Ticheles Nowadays; Legit or Not?

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    jO jO

    What’s up with all the Ticheles on peoples Tzitzus in Eretz Yisroel? Most are Breslov Na Nach (wack-jobs).

    I’ve yet to see one Rebbe, Rosh Yeshiva or Posek wear them.

    Anyone have any input?


    Rav Herschel Schachter wears it.

    blue shirt

    Hello jO jO,

    This the story in short. For more information go to tekhelet.com .

    Attempts have been made in the past to find the lost method of extracting the tcheles dye, the main obstacle having been the difficulty in identifying the sea creature (chilazon)that provides the dye. The Rizhnitzer rebbe in the 1800s thought he had found it, but it had three problems. One, it did not match any of the criteria that the gemara mentions as simanim for the creature. Two, many other creatures can produce the same exact dye. Three, the dye itself did not fulfill the criteria of the gemara and so it was clear that there was nothing unique about the rizhnitzer dye other than that it was a pretty color of blue. Tcheiles it was not.

    Rav Yakov Herzog zt”l, Chief Rabbi of Israel after Rav Kook, a true Torah genius, had written his doctorate as a young man on this subject, and was convinced he had found the true chilazon . The process of the extraction of the dye produced ALL of the necessary properties of true tcheiles as stated in the gemara, except for one. The problem? Tcheiles is supposed to be blueish, and no matter how hard he tried, the color that he found was….purple. Rav Herzog eventually became discouraged and gave up on his attempts. He died still wondering where he had gone wrong.

    By chance, a relatively short time ago, someone was playing with the process of Rav Herzog, and sure enough, came up with the same purple color. However, without serious thought he left the bottle with the purplish wool on the windowsill, and when he came back the next day, lo and behold, the color was sky blue (domeh larakia). He had accidentally discovered the missing link. At a specific stage in the process, the dye had to be exposed to sunlight, which within minutes turned it from purple to blue. Rav Herzog did all his experiments inside a laboratory and so the wool was never exposed to sunlight at the right moment and hence remained a fast purple.

    I must mention that this tcheiles fulfills every single nuance that the gemara describes, including the indistinguishability from kala Ilan, a plant source dye which the gemara says looks identical. Chemical analysis shows that the two are indeed chemically identical.

    The tcheiles institute conducts tcheiles making workshops in the western galil, I participated in one, it was fun and it works. Obviously for tztitzis purposes the the process must be strictly controlled, we are not dealing with finger painting after all. This is a mitzvah mede’oraiso.

    One more point. Whether bizman hazeh one should wear tcheiles is a separate issue and has many sides to it. Many rabbonim claim that since the mesorah was lost, we cannot reinstitute it. This is not a simple issue and is beyond the scope of a site such as this. But it is beautifully clear that the original tcheiles has indeed been identified.


    JoJo, if you’d step out of your daled amos and into the rest of the world you’d see more people who are not just Breslov, wearing techayles. Why do you have to be so negative about it? I personally don’t wear it (yet). I live in the heart of Flatbush and on Shabbos I daven in a shul where the people are all Yeshivish — people who went to mainstream Yeshivas. I work on Long Island — where I daven during the week (I have to be in Melville by 8AM), quite a few people wear techayles. For someone who does wear it, the worst is that they are wearing tzitzis that has one blue string. Otherwise, according to their shitta, they are being mekayem the mitzva of techayles.


    Mayan – by any chance, would you say that they are all YU people? And does the worst case scenario (wearing a blue string that is not tcheiles) not make the tzitzis posul?


    A quick addition to Blue shirt’s brilliant analysis. One of the reasons for NOT wearing “techeiles’ is the fact that, “mi-deoraisa”, if the zizis are dyed with “techeiles” you can THEN have wool tzitzis on a linen “beged”, technically shaatnez, because of “asssei doche Lo saasei”. However, if today’s “techeiles” is NOT the real one then yoU are “oiver’ (transgress) THE “LAV” of shaatnez.

    Hence, the Poskim have refused to use “techeiles” for fear that, if it is an incorrect dye, one would be ‘oiver’ the lav of shaatnez. Obviously, all of the people who use it today use WOOL taleisim, nonetheless to prevent any problems, Poskim have preferred to avoid using techeiles altogether.


    Squeak, some of them are YU people, but what’s the difference? I know people who learned in a Monsey Yeshiva, and got the okay from Rabbi Senter (chof-k) and Rabbi Rudinsky. I know people who live in Boro Park, Flatbush and Monsey who you’d consider “Yeshivish” (some are Chasidish) who wear techayles.

    Having blue colored tzitzis does not make it posul. Please learn the halachos before going any further, as it is evident you don’t know enough to talk about the matter. I spent months just learning about tzitzis (not even about techayles) with a prominent Rav from Flatbush, who now has a Yeshiva in Lakewood.


    personally i dont believe it is techeiles.

    just a feeling

    techeiles is supposed to remind us of the Kisai HaCovod

    much of the Mishkan and the Bigdei Kehunah were composed of Techeles.

    i cant believe it was of this color some call techeles today, it just isnt beautiful enough. techeles should be of a color that uplifts the heart and produces Simcha. the “techeles” today is so weak and “blah”

    obviously i am not suggesting what the Halachah is based on this

    just my feeling


    I think this is one of the more interesting topics on this site. I have always been fascinated by techeiles, and my Rov brought back some from Eretz Yisroel, which he personally researched and was absolutely convinced is authentic. It is exciting to me whenever something of ancient Judaism is brought into our modern day world, especially since it is a mitzvah d’Oreisa to put techeiles on the Tzitzis. It truly connects us with our ancestors. I hope that the dye that is being called techeiles now, is in fact the real McCoy. What I have seen is more of a teal/aqua/skyblue combination, and I am wondering if each one of us perceives the shade of blue differently. In any case, I have felt uplifted by what I have seen, and find it very beautiful. And I don’t even get to wear it!


    There are arguments for and against Techeles. Is it possible that – in additon to pro-con arguments already dicussed- the Rabbonim nowadays do not want to issue a psak that we should wear Techeles, due to the huge financial cost, as each pair costs over $50??


    I think it should also be noted that all the zilbermans in the yeshiva in the old city, plus r’ zalman nechemia goldberg (son in law of r’shlomo zalman) also wear this tcheiles.

    Also, from that which i’ve heard the problem with the rizhiner is that the color doesn’t come from the squid, rather from the other chemicals put in the mixture.


    oomis 1105…I presume from you remark “And I don’t even get to wear it’ that you are a woman. Were you aware that there were very pious rebbetzins in the past generations that did wear a talis koton? (We’ll see how many postings we get on THIS subject)



    about rabbi rudinsky’s psak regarding the techeiles, here it is first hand:

    it is kosher, but not mandatory. the issur of techeiles being of the wrong color is on teh seller, not the wearer. if the wearer thinks he is wearing techeiles, he is fine. the peiople selling this, they have done tremendous amounts of research, and truelly believe they have found it. so that issur is moot. he said that until moshiach comes and tells us for certain that this is the techeiles, their is no mandatory obligation to wear it. there are people in his shul that wear it, but few. in his yeshiva there are also a few, but not wveryone. as far as rabbi ari senter’s psak, it may be based on his rebbe’s – rabbi rudinsky- psak, which he was there for shabbos afternoons about 10 years ago, when this techeiles was found. for more shiurim from rabbi rudinsky, for those that have no clue who he is, and the vast amount of knowledge he posseses, they can be downloade3d and heard at ohrreuven.com. his sefer mishkan bezalel is also available there. he was on of the talmidei muvhak of reb yaakov kaminetzky, and learned bechavrusa with him from the age of 5-6 till reb yaakov’s petira.

    Pashuteh Yid

    For a very informative discussion, both pro and con, you should get a copy of the OU’s book, ASK (forgot what it stands for, volume 2). They have periodic conferences and compile source material.

    It is a fascinating topic. The gemrara mentinos kala ilan as a fake dye that some used to sell instead of the real techeiles. The gemara gives a set of steps to differentiate the two by mixing various herbs and materials. If color fades, it is not techeles.

    However, one of the big problems is that kala ilan which is indigo, is chemically identical to the indigo produced by the mollusk that is thought by the pro-techeles people to be the chilazon, after the processing they prescribe. So how could two identical dyes test differently?

    Second problem is that the gemara says chilazon is a dag (fish), yet mollusks are called shavlul in mishnaic language. (Rav Perr’s kashya.)

    Third problem is that this mollusk was commonly used to dye purple with a different process for many years up till recently, so how could such a common and well-known creature have been totally lost from our mesorah.

    Fourth problem is that gemara talks about potzea chilazon being chayav on Shabbos. I forget the issue here, but something to do with how long they survive after the extraction process.

    Also one final issue that it is supposed to appear once in seventy years, but the current one may not have such a cycle.

    One halachic side-issue is whether one is mechuyav to do something which will still leave him in the same safek as when he began (not knowing if he has been mekayem techeles). Here Rav Shechter has a very strong rayah on some analogous case, where we do it anyway, even though we can’t be sure if we are doing it right. Don’t remember.

    The whole topic is one of the most interesting I have ever studied at the time, just based on the OU book alone.

    The worst thing is for some hotheads to politicize a purely halachic debate as if one’s camp has anything to do with this.

    The worst thing is

    Pashuteh Yid

    BTW, one very strong rayah the pro-techeiles camp has is that the fact that the gemara goes to great lengths to teach us how to differentiate between the plant dye and the real techeiles, but never warns us of another fraudulent animal dye means that there is no other such animal. Otherwise, why did the gemara not give simanim as to how to differentiate the two animal dyes, the fraudulent and the real techeiles, just as it gave simanim on how to differentiate the plant and animal dyes? The pro-techeiles camp therefore says that we must have the real thing, since there is only one possible animal that produces a blue dye.

    At any rate, because of the kashyas listed in my previous post by the anti-techeiles group, Rav Perr is opposed to the use of the current mollusk dye because he feels it will then take on the status of a mesorah, when it is still a safek, and in the future, people may come to rely on the mesorah, although it hasn’t be proven 100%.

    I highly recommed getting a copy of the OU sourcebook. The topic is fascinating.


    Pashuteh Yid – i think all these questions are raised on the techeles web site. they are emesah people, trying to do good. they arent trying to trick anyone. they have answers to all these questions. you may not agree with their answers, and they are fine with that. just don’t say they are wrong. you may feel they are mistaken, but they feel they arent, and al pi halacha, they are wearing techeiles regardless (they say not to put it on a linen beged, so there is no issue of shatnez).


    I forgot who was the who said this however some shu”t sefer wrote that our “lack of mesora” comes from the fact that we moved away from the middle east area to europe but in the area around e”y there still is tcheiles

    Pashuteh Yid

    Mariner, I was not saying the techeles people are wrong. I was trying to present some of the proofs both pro and con. The OU book has teshuvas from both camps, and they are so well-reasoned on both sides, that it is hard to be machria. It is really something you can sink your teeth into. Each tries to answer the kashyas of the other. The shakla vtarya is mamash geshmak.


    Pashuteh Yid: no problem, just wanted to make sure. i have met the people behind it, and they are emes. whether or not your rov agrees, is fine, just letting it be known that there are two tzedadim. and btw, half in not more of the people on here think the ou is trief, so saying to read that here is technically useless.


    how can one get a copy of the OU book?


    The OU sourcebook shows that the murex trunculus techeles are NOT clearly the right ones. Too many kashyes:

    1. The dye is chemically indistinguishable from kala ilan (indigo). Yet, the gemara says there was a test to distinguish techeiles from indigo.

    2. The murex trunculus shells are not the color of the sea.

    3. Murex trunculus doe not come up every 70 years.

    There were a slew of other kashyas which I don’t remember offhand. But the bottom line is, it’s not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination. Tishbi yetareitz.

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