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Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Tying The Tzitzit

"Then the Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garment with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have the tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord.'"
-Numbers 15:37-39 NIV

We have been enjoying learning about Jewish celebrations and traditions. This week we made Tzitzits, which are tassels which are still added to the corners of Jewish clothes today. The exact way to make them is passed down from generation to generation and has many regulations about the materials and dyes that must be used. We did not want to presume to make an actual tzitzits, but through the making of a model of one, we learned about them and their meaning.
I found the idea for making them in Remembering God's Chosen Children by Susan Mortimer, but when we tried to make them according to her instructions, we ran into lots of problems. I decided it might be helpful if we told you how we ended up making them.
We made our tzitzit from three strands of white cotton embroidery thread, about 20 inches long each. I actually would recommend you using about 24 inches, to give you some room to tie the last knots. More is better in this case. You can always trim off the end, if it is too long.
You will also need one strand of sky-blue cotton embroidery thread at least 28 inches long. Again, a little more might make it easier to make.
We punched a hole in a piece of card stock and then, placing the card stock so that the hole is facing you, put a weight on the card stock. This will give you a stable place to tie the knots.
Thread all four strands through the hole, which represents the corner of a garment.

Tie a double granny knot with all the white threads.
Next, wrap the blue strand around the others seven times.
Continue tying double knots and wrapping in this order:
Double Knot
Eight Coils
Double Knot
Eleven Coils
Double Knot
Thirteen Coils
Double Knot

The younger boys had a lot of trouble making the appropriate amount of knots and coils with the thread because they have to be tied tightly and wrapped tightly. I let them stop when they ran out of thread, for it was the experience of making one in order to cement in their minds what they were learning that was important, not that they made it according to specification. They put theirs in their history notebooks along with the scripture above.

The numbers of the knots and coils all mean things, which help the Jews to remember the commandments, but when I researched what they meant, it required a knowledge of the Hebrew language, as many of the numbers are symbolic values that are attached to the Hebrew letters that make up things such as the name of God, the word "one" (as in the one God) and in the name tzitzit.

4 comments:

  1. What a cool lesson. I'm really going to have to look at this once we get through our 2 years through the Bible. I've got it on my wish list right now.

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  2. This was so cool! I always enjoy the projects you guys do!

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  3. what is the meaning of the different number of coils and knots

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    Replies
    1. The number of knots and wrap all equal to 613 commands found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In the Hebrew alphabet every letter is also a number so that where the numbers can make words. Hebrew is also read from right to left much different from the way we read. In Messianic and Hebrew Roots movement some of us make Tzitzits another way by using the numbers that make up the name of G-d. In this way the number of wraps in the Tzitzits spells his name in Hebrew. Here is the numbers and letters that make up the name 10-Yod י, 5-Hey ה, 6-Vav/ Wahן , and 5-Hey ה which is יחןח Yahweh. The Tzitzits would be made by first making a loop in the middle of your string then 2 knots, 10 wraps, 2 knots, 5 wraps, 2 knots, 6 wraps, 2 knots, 5 wraps, and then 2 knots again. The color blue should be used it is the color of royalty. Before the Temple was built there was the Tabernacle. In the Tabernacle as well as the Temple there was the Table of Showbread, the Menorah, the Slaughter-place of Incense, the Slaughter-place of Ascending Offering, the Bronze Basin, and the Ark of the Covenant. When the Tabernacle was moved all of the articles but the Ark of the Covenant were wrapped in purple cloth and then leather. The Ark of the Covenant was first wrapped in leather then wrapped in blue cloth. The Blue in the Tzitzits I think is there to remind us to be Kadosh(holy) as the Ark of the Covenant was Kadosh.

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