Techelet in the Holy Zohar
Parshat Shelach Lecha
(Numbers, chapter 15)
The Commandment of Tzitzith (fringes) enables us to remember all the Mitzvoth (Commandments) of the Torah, as it is written “And you shall gaze upon it, and you shall remember all the Commandments of HaShem (G-d) and do them.” This is the sign of the King – to remeber and to do.
It is written (Exodus: 29) “And you [the High Priest] shall make a golden Tzitz (crown).” The secret of the Tzitz is to crown the High Priest. This is exactly Tzitz, (which means to look), that the eyes shall see deeply, which is a sign for the world above which crowned the High Priest.
Because of his gaze, (the Tzitz), this atones for brazenness, for only the face of truth is in front of him. For the secret of all the countenances of the world above is that they are the faces of truth as included in the truth of Jacob.
Tzitzith are feminine, the secret of the world below which gazes toward the male. Tzitz is masculine: Tzitzith are feminine which is for everyone (to receive) whereas Tzitz is masculine which is only for the Priest (to give).
We learned that it is forbidden to gaze upon the Shechina (Divine Presence). This is the reason that we have Techelet (blue) on the Tzitzith. For Techelet is the throne of the House of David and its rectification. All this is in order that we stand in awe and fear of G-d, to fear from that very place. Therefore, you shall gaze upon it (the Techelet) and you shall remember all the qualities of G-d. Techelet is the throne where the souls are judged (in the next world) as has been taught: all colors are good to see in a dream except Techelet. For this is the throne where the souls are judged.
It is written “and you shall put on the Tzitzith of the corner a strand of Techelet.” It is not written “you shall put on the corner,” rather it is written “you shall put on the Tzitzith” for the Techelet covers all the other strands. [explanation] Since Tzitzith alludes to the flash of Chochma (wisdom), therefore only they need protection and covering from the Techelet (the Din – judgement). Therefore it is written “you shall put on the Tzitzith” (not the corner).
“And you shall see it and you shall remember” (Numbers: 15). This is just as it is written “and you shall remember what Amalek did to you.” To what can we compare this? To a child that broke down the fence and was bitten by a dog. Whereas his father wants to scold him he says “remember” when the dog bit you. So too it is over here. You shall see it and it shall cause you to remeber. For the Techelet is the place where the souls go up to be judged. Therefore it resembles the passage “Remember what Amalek did to you.”
Similarly (in Numbers 28) all those who were bitten by the snake looked up at the brass serpent and lived. Why? When a personlifted up his eyes and saw the form of that which bit him he became fearful and prayed before G-d. And he knew that this is the punishment of the wicked. Whenever the child sees the belt of his father he becomes afraid of his father. If he is spared fromt the whip he is spared from everything. What caused him to be saved? That which he saw with his eye, that very same belt. We find that the belt itself saved him. Therefore “you shall see (the serpent) and live.” When he sees that very belt he was smitten with, this causes him to be saved from it. So too here “and you shall see it (the Techelet) and you shall remember and you shall certainly do (the Commandments). For this, (the Techelet), shall cause you to perpetually return to My Service.
“And you shall not stray after your hearts” (Numbers: 15), by gazing upon the Techelet this prevents you from going further astray. For you shall not stray and do evil. Therefore it goes above the Tzitzith. This Techelet resembles the Throne of Glory. Just like the Throne of Glory makes a person walk in the straight path to purify himself, so the Techelet too makes a person walk the straight path. Certainly every person should be in dread of The Place (G-d) in order to walk the straight path.
“The garments of deceit have they worn”. The garment when it is without tzitzith is called beged bogdim (the garment of deceit). That is to say that those people who read the Shema which contains the Commandment of Tzitzith and yet do not wear Tzitzith [Ed. read: Techelet, with their Tzitzith on the corners of their outer garment] are giving false testimony every day. Woe unto them and their souls. Regarding them it is written “the one who lies shall not stand in front of my eyes.” This garment is known to all those who judge him. Woe unto them that they have no share in the world to come. How fortunate are the righteous whose garments and fixings are known above so as to bring down good for them in this world and the next.
The Commandment of Tzitzith includes strings of Techelet and strings of white. This is judgement and lovingkindness in fire. White fire does not consume. Techelet eats and consumes everything. “And the fire ate the burnt offering.” That is the white fire from the right side and the fire of Techelet from the left side. The center balances the right and left side and that is green. [?] This is the reason that the author of the Mishna says the time one can read the Shema in the morning is when he can distinguish between Din (judgement) and Hesed (lovingkindness) for then he will surely cleave to lovingkindness for this is the secret of saying the Shema. For this reason it is fixed that we say the portion of Tzitzith in the Shema. [Ed. end is missing.]
Rebbe Yehuda says: Behold how many witnesses G-d has made to testify in regard to man. In advice and testimonies they stand by him. He wakes up in the morning and stretches his legs out to walk. The witness stand by him and announce and say “He will guard the legs of his followers.” Guard your legs as they walk. Balance the steps you take. He opens his eyes to look at the world; the witnesses say “guard your tongue from speaking evil.” He stretches his hands out to the world; the witnesses say “turn aside from doing evil and do good.”
If he hearkens unto the witnesses, how good it is; if not it is written “and the Satan stands on his right side to accuse him.” All the witnesses testify against him above. So if a person desires to occupy himself in the service of the Holy One Blessed be He then all the witnesses become defending witnesses and when he needs it they stand up and give a good testimony on his behalf.
He gets up in the morning and says a number of blessings; he puts on Tephillin (phylacteries) between his eyes on his head. If he lifts his head up he sees the Holy Name tied and signed on his head; the straps hang from both sides of his heart; behold, he is gazing at the preciousness of his Master. He stretches his hand out and sees his other hand tied with the knot of the Holy Name; he brings his hand back and sees the glory of his Master. He enwraps himself in the garment of Commandment with the four corners of his garment, Four Kings go forth before four others. That is the four witnesses of Truth of the King. The four Tzitzioth that hang from the four corners are hanging like grapes on a vine. Just as many grapes hang from one cluster on all sides, so too is the Tzitzith; it is one Commandment but many grapes hang from it. We tie the Techelet around each white string seven times or as much as thirteen times. One strand not exceeding thirteen nor less than seven.
We have learned that Techelet is the secret of King David and this is the strand of Abraham our father who gave merit to his children after him. What is Techelet? That is Tachlit, purpose of everything. Rebbe Yehuda says Techelet is called the Throne of Glory.
Rebbe Yitzchak says the seven ties that we wind around is the Shechina (Divine Presence) which is the seventh of everything for it is receiving blessings from the other six through the Tzadik (righteous one). And if you tie thirteen times, this corresponds to the thirteen qualities of compassion. This is the opening for all of them.
Ans this is the Techelet: one strand of which has color. The color comes from a fish which can be found in the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and it is called Kinneret. There was a Kinnor (lyre) which hung over the bed of King David. For sure this Kinneret (the fish from which Techelet is extracted) is actually the Kinnor of King David which plays of its own accord “in Praise of the Most High King.” Therefore, the color of Techelet reaches unto the firmament and from the firmament unto the Heavenly Throne.
Reb Yose taught it is written (Micah: 7) “Just like the days you left Egypt I will show you wonders.” Why does it say “Just like the days:” it should have said “Just like the day” in singular for we left Egypt at one time and did not stay there any longer. But the meaning is just like the days above through which the congregation of Israel is blessed. In the same way in the future G-d wil take us out of exile. And then it is written (Isaiah: 12) “And you will say on that day: Give thanks unto G-d, call out His Name … Sing unto G-d for the mighty things He has done, this is known throughout the Land.” What does it mean “this is known”? The answer is, “now” meaning in the future “this” will be known: the Commandment of enwrapping in the Tallith with Tzitzith. At that time “this” will be known in its many ways in that G-d shall perform signs and miracles in the world. Then it is written (Zachariah: 14) “On that day G-d will be One and His Name will be One.” Blessed is G-d. Amen V’Amen.
G-d shall reign forever! Amen V’Amen.