Feb 042015
 

This week I had an email exchange with a prospective customer interested in buying a tallit with techelet tzitzit.

Nice talking with you on the phone this morning…. But, I forgot to ask you something: If I choose just the “Handmade Thick Tzitzit” and the Chabad – Arizal tying,  will it still be with seven white & one blue string??…. or does it have to be one of the “techelet” options to get the white w / blue tzitzit strings? Thanks, Jim B.

I explained to Jim that the handmade tzitzit option he was referring to is white only. Techelet is the biblical word for the type of blue dye referred to in the verse.

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל כַּנְפֵי בִגְדֵיהֶם לְדֹרֹתָם וְנָתְנוּ עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף פְּתִיל תְּכֵלֶת
He then wrote me a quick note:
I appreciate your reply’s…. So the extra cost of the Techelet… is just for the one string with the dye?
Techelet is a very involved issue. There has been a huge debate over authentic techelet dye for about two decades. There are a lot of Christian sellers on the Web who sell tzitzit at low prices. In almost all cases the tzitzit are not kosher and if they sell blue tzitzit, it’s certainly not the blue dye referred to in the Torah, in most cases it’s a simple plant-based dye. I told Jim that if has the time and energy to look into the topic he should refer to this page and the links found there.

If you look online for “Ptil Tekhelet” you’ll see that most places sell it for $80-$120 per set, not $60-$70.
What’s interesting is that the techelet makers price the “Rambam” set with the half white/half blue tzitzit string (i.e. what you use to get one blue and seven white when tied) the same as the “Raavad” set with the all blue string. I imagine they decided to do that to avoid creating a situation where people make halachic decisions based largely on finances.