When one wears ‘Tzitziyot’, the staring is obvious. We stick out.
We do NOT wear them to be seen. Nor to feel important. But, we wear them, simply because G-d said to, and Yeshua did so.
The staring can, at times, be a little unsettling, but, I always remember that the Navi [Prophet] said that in the last days, “…ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the kanaf of him that is a Yehudi, saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that Elohim is with you.'” Zekh 8:23 The kanaf is the corner ‘hem’/’wing’ on which the tzitzit hangs. This has happened at least twice in my time wearing the Tzitziyot daily. It truly does ‘set us apart’ from all people, and it truly does stand as a witness to Messiah Yeshua.
The woman who had the issue of blood, who crawled through the crowd to get to Yeshua, told herself that if she could just touch his KANAF, where the tzitzit hangs, she KNEW she would be healed. How? Perhaps she remembered and understood the prophecy:
“But unto you that fear My Name shall Shemesh Tzedaka [Sun of Righteousness] arise with healing in his kanaf; and you shall go forth, and gambol as calves from the stall. ….” Malakhi 3:20
Numbers 15 and Deut 22 both have the command that we make a ‘tzit-tzit,’ a ‘tassel’ and put one on each of the four corners of our garment. We are also commanded that one ‘petil,’ or ‘thread,’ in the tzit-tzit be “tekhelet,’ or that priestly color of blue [the color of the High Priest’s robe].
Since few in modernity have worn a four-cornered garment, the “Tallit” has become a special garment. This is the same as the “mantle” of Eliyahu and David, and all Jews of the Bible, under which they prayed. It used to be the outer garment of every Jew for daily wear, but they also covered themselves with it for sacred occasions [praying, reading Torah, etc]. Since we no longer wear that garment daily, that garment has become used only for prayer and worship, hence it is now called a ‘tallit,’ from the Hebrew word for prayer.
On the four corners of this garment is where we fasten the tzit-tziyot. [plural of tzit-tzit].
There are two primary Jewish ‘communities’ that emerged during the medieval period when the ‘tallit’ became necessary because of change in dress: Ashkenazi and Sephardi. Ashkenazi are the Jews who settled primarily in Germany but also in the Slavic nations, whereas Sephardi are those who settled in Spain. Different customs [only very SLIGHTLY different, which is amazing, given their distance from one another] developed in regard to some of the prayer service, and also in regard to tying tzit-tziyot. The Ashkenazi, from where all my Jewish predecessors came, tie theirs with five knots and four windings, and the winding sections have this series of winds: 7, 8, 11, 13. This number totals 39, the numeric value of the Hebrew phrase, “יהוה Ekhad,” or, יהוה is ONE. The Sephard community’s tradition is to tie five knots with four windings, 10,5,6,5, the numeric value of the name יהוה, total 26, each winding representing one letter of the four letter name יהוה. In each of these traditions, the five knots can represent the five books of Torah.
There are different traditions among Karaite Jews and Yemenite Jews as well, but they are much smaller communities.
As I stated, I and my wife are of Ashkenazi descent. But, we went without the name of יהוה for a big part of our lives, and when we started using the tallit, we decided that we wanted to honor His Name. But, we also wanted to honor our Ashkenazi ancestors, and the Sabbath, AND the Torah, which we also went without for so long.
So, you will see on my tallit and all my tzit-tziyot that we have six knots and five windings! Six knots for the days of the week, five windings for the Torah. The windings are wound in this numeric pattern:
7 = remembering our Ashkenazi ancestors AND honoring the Shabbat.
10 = first letter in יהוה
5 = second letter in יהוה
6 = third letter in יהוה
5 = last letter in יהוה [Hebrew goes right to left].
Add those up:
33, the number of years YESHUA LIVED. He died and rose in that year of His life, and became our High Priest, starting at 33 y.o.
That blue thread you see… it is called the SHAMMASH. The Servant Thread. It is a picture of the “Hight Priest,” as his robe is this color, ‘tekhelet,’ a special and particular blue. All the other SEVEN threads are wrapped in it, where ‘wrap’ is the same word as in the command ‘the garment in which you hide yourself.’
The Jewish community only just recently discovered the source of the tekhelet die, and so many Jews are only now just coming to wear the petil tekhelet [thread of blue] again, inching ever closer to Messiah, their REAL High Priest!
This is how and why we tie our Tzit-Tziyot the way we do [The ‘Perek’ house].
Doing so again recently, I cannot tell you what a thrill it is to obey this; not just the wearing part, but the actual fulfilling of the command גְּדִלִים, תַּעֲשֶׂה-לָּךְ, עַל-אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת כְּסוּתְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תְּכַסֶּה-בָּהּ.. G’dilim Ta’aseh lakh al arba kanfot k’suteikha asher t’khasei ba. [Twisted cords you shall make for yourself on the four corners of the garment in which you hide yourself [for prayer].] It is an intimate connection with Yeshua, unlike anything one can do in this world.
Now you know!