The Torah In Haiku: Sh'lach L'cha
Look at your talit
Do you see some blue fringes?
That's what G-d commands
Don't worry, chaver
Even most observant Jews
Rarely have blue threads
This week we read that G-d told Moses to "Speak to the people is Israel and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a thread of blue." (Num 15:38) Despite the clear language of this commandment, it is extremely rare to find a talit with the required t'cheilet, or blue thread. You can read here about how the rabbis might have set aside this requirement centuries ago because the die needed to create the proper blue color became prohibitively expensive.
It has been more than 1,000 years since this commandment was widely observed and, as a result, the source of the special blue die was not definitively known. But today, "a motley crew of rabbis, chemists, marine biologists, and archaeologists" think they have solved the mystery. Click here to listen to Tablet Magazine's interview with t'cheilet expert Baruch Sterman, co-founder of the Ptil Tekhelet Association.
Ed Nickow is a teacher and member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Chai, Long Grove, IL. This post is from his blog The Torah in Haiku.