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A list of many tying styles
Rav Huna said in the name of Rav Sheshet in the name of Rav Yirmiyah bar Abba in the name of Rav: The most ornate tekhelet ought be a third windings, and two thirds hanging threads. - Mehachot 39a
[The word] tsitsit is numerically equivalent to 600, 8 strings and 5 knots add up to 613, the total number of all commandments. (Tanchuma, Korach 12)
1. Rav Amram Gaon
Rav Amram Gaon (Hebrew: ) or Rav Amram bar Sheshna (died 875) was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura in the 9th century. He was the author of many Responsa, but his chief work was liturgical. Rav Amram Gaon has seven or thirteen chulyot alternating white then tekhelet. A knot at the beginning and at the end. (These knots are not double, but rather the winding string tucked under itself.) The Baal Haitur's shitta is virtually identical but he has a knot after each chulya.
2. The Yemenite Rambam
Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Maimonides), also known as Rambam, was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. He was born in Córdoba, Spain on Passover Eve, 1135, and died in Egypt on 20th Tevet, December 12, 1204. He was as a rabbi, physician and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt. Although his writings on Jewish law and ethics met with respectful opposition during his life, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish
history, his copious work a cornerstone of Jewish scholarship. His fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah still carries canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law. In the Yeshiva world he is known as Hanesher Hagadol in recognition of his outstanding status as a bona fide exponent of Torah Shel Baal Peh, particularly on account of the manner in which his Mishneh Torah is elucidated by Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik. The Rambam has all twists tekhelet except the first and last. Seven or thirteen chulyot are tied with a knots keeping them together and separate from each other. The Yemenites have a tradition (even with white tsitsit) of tying a special knot that is the chulya.
The Yemenite knot is also known as the Teimani knot
According to the Rambam, of the four strings placed on a corner, only one half of one string is to be blue and the remaining three and a half strings are to be white (resulting in one blue and seven white strings when the strings are folded through the corner hole). Only the windings around the white core must be tekhelet. The Rambam seems to be of the opinion that if there are non-white strings in the core of the tzitzit (as per Raavad or Tosafot) then one has not fulfilled the mitzvah of white. There must be seven to thirteen chulyot.
3. The Raavad
Rabbeinu Abraham ben David was a Provençal rabbi, a great commentator on the Talmud, Sefer Halachot of rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi ( " ) and Mishne Torah ( ) of Maimonides ( " ), and is regarded as a father of Kabbalah ( ) and one of the key and important links in the chain of Jewish mystics. He was born in Provence, France, about 1125 CE; died at Posquières, 27 November 1198 CE.
The Raavad quoting Rav Natronai Gaon has five knots. Between each knot, seven or thirteen twists, with the twists alternating white then tekhelet. Between the second and third knot, the amount of twists is not definite. Raavad, Based on the Sifre in Shelach holds that one full string (when folded it becomes two of the eight) must be tekhelet.
4. Ba alei Tosafot
The Tosafot or Tosafos (Hebrew: ) are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes. According to Tosafot (and Rashi), of the four strings placed on a corner, two are to be blue and two are to be white (resulting in four blue and four white strings when the strings are folded through the corner hole). The Ba alei Tosafot - consists of 5 knots, in between which there are four groups of winds. Groups 1, 2, 3 consist of a white chulya (of three winds) and a blue chulya (of three winds). Group 4 consists of a single white chulya. As to the question of the Tosafot using two full strands of Tekhelet, "and you shall place on the tzitzit of your corner a PTIL tekhelet," though the standard translation of "ptil" is "strand," there is support for the word "ptil" carrying the meaning of "tassel" - i.e., multiple strands. Vilna Gaon called this version into question for its use of two Tekhelet strings. The Raavad also takes issue with this and holds that of the four strings placed on a corner, one is to be blue and three are to be white (resulting in two blue and six white strings when the strings are folded through the corner hole).
5. Baal Ha Itur
The common Baal Ha'Itur tying method is explained by Rabbi Binyomin Zev. Rabbi Binyomin (son of Matityahu). ( 16 , ' )
The Baal Ha Itur has eight knots. Between each knot, three twists. With each Chulyot alternating white then tekhelet after each knot, beginning with white and using two full tekhelet and two full white strings as with the Tosafot tradition.
6. The Vilna Gaon (AKA The Gra)
Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, (Hebrew: ' ) known as the Vilna Gaon and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra ( " ) ("Gaon Rabbenu Eliyahu"), (born April 23, 1720 in Vilnius, died October 9, 1797 in Vilaus, Lithuania), was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries. He is commonly referred to in Hebrew as ha'Gaon ha'Chasid mi'Vilna, "the saintly genius from Vilnius." The Vilna Gaon has thirteen chulyot, alternating white and tekhelet distributed between five double knots. Between the first and second knot - four chulyot (white, tekhelet, white, tekhelet) and the same between the second-third, and third-fourth knots. Between the fourth and last knot - one chulya of white. The Vilna Gaon claims that the correct number of strings is that of the Sifre Shelach: "With three strings of white and a fourth of tekhelet."
7. The Ba al Sefer HaHinuch
Sefer Hachinuch means "The Book of Education," and is a popular medieval work that enumerates the 613 commandments of the Torah (based upon Maimonides' system of counting) and explains them both from a legal and a moral perspective. Rav Aharon Halevi was born in Gerona in 1235, and studied under his father and brother, as well as Ramban. He published critical notes on Rashba's Torat HaBayit, which he entitled Bedek HaBayit. He also wrote a commentary on the Talmud, select parts of which have been published. There are those who believe that he is the author of the Sefer HaChinuch, although this claim has been rejected by many.
The Ba al Sefer HaHinuch, or Chinuch has thirteen chulyot, alternating white and tekhelet distributed between five double knots. Between the first and second knot - three chulyot (white, tekhelet, white). After the second knot another three chulyot, (tekhelet, white, tekhelet). After the third another three (white, tekhelet, white), and after the fourth - four chulyot (tekhelet, white, tekhelet, white).
8. The Radzyner (AKA Chabad) (Arizal)
Rabbi Gershon Chanoch Leitner was the first Radziner Rebbe. Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Hebrew: ), also known as the Baal HaTanya, (September 4, 1745 December 15, 1812 O.S.), was an Orthodox Rabbi, and the founder and first Rebbe of Chabad, then based in Liadi, Imperial Russia. He was the author of many works, and is best known for Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Tanya and his Siddur Torah Or compiled according to the Nusach Ari. He is also known as Shneur Zalman Baruchovitch, RaZaSh, Baal HaTanya vehaShulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe, Admor HaZaken, Rabbeinu HaZokein, Rabbeinu HaGodol, the GRaZ, and Rav. The Tanya ( ) is an early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1797. Its formal title is Likkutei Amarim, but is more commonly known by its opening word, Tanya. It comprises five sections that define Hasidic mystical psychology and theology as a handbook for daily spiritual life in Jewish observance. The Radzyner/Chabad (Arizal) - has all the twists tekhelet except the first and last. There are five knots: between the first and the second knot there are seven twists, between the second and third - eight twists, between the third and fourth - eleven twists and between the fourth and last - thirteen twists. Each group of three is separated by winding the tekhelet around and inside them to hold them together.
The Arizal (Isaac Luria (1534 July 25, 1572) provided the method of tying white strings which is the basis for the popular 7,8,11,13 method. He also mentions that there are "chulyot," upon which the Baal HaTanya derives the method of grouping the 7,8,11,13 wraps into sets of three winds. They make 13 chulyos of three windings each, but also place double knots after 7, 8, 11 and 13 windings like other Ashkenazim. This means that the second and fourth knots split chulyos into two. The Radzyner Rebbi, adopted this method when using tekhelet by requiring that one make the first wind and the last wind white and all the rest blue (as per one reading of the Gemara in Menachot). The Shulchan Aruch HaRav, and therefore a number of forms of Chassidus, follows the Ari, in that the knots around the chulyos are independent of the four double knots. Differences: The Radzyner uses a half tekhelet string, like Rambam. The Chabad uses two full tekhelet strings according to the opinion of Tosafot. The Chabad leaves some distance to make the Chulyot more visible.
9. R. Schachter of Yu
Rav Hershel Schachter (born July 28, 1941) is a rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), Yeshiva University, in New York City, and the son of the late Rabbi Melech Schachter. A noted Talmudic scholar and a prominent Posek, he is also a halakhic advisor for the kashrut division of the Orthodox Union. The R. Schachter has eight knots. Between each knot, seven or three tekhelet twists using two full tekhelet and two full white strings as with the Tosafot tradition. All twists are tekhelet except the first and last. A chulya should be three wraps minimum and ideally seven wraps to be yotzei all de'ot. Schachter writes that one can get by with one chulya of seven wraps by making the first chulya seven and the rest three.
10. Standard Ashkenazi (7-8-11-13)
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (Hebrew: ; also , Y'hudey Ashkenaz, "the Jews of Ashkenaz"), are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany. Thus, Ashkenazim or
Ashkenazi Jews are literally "German Jews." The Arizal (Isaac Luria (1534 July 25, 1572) provided the method of tying white strings which is the basis for this popular 7,8,11,13 method. The Ashkenazi - has all the twists tekhelet except the first and last. There are five knots: between the first and the second knot there are seven twists, between the second and third - eight twists, between the third and fourth - eleven twists and between the fourth and last - thirteen twists. The first three groups of windings 7, 8, 11 add up to 26, which is the numerical value of the LORD s name, (Yod=10 Hey=5 Waw=6 Hey=5) while the remaining group, 13, is equal to the numerical value of the word Echad- one. (Alef=1 Cheth=8 Daleth=4) The tzitzis thus symbolize the words "YHWH Echad"YHWH is one.
11. Sephardic (AKA the Hida)
A Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from, or who follows the customs and traditions followed by, Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) before their expulsion in the late 15th century. This includes both the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain under the Alhambra decree of 1492, or from Portugal by order of King Manuel I in 1497, and the descendants of crypto-Jews who left the Peninsula in later centuries to North Africa, Asia Minor, the Philippines and elsewhere around the world, and the descendants of crypto-Jews who remained in Iberia. In modern times, the term has also been applied to Jews who may not have been born Sephardi (or even Jewish) but attend Sephardic synagogues and practice Sephardic traditions. The Sephardic - has all the twists tekhelet except the first and last. There are five knots: between the first and the second knot there are ten twists, between the second and third - five twists, between the third and fourth - six twists and between the fourth and last - five twists. The four groups of windings 10, 5, 6 5, is the numerical value of the LORD s name, (Yod=10 Hey=5 Waw=6 Hey=5)
12. Lekach Tov (7-7-7-7)
The Lekach Tov - has all the twists tekhelet except the first and last. There are five knots: between the first and the second knot there are seven twists, between the second and third - seven twists, between the third and fourth - seven twists and between the fourth and last seven twists.
13. Tzfunot (2-7-2-2)
The Tzfunot - has knot 2 (Yemenite) chulyot knot 7 (Yemenite) chulyot knot 2 (Yemenite) chulyot knot 2 (Yemenite) chulyot, for a total of 13 chulyot Knot All wraps are tekhelet, except the first and last, which are white.
14. HaMaspik L'Ovdei Hashem
Identical to R. Schachter s original shitta, the HaMaspik L'Ovdei Hashem has 7 chulyot of 3 winds, like Rambam, but with a knot after each chulyot. All wraps are tekhelet, except the first and last, which are white.
15. Meiri Yevamot
The Meiri Yevamot - has: knot 7 (Yemenite) chulyot knot 7 (Yemenite) chulyot knot 7 (Yemenite) chulyot knot 7 or 13 (Yemenite) chulyot Knot All wraps are tekhelet, except the first and last, which are white.
16. Beit Yosef (7-9-11-13)
The Beit Yosef - is similar to the Raavad, alternating wrap colors. It has five knots: between the first and the second knot there are seven twists, between the second and third - nine twists, between the third and fourth - eleven twists and between the fourth and last - thirteen twists. The chulyot are made by wrapping two strings at a time. The tekhelet, together with the white symbolize Yosef s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
17. The Minimalist (The smallest permitted)
Baal Ha Itur - brings this method (in accordance with Rebbe:) knot 7 wraps Knot All wraps are tekhelet, except the first and last, which are white.
18. The Gedilim (Chainlike)
Baal Ha Itur - brings this method: 7 knots 70 wraps double knot All wraps are tekhelet, except the first and last, which are white. This uses two full tekhelet and two full white strings as with the Tosafot tradition.
19. Ebionite tzitzit
The modern Ebionite Movement distinguishes between tzitziyot (fringe) and p'tiylot (strings, cords) the latter being all tekhelet, or sky-blue derived from any source containing dibromoindigo. Any shade or variation from greenish blue, to turquoise, and darker, or a range naturally occurring in the dyeing is acceptable. Any style of knots and windings is allowable however, most use the most typical 7-8-11-13 configuration. Garments must have both fringe and cords to satisfy the commandment as interpreted by Ebionites. In addition to the talit or talit katan, the p'tiylot might be tied into a long black scarf. The typical Ebionite Tzitzit - has four full strings of tekhelet with no white strings. There are five knots: between the first and the second knot there are seven twists, between the second and third - eight twists, between the third and fourth - eleven twists and between the fourth and last - thirteen twists.
Ebionite "tzit-tzit" (p'tiylot tekheilet) are dyed with blue colors reminiscent of the sky entirely instead of a single string. They are different from those used by any other Jewish sect, according to their view of the commandment. They are made and issued by the Paqid, Shemayah, as a good deed and spiritual meditation.
20. Karaite tzitzit
Karaite Judaism or Karaism (Hebrew: ,meaning "Readers of the Hebrew Scriptures") is a Jewish movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh alone as its supreme legal authority in Halakhah, as well as in theology. It is distinct from Rabbinic Judaism, which considers the Oral law, the legal decisions of the Sanhedrin as codified in the Talmud, and subsequent works to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah. Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah, without additional Oral Law or explanation. As a result, Karaite Jews do not accept as binding the written collections of the Oral tradition in the Mishnah or Talmud. When interpreting the Tanakh, Karaites strive to adhere to the plain or most obvious meaning ("peshat") of the text; this is not necessarily the literal meaning, but rather the meaning that would have been naturally understood by the ancient Israelites when the books of the Tanakh were first written. Karaites wear tzitzyot with blue threads in them. In contrast to mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, they believe that the tekhelet (the "blue"), does not refer to a specific dye. The traditions of Rabbinic Judaism used in the knotting of the tzitzit are not followed, so the appearance of Karaite tzitzit can be quite different from that of Rabbanite tzitzit. Contrary to some claims, Karaites do not hang tzitzit on their walls. The typical Karaite tzitzit uses twelve small-gauge strings, six blue and six white folded over for a total of twenty-four, with the white extending a bit longer to make an all-white braided loop. Where the Blue strings meet the white, braids are made with the blue and white to make braid-counts of 10-5-6-5 or 78-11-13, with the blue and white strings separating after each braid set in a separated braid before merging for the next count. All white braided loop, then add the blue below the loop. Seven braids mixing blue with white Split into two separate braids of one blue and one white
Eight braids mixing blue with white Split into two separate braids of one blue and one white Eleven braids mixing blue with white Split into two separate braids of one blue and one white Thirteen braids mixing blue with white Double-knot the blue and white together, letting the strings hang loose.
For the wrap counts, separate the strings into four groups: three blue, three white, three white, three blue. Then make a quad-braid keeping the two sets of blue on the outside. The blue sides will connect to make stripes of blue within the white. The loop and each side of the split-braids utilize a standard 3braid technique.
21. Natsari Tzitzit
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr The Modern Natsarim (Christians) have their own unique way of tying tzitzit, seeing as to date no evidence can be found that speak of how the original Natsarim tied theirs. Until an official, legitimate and authoritative Natsari Sanhedrin is formed that can rule on an acceptable, universal way of tying the tzitzit, the Beyt Din of AD (Abraham's Descendants) International has ruled how their tzitzyot should be tied. The Natsari tzitzit - has 5 knots representing the five books of Torah. Four coils of 10, 5, 6, and 5 wraps as many tzitzit do, spelling out the Name of YHWH, but the top and bottom coil are to be adorned with crowns symbolizing the "Y" is YHWH, and Yeshua emanates from Him and is King and the Living Manifestation of the Written Torah symbolized by the "H," the written Torah which is to be their life. The Hebrew letter "Hey" means life, for it was put in Abraham and Sarah's name and only after which they were able to conceive and give life to Isaac. There are twelve braids, because when the tzitzit is spoken of in Torah it is described as being "gedilim," or chains, and a braid resembles a chain. The braid is made up of three parts symbolizing the three cord strand that cannot be broken (Ecc. 4:12) and symbolizes the unity of believers and that Elohim is the center of all holy unions. The braid consists of two sets of three white strings and one set of two blue strings. The braid itself is braided twelve times symbolizing the unity and prophetic reunion of the twelve tribes and the twelve Sheliachim (Apostles). The braid is split into sets of three, representing the 4 banners and the 4 directions of the 12 tribes when they set camp and disembarked; and also how the tribes were scattered to the four corners of the
earth, but are still one in YHWH and Torah. This style of tzitzit identifies the believers of the Natsari sect of AD International and of K'hilat Beyt Avraham Avinu Synagogue.
Separate the strings into three groups; Group one=3 white, group two=3 white, group three=2 blue. Make a standard braid of three strands. Repeat these steps four times after each chulyot for a total of twelve braids.
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