Yesterday, my wife and I had a wonderful opportunity to share with another brother and sister why we wear tzitzit tassels according to the commandment given in the Torah, and I also wanted to take the time to address this subject on the blog. There are many different understandings of this topic being taught today, and as with anything else, it’s important to test everything we hear against the bright light of Yah’s Word to ensure that it is good and worth holding on to (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
The Arguments Against Wearing Tzitzit
Before we turn to the Word of YHWH regarding this matter, let’s briefly examine the arguments that are most often used to support the belief that obedience in this area is no longer for today (sound familiar?)…
Argument #1: Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) fulfilled the purpose of this commandment, so we no longer have to wear tzitzyot.
Argument #2: The wearing of tzitzit is a Jewish thing.
Argument #3: Tzitzyot are only for men.
Argument #4: They are only for garments with four corners.
Argument #5: They can be worn, but are to be tucked into garments and hidden from view.
What the Torah Says About Tzitzit Tassels
Now that we’ve laid out the more popular arguments against wearing tzitzit tassels, let’s turn to the Word. Twice in the Torah, we’re instructed to wear tzitzyot on the four corners of our garments. Once in Numbers, and once in the book of Deuteronomy…
Numbers 15:38 “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. 39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of YHWH and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your Elohim.”
Deuteronomy 22:12 “You shall make tassels on the four corners of the clothing with which you cover yourself.”
A careful reading of the above two passages tells us the following:
- This instruction is for all children of Israel, not only the tribe of Judah (Jews) or men.
- Tzitzit tassels are to be worn on the four corners of our garments.
- We are to wear them throughout all of our generations.
- Tzitzyot must contain a blue thread.
- They are to be a visible reminder of our Father’s instructions, the Torah.
- We are to hear and obey all of His commandments.
The Torah plainly tells us that all of Israel (all 12 tribes, both men and women) was commanded to follow this instruction forever, throughout all generations. It is to be a visible reminder to us of the importance of walking in the Light, and that following our own heart and eyes (the flesh) is the way that leads to certain destruction.
Interestingly, the word “remember” used in Numbers 15:39 is Strong’s H2142, זָכַר zâkar (zaw-kar), which means “properly to mark (so as to be recognized), that is, to remember; by implication to mention”. We know that Israel was called out and set-apart (marked) by YHWH to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6), to show the world what living righteously according to the instructions of our Creator truly looks like. He has intentionally given us guidelines, that if followed, will clearly set us apart from others in all areas of our life (calendar, food, dress, attitude, etc.) and lead others to Yeshua Messiah. This is a good thing and it’s the very reason for our existence — instead of attempting to explain the commandment away, it should be embraced.
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
What the Torah Does Not Say About Tzitzyot
So, as we’ve learned, the Torah does not indicate in any way, shape, or form that wearing tassels was a temporary thing that would someday be replaced by the Ruach at Shavuot (Pentecost). It was not specifically directed to one tribe (Judah), nor was it intended to be for men only (women need reminders to be obedient just as much as men).
Additionally, tzitzyot are not to be tucked in or hidden from view — they are to be visible reminders. After all, how is it possible that the woman in Luke 8:44 touched Yeshua’s tassel and 10 men of the nations will grab ahold of one Jew in Zechariah 8:23 if tzitzyot are to be tucked away and out of sight? Both of these passages act as further witnesses to the fact that our tassels are to be visible to others.
And what about the argument that they’re only to be used on garments with four corners? Consider the following:
Isaiah 11:12 “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
The word used here for “corners” is the exact same as the one that is used in both Torah passages related to the wearing of tzitzyot, it is Strong’s H3671, כָּנָף “kânâph”. Since the round earth doesn’t have four distinct corners any more than a pair of pants do, I cannot see this as being a valid reason for setting aside the commandment.
Last but not least, beyond attaching them to the four corners of our garments and including a blue thread, we are given no specific requirements regarding length or how to tie them. With all of this in mind, remember that any teachings contrary to what the Torah has to say on a matter are purely the doctrines of men…
Mark 7:13 “Thus you nullify the Word of Elohim by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
What Did Yeshua Say and Do?
Yeshua came to earth teaching and walking in the Torah of His Father. His doctrine was not His own, nor did He come to institute “a new thing” that was contrary to the perfect and unchanging words of our Creator. Yeshua HaMashiach came as our perfect example, and as His followers, we are to walk in His footsteps.
1 John 2:6 “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
We know Yeshua kept the whole Torah perfectly, not so we don’t have to but that we might have an example of what it looks like to properly interpret the Word and walk in it. Scripture also tells us specifically that Yeshua Messiah wore tassels on the fringes of His garment, and that there was healing power in them…
Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”
Luke 8:44 “She came up behind him and touched the fringe of His garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.”
“Wings” (Strong’s H3671): כָּנָף, kânâph, kaw-nawf: From H3670; an edge or extremity; specifically (of a bird or army) a wing, (of a garment or bed clothing) a flap, (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle: – + bird, border, corner, end, feather [-ed], X flying, + (one an-) other, overspreading, X quarters, skirt, X sort, uttermost part, wing ([-ed]).
“Fringe” (Strong’s G2899): κράσπεδον, kraspedon, kras-ped-on: Of uncertain derivation; a margin, that is, (specifically) a fringe or tassel: – border, hem.
Last but not least, let’s consider the Words of our Messiah in regards to His purpose here on earth and the importance of walking in obedience to all of the Father’s Commandments…
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
By these very words of Yeshua our Messiah, we can confidently say with 100% accuracy that all of the Torah is still in effect today. Heaven and earth have not passed, all is not yet fulfilled, and not the least stroke of a pen will pass from the Father’s Commandments until these things come to fruition. He went on to warn us that those who break even what we perceive to be the least of Yah’s Commandments and teach others to do likewise, will be called least in the Kingdom. Last but not least, we see in verse 20 that the doctrines of men which were upheld and taught by the religious leaders of the day were not pleasing to the Father and hold no value whatsoever. As pointed out earlier, they destroyed (nullified) the Torah of our Father by adding to and taking away from His Word.
Deuteronomy 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your Elohim which I command you.”
Tying it All Together (Pun Intended!)
The bottom line is, we cannot pick and choose which commandments we want to keep, nor can we claim to know every reason why certain instructions are given and then argue that they’re no longer important because we’ve deemed them to be “fulfilled”. Wearing tzitzit, for example, has opened many doors for our family to share the truth of Yah’s Word with others, and it has resulted in numerous blessings that we would not have received had we not been walking in obedience by wearing them.
Sadly, “picking and choosing” happens all too frequently today as individuals attempt to justify a lawless lifestyle. People openly rebel against the fourth commandment by saying that “Jesus is their Sabbath rest”, and some even attempt to explain away the dietary instructions found in Leviticus 11 by arguing that we now have refrigeration and can safely consume that which is unclean. Let us not forget that YHWH is smarter than we are — we are simply called to hear and obey, not edit His instructions.
In these last days, let us throw off the doctrine and traditions of men and return to the original faith as it was once delivered to the saints. It is time to stand up and defend our Father’s unchanging and perfect Word.
Titus 1:9 “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
Proverbs 4:2 “For I give you sound doctrine, forsake ye not my Torah.”