When we touch the tzitzit (tassels) we are experiencing a physical representation of the living Word of God. We are being reminded of His Name, His Unity, and the immutable security He provides through the Shamash (Servant) Mashiyach. When we touch the tzitzit we begin to comprehend what complex unity means. Through its eight cords we see the complexity of the universe and the unseen realms. It is a tactile connection to the incorporeal. And the Bat Kol strums its strings, singing the words, "Adonai Echad!".
Tzitzit – Tassels [Tied at the four corners of the Tallit – Prayer Shawl] This method of tying is Ashkenazi but uses the techelet (תכלת Blue/violet) Shamash (שמש Servant) thread rather than the orthodox white Shamash thread. The blue thread follows the more ancient dyed thread tradition which originated during the time of the giving of the Torah and the entering into the land of Israel [Between 2700 & 1260 BCE].
The symbolism for the numbers is central to the overall symbolism of the tallit. Seven and eight equals fifteen, which in gematria (numerology) is equal to the two Hebrew characters Yod and Heh the first two letters of the holy Name of God YHVH. Eleven is the equivalent of Vav and Heh the last two letters of the holy Name of God. The total, twenty six, is thus equivalent and representative YHVH the four letter Name of God YHVH. Thirteen is equivalent to the Hebrew word Echad: Alef, Chet, Dalet which means One. So to look at the tzitzit is to remember and know that "God is One".
According an alternate winding tradition, each section is a different letter of God's four letter Name. The central commandment surrounding tzitzit is:
"And you should see it and remember all of God's instructions and do them“ (Numbers 15:39)
How do the tzitzit do this?
In gematria, tzitzit = six hundred. In addition there are eight strands plus five knots. The total is six hundred and thirteen which, according to tradition, is the exact number of commandments (mitzvot) in the Torah. Just to look at them, therefore, is to remember all the mitzvot.
Each of the five knots symbolize the five books of the Torah. The sum of the latter windings is 24, equals the number of books in the Hebrew Tanakh (OT).
The Shamash (Servant) strand binds all of the other strands together. This strand is the techelet (blue) strand that symbolizes mayim chayim (water of life). This strand represents the living Word of God Yeshua (Jesus) the Mashiyach (Messiah) [John 1:1]. He is the goal of the Torah [Romans 10:4]. He is the strand that holds all things together. He is also the servant (shamash) Messiah [Mark 10:45].
© 2016 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.