Tzitzit – Not an Option!

The wearing of tzitzit is a commandment given in Numbers 15:37-41 and is repeated in Deut 22:12. We also read about it in the Apostolic writings. YaHuWaH gave this commandment to wear tzitzit and to look at it, as a reminder to us to do all His commandments and be set apart to Him. In this study, we will explore this commandment a bit to see how we are to understand and apply this in our lives. It may seem insignificant, but it is not. It may seem like one of the least of YaHuWaH’s commandments, but it is very important.

We shall first look at what is defined as tzitzit. Then we shall examine who is to wear it as well as how and why.

Here is the first instruction for wearing tzitzit:

“And YaHuWaH spoke to Mosheh, saying, Speak to the children of Yisra’El, and you shall say to them to make tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue cord in the tzitzit of the corners. And it shall be to you for a tzitzit, and you shall see it, and shall remember all the commands of YaHuWaH and shall do them, and not search after your own heart and your own eyes after which you went whoring, so that you remember, and shall do all My commands, and be set-apart unto your Elohim.”  Bemiḏbar (Numbers) 15:37-40

When was this commandment given? Let’s just back up a few verses.

“But the being who does whatever defiantly, whether he is native or a stranger, he reviles YaHuWaH, and that being shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of YaHuWaH, and has broken His command, that being shall certainly be cut off, his crookedness is upon him.” Bemiḏbar (Numbers) 15:30-31

Just after this was said by YaHuWaH, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. We know from Scripture that no work is allowed on the Sabbath day. This man was stoned for his transgression.

After this, YaHuWaH gave Yisra’El the instruction to wear tzitzit as a reminder not to transgress His commandments.

In Deuteronomy, the commandment to wear tzitzit is repeated. This instruction is preceded by the teaching about not mixing certain things.

“Make tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself.”  Deḇarim (Deuteronomy) 22:12

So, we are commanded to wear this tzitzit, but what is this?

What are tzitzit?

There are two schools of thought about this. One group is teaching that it was like a border on the hems of their clothing. This teaching is not in line with Scripture or the historical evidence available to us.

The traditional teaching is that tzitzit is a tassel, likened to a tuft of hair. Let us look at what is written in Scripture…

The Hebrew word “sisit” is translated as tassels in Number 15:38. Here is the definition from the Dictionary of Biblical Languages:

7492 צִיצִת (ṣî·ṣiṯ): n.fem.; ≡ Str 6734; TWOT 1912—1. LN 6.194 tassel, i.e., a hanging ornamental pendant, somewhat conical in shape, made of a parallel bunch of cords or thread bound on one end and hanging loose and possibly cut on the other (Nu 15:38,39+; 2. LN 8.9–8.69 tuft, lock, i.e., a mop or bunch of head-hair (Eze 8:3+)

The Hebrew word for tassel is ṣîṣiṯ, possibly from a root word meaning “blossom.” Perhaps this tassel was in the form of a flower or petal which, for reasons unclear now, symbolized the covenant bonds which linked YaHuWaH to His people.

We understand it to be a tassel with a cord of blue. There are pictures of Jews in captivity who are wearing tassels. Here is one such picture:

The Instruction in Deuteronomy

Did you know that when this instruction is repeated in Deuteronomy 22:12, a different Hebrew word was used. Here, the word “tassels” was translated from the Hebrew word “gadil

1544 גָּדִל (gā·ḏil): n.[masc.]; ≡ Str 1434; TWOT 315c—1. LN 6.194 (pl.) tassels, i.e., a dangling ornament made by taking parallel threads and tying them together at one end (Dt 22:12+); 2. LN 6.188–6.196 festoons, i.e., decorative chains hanging between two pillars (1Ki 7:17+)

This confirms that it was indeed tassels which were commanded to be worn. Let’s look at what is written in the Apostolic writings.

In the Apostolic writings, the Greek word “kraspedon” is used and has the same meaning.

3192 κράσπεδον (kraspedon), ου (ou), τό (to): n.neu.; ≡ DBLHebr 1544; Str 2899; TDNT 3.904—1. LN 6.180 fringe edge, border, hem (Mt 9:20; 14:36; Mk 6:56; Lk 8:44+), for another interp, see next; 2. LN 6.194 tassel (Mt 23:5+), for another interp, see prior2Now that we know what it is, the next logical question is if we are still to wear this.

Are we still to wear this?

When we read the commandment in Numbers, we see the phrase “throughout their generations.” This phrase means it is an instruction that is to be followed until the end of time. As long as you call yourself a believer in the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, this is for you.

Let’s just stand still at this phrase for a moment as this is important. It is used eighty-eight times in Scripture. We will list a few examples here:

  • When YaHuWaH established a covenant with Abraham and His descendants this is the phrase He used (Gen 17:7,9),
  • When the instruction was given to circumcise, this phrase was used (Gen 17:12)
  • when the instruction was given to keep the Passover, unleavened bread and a vigil on the night of the first day of unleavened bread, this was the phrase used (Ex 12:14, 17, 42); also not to eat grain before the first fruit offering was brought
  • When YaHuWaH gave instruction to make a proclamation and celebrate Shavuot, Yom haKippurim and Sukkot (Lev 23:21, 31,41)
  • when YaHuWaH gave the instruction for the menorah to be kept burning, this is the phrase He used (Ex27:21),
  • When Aaron and his sons were given some instructions regarding the priesthood (Ex 30:21, ex 40:15, Lev 7:36, Num 18:23, Num 10:8, Lev 10:9, Lev 21:17);
  • The Sabbath is to be observed as a perpetual covenant throughout our generations (Ex 31:16);
  • When YaHuWaH instructed us not to eat any blood or any fat (Lev 3:17)
  • When Yisra’El were commanded about their sacrifices, this phrase was used (Lev 17:6)
  • When YaHuWaH commanded Israel to wear tzitzit, He used this phrase (Num 15:38)
  • When it is spoken of YaHuWaH’s faithfulness (Ps 119:90) and His name (Ps 135:13), His Kingdom and dominion (Ps 145:13), this phrase is used

Here is how the phrase is defined by the Dictionary of Biblical languages:

1886 I. דּוֹר (dôr): n.masc.; ≡ Str 1755; TWOT 418b—LN 85.67–85.85 house, dwelling-place, i.e., apparently a tent-camp (Isa 38:12; Ps 49:20[EB 19]+), note: for another interp in Ps, see 1887

1887 II. דּוֹר (dôr): n.masc.; Str 1755; TWOT 418b1. LN 10.1410.48 lineage, generation, family line, i.e., a group of persons related by birth (Jos 22:28); 2. LN 11.1–11.11 generation, i.e., a group of people living at the same time and belonging to the same age/class as relates to creating the next generation (Ge 6:9; Jer 2:31); 3. LN 67.142–67.162 generation, i.e., a period of time as an indefinite period of time (Ps 61:7[EB 6]); 4. LN 10.1–10.13 class of persons, formally, generation, i.e., a group exhibiting similarities (Dt 32:5; Pr 30:11); 5. LN 67.78–67.141 unit: דּוֹר וְ־ דּוֹר (dôr w- dôr)2 always, through all generations, formally, generation and generation, i.e., a duration of time without reference to other periods of time (Ps 10:6)

From this, we learn that it means in all your dwelling places, for all generations, an indefinite period of time or always.

In many cases, this phrase is used when YaHuWaH refers to the covenant He made with His people. From this, we can see that these instructions are important to YaHuWaH. Are we then at liberty to set it aside and say it is not for us? A few stand out, in particular, YaHuWaH’s covenant with Abraham and His descendants, circumcision, the celebration of the feasts, the Sabbath, the priesthood, tzitzit and YaHuWaH’s character. So, now let us go back to tzitzit, it also being one of these commandments that were given to be observed throughout our generations.

Who is this commandment for?

Who is addressed in this passage? Some translations say, “sons of Yisra’El” other say, “children of Yisra’El.” Who are the sons, or the children of Yisra’El? Is this passage referring only to the men or is it referring to all Yisra’El, including women? We understand this instruction to be for every person who is part of Yisra’El. If you belief in YaHuWaH – the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then you are part of Yisra’El, and this instruction pertains to you.

YaHuWaH said to Moses: “Speak to the sons of Yisra’El…” The word sons has the Hebrew Strong’s number 1121 and this can be translated as follows:

1121 בֵּן, בְּנׄו, לַבֵּן [ben /bane/] n m. From 1129; TWOT 254; GK 1201 and 1217 and 4240; 4906 occurrences; AV translates as “son” 2978 times, “children” 1568 times,

Here is a rendition of the instruction from the Complete Jewish Bible

“ADONAI said to Moshe, “Speak to the people of Yisra’El, instructing them to make, through all their generations, tzitziyot on the corners of their garments, and to put with the tzitzit on each corner a blue thread. It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of ADONAI ’s mitzvot and obey them, so that you won’t go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves; but it will help you remember and obey all my mitzvot and be holy for your God. I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to be your God. I am ADONAI your God.”  B’midbar (Num) 15:37-41

From this you can see that this commandment includes women as well. If you count yourself a believer, this is for you. Just consider for a moment, the commandment reads “make for yourself” and the purpose of wearing it is to help us to remember the commandments. Women also need something to remind them not to transgress YaHuWaH’s commandments and every one of us; man or woman has our own personal relationship with the Father. Each of us will have to give an account of our own lives.

“Each one of us, therefore, shall give account of himself to Elohim.”  Romiyim (Romans) 14:12

There is also a grammatical rule in Hebrew that confirms this. Whenever speaking to a mixed group, the masculine form of the word is used for both genders. This is also the case here.

How are we to wear tzitzit

We are commanded to wear tzitzit on the four corners of our garment.

“Make tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself.”  Deḇarim (Deuteronomy) 22:12

It is well explained in the book of Deuteronomy. We are to wear tzitzit on the four corners of our garment with which we cover ourselves.

We wear it pinned to our shirts, while some people wear it on their belts. Some only wear it on their prayer shawls, which would be ok if they were wearing it the whole time. The tzitzit is to be a reminder to us to keep YaHuWaH’s commandments, not only when we pray, but always. We, therefor, favor the interpretation to wear it on the clothes, we wear every day.

It is to be a reminder to us; we are therefore, to wear it visibly. How else would you be reminded if you can’t see it? Consider the Biblical accounts of where tzitzit is mentioned. Yahusha did not wear it hidden under his garments, because we read the woman touched it. The Pharisees wore it visibly, because again, it was mentioned as being visible. Speaking of how the Pharisees wore it, were they wearing it for the purpose it was intended?

How not to wear tzitzit?

They wore the tzitzit in order to be seen by others or as a means of showing off their righteousness. That is not righteousness, but self-righteousness. Yahusha spoke against this.

“And they do all their works to be seen by men, and they make their t’fillen wide and lengthen the tzitzit of their garments,” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 23:5

We are to be careful to wear our tzitzit in humility, as a reminder to keep YaHuWaH’s commandments, not to show others how righteous we are by making it very large and conspicuous.

Why wear tzitzit?

Why does YaHuWaH want us to wear tzitzit? Read through this instruction again.

“And YaHuWaH spoke to Mosheh, saying, Speak to the children of Yisra’El, and you shall say to them to make tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue cord in the tzitzit of the corners. And it shall be to you for a tzitzit, and you shall see it, and shall remember all the commands of YaHuWaH and shall do them, and not search after your own heart and your own eyes after which you went whoring, so that you remember, and shall do all My commands, and be set-apart unto your Elohim.”  Bemiḏbar (Numbers) 15:37-40

Many commandments are given by YaHuWaH without an explanation as to why we are to do it. This instruction is different, it is repeated twice that we are to wear tzitzit as a reminder to do the commandments. It helps us not to go astray. YaHuWaH also tells us what the result would be if we do wear it; holiness or set apartness. He also tells us what happens if we don’t remember, we would follow after our own heart and our own eyes, after which we play the harlot. We are led astray by our heart and/or our eyes and this leads to sin, which is the transgression of YaHuWaH’s commandments. Just consider this for a moment, if you were wearing tzitzit, knowing what it symbolizes, would you as easily commit sin or would you think twice? I have found it to be a gentle reminder when I am tempted to do or say what I should not.

In order for tzitzit to be an effective reminder, we need to know why we are wearing it. That is probably why YaHuWaH told us and repeated it twice. He wants us to understand why we need to do this. So, every day as we put on our tzitzit, we are to pray that YaHuWaH would use the tzitzit to remind us, through His Ruach, to walk in His way in everything we think, say or do and not to follow after our own heart and eyes. Wearing tzitzit would otherwise just be like putting on a shirt, pure routine, devoid of meaning.

The Jewish people have a special blessing they recite when donning tzitzit, which is a great idea. We don’t necessarily have to use their blessing, but you can if you want to or just pray. They also tie their tzitzit in a certain way, each string and knot symbolizing the commandments. That is a tradition which you do not have to follow, but are free to do so if you want.

What is the meaning of the cord of blue?

We are also not limited to wearing only white tzitzit. The cord of blue, however, is commanded. What would be the meaning of the blue cord?

The blue cord signified nobility because the blue dye used to color the threads was extraordinarily expensive.

The Scriptures also affirm that blue cloth was worn by nobility (Ezekiel 23:6; Esther 1:6). Thus, weaving a blue thread petil tekelet into the tassel enhances its symbolism as a mark of nobility.

The requirement of the blue thread—royal blue—is a sign that Yisra’El is a people of nobility, whose sovereign is not mortal, but divine. But more than this: Yisra’El is a “kingdom of priests and a set-apart nation” (Exodus 19:6). Every Yisraelite wears his priestly clothing, the tzitzit. The tassels are a reminder of this set-apartness, as the passage from Numbers makes clear. In short, “You shall be set-apart for I, YaHuWaH your Elohim am set-apart” (Leviticus 19:2; cf. 11:44; 20:26). Though Yisraelites who are not of the seed of Aaron may not serve as priests (Numbers 17:5), they may—indeed, must—strive for a life of holiness by observing YaHuWaH’s commandments.

We are not our own; we belong to the King of the Universe; we are of His kingdom. This cord of blue identifies us as such. This blue cord also symbolizes righteousness and Yahusha our Messiah, Who is righteousness. When we wear this tzitzit, we visibly identify ourselves with YaHuWaH and with His kingdom. Others may see it and ask, and we may get an opportunity to share the truth with them.

Why do Jews wear white tzitzit?

We have just learned that it is commanded to wear a cord of blue in our tzitzit yet, our brother Judah mostly wears white, why is that? Here is a bit of history as to why Jews stopped wearing the blue thread in their tzitzit.

At one point in history, this was no longer the case, so the rabbis dropped the requirement that the tassels contain a blue thread. Following the two Jewish revolts against Rome (66 A.D.–70 A.D. and 132 A.D.–135 A.D.), each of which ended in devastating defeats for the Jews, the Jewish community was so impoverished that the requirement of a blue thread was abandoned. In addition, a counterfeit blue dye had been developed which was disqualified by the rabbis for use in tassels or tsitsit (Bava Metsia 61b; Menahot 42–43a; Sifre Num. 115). Apparently the desire to prevent the use of this counterfeit blue also led to dropping the requirement of a blue thread. Since the second century, the tassels have been pure white. Tassels are still attached to the four corners of Jewish prayer shawls (tallit) worn in the synagogue and on the corners of the so-called small tallit or tallit katan worn at all times by strictly observant Jews.

Yahusha wore tzitzit

Did you know that Yahusha wore tzitzit? Here are a few references:

“And see, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the tzitzit of His garment.” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 9:20

“and begged Him to let them only touch the tzitzit of His garment. And as many as touched it were completely healed.” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 14:36

“And wherever He went, into villages, or cities, or the country, they were laying the sick in the market-places, and begged Him to let them touch if only the tzitzit of His garment. And as many as touched Him were healed.” Marqos (Mark) 6:56

The Greek word “kraspedon” was translated as fringe, but it actually refers to tassels. The NASB has a footnote by the word which reads “tassel fringe with a blue cord”

3192 κράσπεδον (kraspedon), ου (ou), τό (to): n.neu.; ≡ DBLHebr 1544; Str 2899; TDNT 3.904—1. LN 6.180 fringe edge, border, hem (Mt 9:20; 14:36; Mk 6:56; Lk 8:44+), for another interp, see next; 2. LN 6.194 tassel (Mt 23:5+), for another interp, see prior2Yahusha kept YaHuWaH’s commandments, even one of the least of them; wearing tzitzit. It was also prophesied about Him that “He would rise with healing in his wings”

“But to you who fear My Name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. And you shall go out and leap for joy like calves from the stall.” Mal’aḵi (Malachi) 4:2

The Hebrew word “kanap” was translated as “wings,” however, it could also be translated as “hem or corner

Where did the woman suffering from haemorrhage touch Him? She touched the fringe of His cloak. The fringe being His tzitzit. Where are we commanded to wear tzitzit? On the four corners, the “kanap“in Hebrew, also called the “wings” of our garment.

4053 כָּנָף (kā·nāp̄): n.fem.; ≡ Str 3671; TWOT 1003a—

  1. LN 8.9–8.69 wing, i.e., that part of the structure of a creature that flies (Lev 1:17; Ex 37:9; Dt 4:17; Isa 18:1), note: this includes birds, insects, and supernatural beings;
  2. LN 6.152–6.187 hem, corner, i.e., the end piece or border of a garment (1Sa 15:17; Hag 2:12);
  3. LN 7.26–7.53 wing, i.e., a part or section of a building (Da 9:27);
  4. LN 11.90–11.95 unit: כָּנָף הַ־ אֶרֶץ (kā·nāp̄ hǎ- ʾě·rěṣ) very distant place, formally, ends of the earth, i.e., a very distant place, with a strong implication of peoples both physically and culturally distant (Job 37:3; Isa 11:2; 24:16); 5. LN 80.5–80.7 unit: כָּנָף הַ־ אֶרֶץ (kā·nāp̄ hǎ- ʾě·rěṣ) border, formally, ends of the land, i.e., the extreme limits of a space (Eze 7:2)

More proof that Yahusha is the Messiah. He kept the commandments of YaHuWaH and said that He did not come to abolish, but to fulfill, and He added that not the smallest letter or stroke would pass from the Law until all is accomplished. He also taught:

“Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:19

We are to take heed of this. Wearing tzitzit may be viewed as insignificant by some, but just maybe wearing tzitzit is one of the least of the commandments Yahusha is referring to here. Do you want to risk that?


We hope that this article has blessed you and has given you greater insight as to why YaHuWaH gave this commandment. We also hope that it would inspire you to do it. YaHuWaH in His ultimate wisdom thought it necessary to give us something as a reminder in order not to transgress His commandments. There is wisdom in obedience to His commandments.

YaHuWaH is the King of the Universe, and we are part of His Kingdom, the blue cord; a sign of royalty attests to this. We, as His children are part of the royal family of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Please do not ignore this commandment or say it is just for the Jewish people or that we have the Ruach haKodesh now. It is for every one of us, man and woman, who believe in the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Wear it boldly, but with humility and be an ambassador for His Kingdom in everything you do and say.

10 Reasons why people don’t wear tzitzits

 Through our conversing with different people and observations we have made, these are the top 10 reasons why tzitzits are not being worn….

1 – I did not know that was in scripture

2 – We are a different priesthood

3 – That is only for the Yahudim

4 – The Torah is written on our heart, we no longer need a reminder (we have the Ruach HaKodesh)

5 – We are in a new covenant

6 – I can’t wear them to work

7 – They will offend my family

8 – Well I see other people wearing them and the way they act is hypocritical

9 – We can’t get the right color of blue

10 – They are meant for prayer shawls

ABBA’s answer to all 10 excuses….



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rYm Covenant

To the Torah and to the witness! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no daybreak [light]. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 8:20


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