Note: This is a follow-up to A Thread of Blue: Fringe Benefits
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Recently someone wanted to promote the idea of Hekdesh and keeping things special for Shabbat – particularly clothing – and this is a fabulous initiative. One thing that I and others do not have is ’special’ tzitzit for Shabbat and the idea came about that we could have a special set of tzitzit for Shabbat and to make them extra special they could have a petil techelet [“blue twist” as per the Torah’s prescription].
I have personally come to the conclusion that the blue string being sold today as techelet is indeed techelet and have for some time wanted to wear it to fulfil the positive mitzvah but I have always resisted due to concerns over modesty [ie, avoid ostentatiousness] and the message it may send to other people. So the idea of wearing techelet on my tallit Katan was very appealing as it is modest and personal to me and fulfils the mitzvah.
I don’t want digress onto the related question on whether or not the techelet sold today is true techelet, but on the basis that it is, do you think the idea of having a special set of tzitzit with techelet specifically for Shabbat is a good idea?
Many thanks as always
The simple answer to your question is that it is indeed a fine idea to have special clothing for Shabbat and yom tov, including even a tallit and tzitzit [ie, tallit katan, such as one wears every day, throughout the day, under his shirt]. (This was also the practice of the Vilna Gaon. Probably one his easier practices for the rest of us to emulate.) Since this is the case, and you are persuaded of the validity of the techelet dye/tzitzit produced by the Ptil Tekhelet people (www.tekhelet.com, co-founded by my friend http://www.baruchsterman.com/), there is no obstacle to your wearing your special techelet tzitzit on Shabbat specifically.
I am conscious of the inconsistency here, ie if one is convinced that techelet (as produced by the Ptil Tekhelet company) is the correct and preferred way to fulfil the mitzvah, then why not wear it 7 days week, on your “weekday” garment as well? Nevertheless, this “critique” does not by itself invalidate your proposal. 6 days a week you will fulfil the mitzvah as your forebears and their rabbis have done for centuries (8 white strings); one day a week you will fulfil the mitzvah in the way which they perhaps would have done had they been able to do so.
I hope this is helpful.
Rabbi Rashi Simon