger ˜above™ the anchoring square-knot, and then loop the top blue string over your finger, bringing it ˜south.™ Lay it to the left-hand side of the other blue string (This is important.)
You will need to maintain this loop while you work with the other three strings):
Now bring the ˜west™ string over the top of the blue you just brought down (bring it ˜east™), laying it below the other white string:
Now take the blue that was originally ˜south,™ and take it ˜northward,™ over the top of the white you just brought east. Make sure it falls to the right of the other blue:
Now take the white that originally went ˜east,™ and you will bring it through the loop that your index finger is maintaining, over the top of the blue string you just brought ˜north:™
As you pull back your index finger, bring it through¦.
And you will see that you have formed a kind of a square ˜lanyard-style™ knot. All of the strings will be looped under each other (or ˜woven together™):
Slowly tighten it up¦.
As it gets tighter you can see the ˜square™ pattern.
The first few times you do it, tighten the strings evenly:
Evening them up to get tighter¦.
It is not necessary (or even desirable) to pull them very tight. Just bring them snug together, like in fellowship¦.
Now repeat this pattern twenty-five more times (for a total of twenty-six.) The number twenty-six is symbolic of YHWH™s Name:
If you lose count, count the knots going ˜around the barber-pole,™ rather than counting down. (Be sure to exclude the anchoring square-knot from your count.)
When you are all done and happy, take a deep breath, say a prayer of thanks, and then finish it off with another square knot (right-over-left, and then left-over-right) in addition to the twenty-six knots:
Baruch HaShem YHWH¦.
How to Tie Sephardic Tzitzit – top
The Main difference between the more traditional tzitzits you will usually see are the number of knots used in the making of the set. The photo below shows the main difference and we will further discuss how to tie these two styles…
Most people will be seen wearing Sephardic Tzitzits. Which simply has the 10-5-6-5 which when you take the coorisponding Hebrew letter spells YHVH or Yahweh’s Name. Most tallits from Israel I have seen are Ashkenaz 7-8-11-13 which adds up to 39 and through gematria is the number for Echad or “The Lord is One”
The sets found on tallits are usually slightly different than the set above in that instead of knots for the numbered sections, they usually just use wraps.
How to Tie Ashkenaz Tzitzit – top