March 27, 2008

Tacheilis... yes or no?

Interesting video from Arutz Sheva regarding the wearing of tacheilis (blue thread). Watch it HERE.

(note to A7: Your videos do not embed properly. Please fix)

From Reuven Prager's website:
In addition to my briefcase I came with a bag, containing the first Beged Ivri tunic I had ever produced - from Tallith material - wool with the horizontal black stripe, dingle balls along the front bottom, tzitzith with Radziner Techelet and the finest black satin gartel (sash). It was the most stunning Beged I had ever made. Rav Sheinberg is the 'Tzitzith Rebbe', and he wears layers upon layers of Tzitzith. As I packed up to leave - I figured - go for it - what do I have to lose? I walked up to the Rebbe and held out the corner of the tunic I was wearing, with the Tzitzith and Techelet, and he immediately grasped it from my hand and held onto it. I took the garment I had created with him in mind, and slid it out of the bag and held it up and said "I want to make a trade with you; I want to trade you this Beged for all the tzitzith you are wearing." His son, who also serves as his Gabbai (assistant), came rushing over and said "Put that away before my mother sees it!" (The rebbe wears so many tzitzith that the last thing his wife or doctor want is for him to take on additonal tzitzith.) I noticed though that the rebbe had come alive. The rebbe responded "What? You want to trade that one Beged for all these Tzitzith?" and I replied "Yes, your doctor and your wife will love it!" By this time his son was a full participant in the discussion. He said "But abba (dad) it has sleeves - you won't wear it!" I turned to the rebbe and seeing in his eyes that he wanted it said, "so don't wear it - hang it on the wall and look at it as you walk by." His son came back with "but eema (mom) will freak out" and at that point I turned to him and said, "don't argue with your father" (lovingly and definitively.) Now I turned to the rebbe who was weighing my offer, and I saw in his eyes that he was considering trading one, two, maybe even three of the tzitzith he was wearing, but all of them? He said to me, "Are you kidding?" Now of course I wasn't really looking to trade one garment for 60, I was looking to trade concepts, and I said "those are tzitzith for Galut (exile) - this is tzitzith for Geulah (Redemption), and asking if he would like to have it, he nodded to his son to accept it.

I won. The rebbe got his garment.

First of all, all kavod due a Gadol Ha-Dor, Rav Sheinberg is not a "rebbe" but a Rav. He is Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Ore in Yerushalayim and a prominent posek. To quote wikipedia: "A rebbe is distinct from a 'rav' or 'rov' (a word usually translated as rabbi, who is a leader of an Orthodox Jewish community, either hasidic or non-hasidic) in that a significant function of a rav is to answer questions of halacha (Jewish law). It is not uncommon for a hasidic Jew to have a rebbe as a spiritual guide and to go to a (another) rav for a ruling on an issue of religious law.

Chasidim use the term to denote someone that they perceive not only as the religious leader of their congregation, but as their spiritual adviser and mentor. A rebbe is someone whose views and advice are accepted not only on issues of religious dogma and practice, but in all arenas of life, including political and social issues."

That being said, I had my own encounter with Reuven Prager many years ago in Jerusalem. He told me that tacheilis is the way to go and he insisted that the big poskim would agree. I did not believe it, so he challenged me to go to Rav Sheinberg and ask him. Here is the kitzur of the dialogue:

Me: "Can I wear tacheilis?"
Rav Scheinberg: "Don't do it."
Me: "Is it mutar to wear tacheilis?"
Rav Scheinberg: "Don't do it."

So I have been tacheilis free since (not that I wore it much to begin with).

Let's open up some debate and dialogue. I would love to hear comments and opinions on this subject. Feel free to chime in!


josh said...

A friend of mine who wears it told me that he's been told (ok, I know, a friend of a friend of a friend...) that a certain tzadik leader of the national religious group says that if he could he would wear techelet, but refrains from doing so because if he wore it and others would follow, it would put an extraordinary financial strain on many people.

Anonymous said...

Did he mention if they were Radzin techelit or the newer ones being made?

גילוי said...

There is a Chareidi Yeshivah in the old city, Zilberman's, where a large percentage of the people where techelet from Amutat Petil Techelet. I heard from a 2nd or 3rd hand source that one of Rav Zilberman's (zt"l) children asked Rav Eliyashiv about it, and Rav Eliyashiv was docheh without investigating the matter. The maskanah that this rav got was that if you want to just listen to what others say on it, don't do it. If you want to look in to things to hopefully find truth, perhaps it is for you.

For those of you that are not familiar, Zilberman's is a unique yeshivah, learning according to the shitah of the GR"A, they stress bekiut before iyun. That is to say that they spend from age 5-10 just on Chumash, 10-15 on Mishnah, and then from 15 onward Gemara. They attain a near memorization of large portions of Shas before entering in to analysis. In other words they are not simpletons when they make a decision on halachah. If you've been to the Old City, they are the ones with Tefillin on all day.