“I just saw this beautiful Tzitzis with Techeiles and thought of you.”
“Now that you tied these strings for me, I’ll think of you whenever I wear it.”
The above are some things people in the past have mentioned to me with in terms of what Techeiles reminds them of. Now while I personally don’t think I’m anything special, the Tzitzis is supposed to as a reminder of sorts. Rashi comments that the reminder works with Gematria of Tzitzis (ציצית) equals 600, plus 5 knots (as per Rashi) and 8 strings per corner, you get the number 613. The Ramban though doesn’t like that, since in the Torah the word Tzitzis is spelled with only one Yud (ציצת) which only gives it 590, so you’re missing 10. He then explains that the “entire” Mitzvos reminder is achieved by the Techeiles which ultimately reminds one of Hashem vis a vis the Kiseh HaKavod (the throne of glory).
The Techeiles aspect is supposed to ultimately remind us to do Mitzvos by means of it resembling first the sea, then the heavens, then the Kiseh HaKavod (throne of honor). But what is this throne of honor? On top of the above, I was advised by some anti-Techeiles people that:
- Even if the evidence strongly shows that we have it today, we have lost our connection to this Mitzvah and therefore aren’t obligated like we used to be. For example, we now know that the sky is no longer “blue” since there’s outer space which is all black.
- We have become so desensitized by the influx of color, so much so that we don’t get the same effect.
- We can have Techeiles staring right at us in the face and we won’t see it.
Once we begin to understand what the Kiseh HaKavod might be, the above will make sense. The Kiseh HaKavod is hard to mentally quantify as Hashem “sitting” on, since Hashem is infinite, and any property binding or any attempt to anthropomorphize Him will have a limitation of some sort, since we would effectively be binding Him to one of His creations. It has been suggested that the Kiseh HaKavod is either,
- The Kohen Gadol (high priest), in all his glory, or
- King David’s blue throne (as per the Zohar, where he sat on and judged matters of life and death), which was comprised of Lapis Lazuli, which some have suggested is the biblical Sapir (and not the modern Sapphire). As an aside, being that it’s King David’s throne lends credence to that it represents Middas HaDin, and that when one dreams or has “visions” one should pray he doesn’t see the color blue.
Let’s focus on the Kohen Gadol notion. In the time of the Gemara when the comparison was written, King David had long since passed. However, it wasn’t as long after the Bayis Sheni existed. The Kohen Gadol wore Techeiles in his Meil (robe), as well as his Psil (wick/weaving) which attached the golden Tzitz to his forehead. The priestly activities on the Har HaBayis where Yitzchak was sacrificed prior gave off the indication that heaven was kissing earth.
Today, we don’t have a Kohen Gadol, and we therefore don’t appreciate how he would look while performing his duties. Sure, the Temple Institute has a great mannequin of a Kohen Gadol dressed in a Meil according to the Rambam. But it’s not the same. We don’t have a temple, and we don’t have the full experience to inspire us, with the Techeiles spiritually carrying us until the next Aliyah LeRegel to the Beis Hamikdash.
So perhaps, Techeiles may exist, but we won’t “have it” until Moshiach comes, “having it” being the experience of being inspired from channels we don’t have access to. In effect, the Lavan part of the Tzitzis with Rashi’s prescription would function just as well (Gematrias are always suspect at any rate). The above stated, I suggest the following:
- Techeiles is a Mitzvah in the Torah. Therefore, even if we don’t get the same “oomph” as in the past, there’s a lot to be said about doing it Lishmah (for the simple sake of doing it because it’s a Mitzvah, nothing else).
- Pray harder for the in-gathering of exiles, the restoration of the temple service, and the arrival of Moshiach.