What Is The Significance Of The Number Of Strings On Tzitzit?
Tzitzit are fringes or tassels that are attached to the corners of a tallit (prayer shawl) or a four-cornered garment, as commanded in the Torah in Numbers 15:38-39. The tzitzit consist of a set of strings that are tied in a specific way and are meant to serve as a reminder of God's commandments.
The number of strings on tzitzit is significant because it is based on a specific numerical value in Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, each tzitzit must have four strings (known as "shamash") that are used to tie the tzitzit to the garment, and eight additional strings that are tied in a particular way to form a set of fringes.
The eight strings are divided into four pairs, and each pair is folded in half and tied in a specific way to create a series of knots and loops. The knots and loops are arranged in a particular pattern, and the resulting tzitzit have a total of 16 strands, with each strand consisting of two strings that are twisted together.
The significance of the number 16 is based on the numerical value of the Hebrew letters that spell the word "tzitzit." In Hebrew, each letter has a corresponding numerical value, and the letters that spell "tzitzit" add up to 600. When this number is combined with the five knots and eight strings, the total number of strands on the tzitzit is 613, which is the same as the number of commandments in the Torah.
Thus, the number of strings on tzitzit serves as a reminder of the importance of following God's commandments and living a life of holiness and obedience. The tzitzit are a physical symbol of this commitment, and the number of strings and knots on the tzitzit serve as a constant reminder of this obligation.