So Just What Exactly Is That “Tassel” Thing The “JEWS” Wear?

I must confess that I copied this article on the Tzitzit from .   Its a good article that includes more details than I personally would bother with, but it does include the correct references to Abraham and his descendants.

Who are the descendants of Abraham?

Those who worship the same El as does Abraham.  A key point is this: worship means we study His Word and apply His commands in our daily lives, and this includes all of the holy days established by Yahuah.

Romans 9: 6It is not as though God’s word has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are Abraham’s descendants are they all his children. On the contrary, “Through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned.”a 8So it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as offspring.

The Promise is quoted verbatim from scripture in my Torah Notes (download The Truth) and it is directed at those who obey the commands of Yahuah.  It is the obedient who are children of the Promise, and who are the rightful and declared descendants of Abraham.

I am not a “Jew”, and the Tzitzit is not “Jewish” at all.  It is simply a command of Yahuah to the descendants of Abraham forever.  If you claim to follow Yahuah and claim salvation through Yahusha, then you are plainly expected to study, know and obey the commands of Yahuah.  That includes wearing your Tzitzit 🙂

Now, on to the interesting Tzitzit article I mentioned above…

What is This Tzitzit Nonsense?

The wearing of tzit-tzit is a commandment given in Numbers 15:37-41 and is repeated in Deut 22:12. We also read about it in the Apostolic writings. YHVH gave this commandment to wear tzit-tzit and to look at it, as a reminder to us to do all His commandments and be set apart to Him. In this study, we will explore this commandment a bit to see how we are to understand and apply this in our lives. It may seem insignificant, but it is not. It may seem like one of the least of YHVH’s commandments, but it is very important.

We shall first look at what is defined as tzit-tzit. Then we shall examine who is to wear it as well as how and why.

Here is the first instruction for wearing tzit-tzit:

Numbers 15:37–40
37 YHVH also spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39 “It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of YHVH, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, 40 so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your Elohim.

When was this commandment given? Let’s back up a few verses.

Numbers 15:30–31
30 ‘But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming YHVH; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 ‘Because he has despised the word of YHVH and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.’ ”

Just after this was said by YHVH, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. We know from Scripture that no work is allowed on the Sabbath day. This man was stoned for his transgression.

After this, YHVH gave Israel the instruction to wear tzit-tzit as a reminder not to transgress His commandments.

In Deuteronomy, the commandment to wear tzit-tzit is repeated. This instruction is preceded by the teaching about not mixing certain things.

Deuteronomy 22:12
12 “You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.

So, we are commanded to wear this tzit-tzit, but what is this?

What is tzit-tzit?

There are two schools of thought about this. One group is teaching that it was like a border on the hems of their clothing. This teaching is not in line with Scripture or the historical evidence available to us.

The traditional teaching is that tzit-tzit is a tassel, likened to a tuft of hair. Let us look at what is written in Scripture…

The Hebrew word “sisit” is translated as tassels in Number 15:37. Here is the definition from the Dictionary of Biblical Languages:

7492 צִיצִת (ṣî·ṣiṯ): n.fem.; ≡ Str 6734; TWOT 1912—1. LN 6.194 tassel, i.e., a hanging ornamental pendant, somewhat conical in shape, made of a parallel bunch of cords or thread bound on one end and hanging loose and possibly cut on the other (Nu 15:38,39+; 2. LN 8.9–8.69 tuft, lock, i.e., a mop or bunch of head-hair (Eze 8:3+)2
The Hebrew word for tassel is ṣîṣiṯ, possibly from a root word meaning “blossom.” Perhaps this tassel was in the form of a flower or petal which, for reasons unclear now, symbolized the covenant bonds which linked the LORD to His people.3

We understand it to be a tassel with a cord of blue. There are pictures of Jews in captivity who are wearing tassels. Here is one such picture:4

Hebrew 1

Here is an excerpt from an article that was published in the Biblical Archeology Review, to give you some more insight on the wearing of tassels.

The tassels were in fact extensions of the hem, as we learn from innumerable illustrations in ancient Near Eastern art.

To understand the significance of the tassel, we must first understand the significance of the hem. The hem of an ancient Near Eastern garment was not simply a fold sewed to prevent the threads of the cloth from unraveling. The hem of the outer garment or robe made an important social statement. It was usually the most ornate part of the garment. And the more important the individual, the more elaborate and the more ornate was the embroidery on the hem of his or her outer robe. The tassel must be understood as an extension of such a hem.

Extra-Biblical texts teach us that the ornate hem was considered a symbolic extension of the owner himself and more specifically of his rank and authority….

...The significance of the hem and of its being cut off is reflected in a famous Biblical episode. When the young and future king, David, fled from the jealous wrath of King Saul, Saul pursued David into the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea. Weary from his pursuit, Saul went into one of the caves near the spring at Ein Gedi to relieve himself, unaware that David and his men were hiding in that very cave. David’s men urged him to kill the unsuspecting Saul. Instead, David cut the hem of Saul’s cloak to prove that he could easily have killed Saul if he had wanted to, but that he would not harm the Lord’s anointed. The passage has a deeper significance, however—in some ways the opposite significance. The hem that David cut off was an extension of Saul’s person and authority. David did in fact harm the Lord’s anointed; that is why David immediately felt remorse for what he had done: “Afterward David reproached himself for having cut off the hem of Saul’s cloak” (1 Samuel 24:6). According to the New English Bible translation, David’s “conscience smote him” (1 Samuel 24:7). Although protesting that he had not lifted a finger or a hand against the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:10), David had in fact committed a symbolic act—cutting off Saul’s hem—of enormous significance. This significance was not lost on King Saul; he understood full well: “Now I know that you will become king” (1 Samuel 24:20).

Returning to the tassels or tsitsit that the Israelites were commanded to wear, they can be understood as extensions of the hem. The tassels, as shown in the illustrations, are part of the hem; they are simply extended threads of the embroidery of the hem. A tassel may hang free or it may be decorated with a flower head or bell at the end.


Fringed garments worn by prisoners captured by Ramesses III. The paint is still bright on this mortuary temple wall relief at Medinet Habu in Thebes, built by Ramesses III in the first half of the 12th century B.C. The captives are of different nationalities, distinguishable by the ways they are bound and by their dress. From the left, the first prisoner, with his hands bound behind him, is a bearded Libyan with long robe; the next, with a pointed beard and striped tunic, is a Semite. Both this Semite and the Philistine with characteristic feathered headdress, far right, have tassels hanging from the corners of their kilts. Here we see that the commandment to the Israelites in Numbers 15:37 to wear tassels on the corners of their garments reflected a style of dress already in use among other ancient peoples.5

The instruction in Deuteronomy

Did you know that when this instruction is repeated in Deuteronomy 22:12, a different Hebrew word was used. Here, the word “tassels” was translated from the Hebrew word “gadil

1544 גָּדִל (gā·ḏil): n.[masc.]; ≡ Str 1434; TWOT 315c—1. LN 6.194 (pl.) tassels, i.e., a dangling ornament made by taking parallel threads and tying them together at one end (Dt 22:12+); 2. LN 6.188–6.196 festoons, i.e., decorative chains hanging between two pillars (1Ki 7:17+)2

This confirms that it was indeed tassels which was commanded to be worn. Let’s look at what is written in the Apostolic writings.

In the Apostolic writings, the Greek word “kraspedon” is used and has the same meaning.

3192 κράσπεδον (kraspedon), ου (ou), τό (to): n.neu.; ≡ DBLHebr 1544; Str 2899; TDNT 3.904—1. LN 6.180 fringe edge, border, hem (Mt 9:20; 14:36; Mk 6:56; Lk 8:44+), for another interp, see next; 2. LN 6.194 tassel (Mt 23:5+), for another interp, see prior2

Now that we know what it is, the next logical question is if we are still to wear this.

Are we still to wear this?

When we read the commandment in Numbers, we see the phrase “throughout their generations.” This phrase means it is an instruction that is to be followed until the end of time. As long as you call yourself a believer in the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, this is for you.

Let’s just stand still at this phrase for a moment as this is important. It is used eighty-eight times in Scripture. We will list a few examples here:

  • When YHVH established a covenant with Abraham and His descendants this is the phrase He used (Gen 17:7,9),
  • When the instruction was given to circumcise, this phrase was used(Gen 17:12)
  • when the instruction was given to keep the passover, unleavened bread and a vigil on the night of the first day of unleavened bread, this was the phrase used (Ex 12:14, 17, 42); also not to eat grain before the first fruit offering was brought
  • When YHVH gave instruction to make a proclamation and celebrate Shavuot, Yom Kippurim and Sukkot (Lev 23:21, 31,41)
  • when YHVH gave the instruction for the menorah to be kept burning, this is the phrase He used (Ex27:21),
  • When Aaron and his sons were given some instructions regarding the priesthood (Ex 30:21, ex 40:15, Lev 7:36, Num 18:23, Num 10:8, Lev 10:9, Lev 21:17);
  • The Sabbath is to be observed as a perpetual covenant throughout our generations (Ex 31:16);
  • When YHVH instructed us not to eat any blood or any fat (Lev 3:17)
  • When Israel were commanded about their sacrifices, this phrase was used (Lev 17:6)
  • When YHVH commanded Israel to wear tzit-tzit, He used this phrase (Num 15:38)
  • When it is spoken of YHVH’s faithfulness (Ps 119:90) and His name (Ps 135:13), His Kingdom and dominion (ps 145:13), this phrase is used

Here is how the phrase is defined by the Dictionary of Biblical languages:

1886 I. דּוֹר (dôr): n.masc.; ≡ Str 1755; TWOT 418b—LN 85.67–85.85 house, dwelling-place, i.e., apparently a tent-camp (Isa 38:12; Ps 49:20[EB 19]+), note: for another interp in Ps, see 1887

1887 II. דּוֹר (dôr): n.masc.; ≡ Str 1755; TWOT 418b—1. LN 10.14–10.48 lineage, generation, family line, i.e., a group of persons related by birth (Jos 22:28); 2. LN 11.1–11.11 generation, i.e., a group of people living at the same time and belonging to the same age/class as relates to creating the next generation (Ge 6:9; Jer 2:31); 3. LN 67.142–67.162 generation, i.e., a period of time as an indefinite period of time (Ps 61:7[EB 6]); 4. LN 10.1–10.13 class of persons, formally, generation, i.e., a group exhibiting similarities (Dt 32:5; Pr 30:11); 5. LN 67.78–67.141 unit: דּוֹר וְ־ דּוֹר (dôr w- dôr)2 always, through all generations, formally, generation and generation, i.e., a duration of time without reference to other periods of time (Ps 10:6)2

From this, we learn that it means in all your dwelling places, for all generations, an indefinite period of time or always.

In many cases, this phrase is used when YHVH refers to the covenant He made with His people. From this, we can see that these instructions are important to YHVH. Are we then at liberty to set it aside and say it is not for us? A few stand out, in particular, YHVH’s covenant with Abraham and His descendants, circumcision, the celebration of the feasts, the Sabbath, the priesthood, tzit-tzit and YHVH’s character. So, now let us go back to tzit-tzit, it also being one of these commandments that was given to be observed throughout our generations.

Who is this commandment for?

Who is addressed in this passage? Some translations say, “sons of Israel” other say, “children of Israel.” Who are the sons, or the children of Israel? Is this passage referring only to the men or is it referring to all Israel, including women? We understand this instruction to be for every person who is part of Israel. If you belief in YHVH – the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then you are part of Israel, and this instruction pertains to you.

YHVH said to Moses: “Speak to the sons of Israel…” The word sons has the Hebrew Strong’s number 1121 and this can be translated as follows:

1121 בֵּן, בְּנׄו, לַבֵּן [ben /bane/] n m. From 1129; TWOT 254; GK 1201 and 1217 and 4240; 4906 occurrences; AV translates as “son” 2978 times, “children” 1568 times,6

Here is David Stern’s rendition of the instruction from the Complete Jewish Bible

Numbers 15:37–41
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.”

From this you can see that this commandment includes women as well. If you count yourself a believer, this is for you. Just consider for a moment, the commandment reads “make for yourself” and the purpose of wearing it is to help us to remember the commandments. Women also need something to remind them not to transgress YHVH’s commandments and every one of us; man or woman has our own personal relationship with the Father. Each of us will have to give an account of our own lives.

Romans 14:12
12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to Elohim.

There is also a grammatical rule in Hebrew that confirms this. Whenever speaking to a mixed group, the masculine form of the word is used for both genders. This is also the case here.

How are we to wear tzit-tzit

We are commanded to wear tzit-tzit on the four corners of our garment.

Deuteronomy 22:12
12 “You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.

It is well explained in the book of Deuteronomy. We are to wear tzit-tzit on the four corners of our garment with which we cover ourselves.

We wear it pinned to our shirts, while some people wear it on their belts. Some only wear it on their prayer shawls, which would be ok if they were wearing it the whole time. The tzit-tzit is to be a reminder to us to keep YHVH’s commandments, not only when we pray, but always. We, therefor, favor the interpretation to wear it on the clothes, we wear everyday.

It is to be a reminder to us; we are therefor, to wear it visibly. How else would you be reminded if you can’t see it? Consider the Biblical accounts of where tzit-tzit is mentioned. Y’shua did not wear it hidden under his garments, because we read the woman touched it. The Pharisees wore it visibly, because again, it was mentioned as being visible. Speaking of how the Pharisees wore it, were they wearing it for the purpose it was intended?

How not to wear tzit-tzit?

They wore the tzit-tzit in order to be seen by others or as a means of showing off their righteousness. That is not righteousness, but self-righteousness. Y’shua spoke against this.

Matthew 23:5
5 “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

We are to be careful to wear our tzit-tzit in humility, as a reminder to keep YHVH’s commandments, not to show others how righteous we are by making it very large and conspicuous.

Why wear tzit-tzit?

Why does YHVH want us to wear tzit-tzit? Read through this instruction again.reminder

Numbers 15:37–40
37 YHVH also spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39 “It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of YHVH, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, 40 so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your Elohim.

Many commandments are given by YHVH without an explanation as to why we are to do it. This instruction is different, it is repeated twice that we are to wear tzit-tzit as a reminder to do the commandments. It helps us not to go astray. YHVH also tells us what the result would be if we do wear it; holiness or set apartness. He also tells us what happens if we don’t remember, we would follow after our own heart and our own eyes, after which we play the harlot. We are led astray by our heart and/or our eyes and this leads to sin, which is the transgression of YHVH’s commandments. Just consider this for a moment, if you were wearing tzit-tzit, knowing what it symbolizes, would you as easily commit sin or would you think twice? I have found it to be a gentle reminder when I am tempted to do or say what I should not.

In order for tzit-tzit to be an effective reminder, we need to know why we are wearing it. That is probably why YHVH told us and repeated it twice. He wants us to understand why we need to do this. So, every day as we put on our tzit-tzit, we are to pray that YHVH would use the tzit-tzit to remind us, through His Spirit, to walk in His way in everything we think, say or do and not to follow after our own heart and eyes. Wearing tzit-tzit would otherwise just be like putting on a shirt, pure routine, devoid of meaning.

The Jewish people have a special blessing they recite when donning tzit-tzit, which is a great idea. We don’t necessarily have to use their blessing, but you can if you want to or just pray. They also tie their tzit-tzit in a certain way, each string and knot symbolizing the commandments. That is a tradition which you do not have to follow, but are free to do so if you want.

What is the meaning of the cord or blue?

We are also not limited to wearing only white tzit-tzit. The cord of blue, however, is commanded. What would be the meaning of the blue cord?

As per the article, we quoted earlier from the Biblical Archeology Review, the blue cord signified nobility because the blue dye used to color the threads was extraordinarily expensive.

The Bible also affirms that blue cloth was worn by nobility (Ezekiel 23:6; Esther 1:6). Thus, weaving a blue thread petil tekelet into the tassel enhances its symbolism as a mark of nobility.

The requirement of the blue threadroyal blueis a sign that Israel is a people of nobility, whose sovereign is not mortal, but divine. But more than this: Israel is a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6). Every Israelite wears his priestly clothing, the tsitsit. The tassels are a reminder of this holiness, as the passage from Numbers makes clear. In short, “You shall be holy for I, the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2; cf. 11:44; 20:26). Though Israelites who are not of the seed of Aaron may not serve as priests (Numbers 17:5), they may—indeed, must—strive for a life of holiness by observing the Lord’s commandments.5

We are not our own; we belong to the King of the Universe; we are of His kingdom. This cord of blue identifies us as such. This blue cord also symbolizes righteousness and Y’shua our Messiah, Who is righteousness. When we wear this tzit-tzit, we visibly identify ourselves with YHVH and with His kingdom. Others may see it and ask, and we may get an opportunity to share the truth with them.

Why do Jews wear white tzit-tzit?

We have just learned that it is commanded to wear a cord of blue in our tzit-tzit yet, our brother Judah mostly wears white, Why is that? Here is a bit of history as to why Jews stopped wearing the blue thread in their tzit-tzit.

At one point in history, this was no longer the case, so the rabbis dropped the requirement that the tassels contain a blue thread. Following the two Jewish revolts against Rome (66 A.D.–70 A.D. and 132 A.D.–135 A.D.), each of which ended in devastating defeats for the Jews, the Jewish community was so impoverished that the requirement of a blue thread was abandoned. In addition, a counterfeit blue dye had been developed which was disqualified by the rabbis for use in tassels or tsitsit (Bava Metsia 61b; Menahot 42–43a; Sifre Num. 115). Apparently the desire to prevent the use of this counterfeit blue also led to dropping the requirement of a blue thread. Since the second century, the tassels have been pure white. Tassels are still attached to the four corners of Jewish prayer shawls (tallit) worn in the synagogue and on the corners of the so-called small tallit or tallit katan worn at all times by strictly observant Jews.5

Here is a link to an article about the rediscovery of the snail that is used to make the dye.

Y’shua wore tzit-tzit

Did you know that Y’shua wore tzit-tzit? Here are a few references:

Matthew 9:20
20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak;

Matthew 14:36
36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.

Mark 6:56
56 Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.

The Greek word “kraspedon” was translated as fringe, but it actually refers to tassels. The NASB has a footnote by the word which reads tassel fringe with a blue cord”

3192 κράσπεδον (kraspedon), ου (ou), τό (to): n.neu.; ≡ DBLHebr 1544; Str 2899; TDNT 3.904—1. LN 6.180 fringe edge, border, hem (Mt 9:20; 14:36; Mk 6:56; Lk 8:44+), for another interp, see next; 2. LN 6.194 tassel (Mt 23:5+), for another interp, see prior2

Y’shua kept YHVH’s commandments, even one of the least of them; wearing tzit-tzit. It was also prophesied about Him that “He would rise with healing in his wings”

Malachi 4:2
2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

The Hebrew word “kanap” was translated as “wings,” however, it could also be translated as “hem or corner

Where did the woman suffering fromhemorrhage touched Him? She touched the fringe of His cloak. The fringe being His tzit-tzit. Where are we commanded to wear tzit-tzit? One the four corners, the “kanap“in Hebrew, also called the “wings” of our garment.

4053 כָּנָף (kā·nāp̄): n.fem.; ≡ Str 3671; TWOT 1003a—

1. LN 8.9–8.69 wing, i.e., that part of the structure of a creature that flies (Lev 1:17; Ex 37:9; Dt 4:17; Isa 18:1), note: this includes birds, insects, and supernatural beings;

2. LN 6.152–6.187 hem, corner, i.e., the end piece or border of a garment (1Sa 15:17; Hag 2:12);

3. LN 7.26–7.53 wing, i.e., a part or section of a building (Da 9:27);

4. LN 11.90–11.95 unit: כָּנָף הַ־ אֶרֶץ (kā·nāp̄ hǎ- ʾě·rěṣ) very distant place, formally, ends of the earth, i.e., a very distant place, with a strong implication of peoples both physically and culturally distant (Job 37:3; Isa 11:2; 24:16); 5. LN 80.5–80.7 unit: כָּנָף הַ־ אֶרֶץ (kā·nāp̄ hǎ- ʾě·rěṣ) border, formally, ends of the land, i.e., the extreme limits of a space (Eze 7:2)2

Just another proof that Y’shua is the Messiah. He kept the commandments of YHVH and said that He did not come to abolish, but to fulfill, and He added that not the smallest letter or stroke would pass from the Law until all is accomplished. He also taught:

Matthew 5:19
19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

We are to take heed of this. Wearing tzit-tzit may be viewed as insignificant by some, but just maybe wearing tzit-tzit is one of the least of the commandments Y’shua is referring to here. Do you want to risk that?


We hope that this article has blessed you and has given you greater insight as to why YHVH gave this commandment. We also hope that it would inspire you to do it. YHVH in His ultimate wisdom thought it necessary to give us something as a reminder in order not to transgress His commandments. There is wisdom in obedience to His commandments.

YHVH is the King of the Universe, and we are part of His Kingdom, the blue cord; a sign of royalty attests to this. We, as His children are part of the royal family of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Please do not ignore this commandment or say it is just for the Jewish people. It is for every one of us, man and woman, who believe in the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Wear it boldly, but with humility and be an ambassador for His Kingdom in everything you do and say.


  1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus.
  2. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Merrill, E. H. (1985). Numbers. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 233). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Milgrom, Jacob. “Of Hems and Tassels.” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/Jun 1983, 61-65. (accessed 4/5/2014)
  6. Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible

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