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Is the Tassel on Your Garment?

Updated on February 14, 2013
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Glendon and his wife have led church ministries, conducted empowerment seminars, and travelled to faraway places on business and vacation.

Have you seen Orthodox Jews wearing something under their shirts with white tassels on it?

Or you may have noticed their modern prayer shawl which has four tassels, one on each corner, and is tied with white and blue threads.

Here is the origin of tassels for the clothing of Israelites:

Numbers 15: 37-41, NLT.

37 And the LORD said to Moses, 38 "Say to the people of Israel: 'Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach the tassels at each corner with a blue cord. 39 The tassels will remind you of the commands of the LORD, and that you are to obey his commands instead of following your own desires and going your own ways, as you are prone to do. 40 The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the LORD your God!'"

Ancient peoples of the Near East had a custom of attaching tassels of various colours. God took this and gave it to His chosen people as a sign or symbol of loyalty to God. The tassel or ‘fringe’ was attached to the four corners of the outer garment with a thread of blue on each tassel.

A further explanation from the staple reference, Jamieson, Faussett, Brown ‘Critical Commentary and Explanatory on the Whole Bible’ will suffice:

These were narrow strips, in a wing-like form, wrapped over the shoulders and on various parts of the attire. "Fringe," however, is the English rendering of two distinct Hebrew words--the one meaning a narrow lappet or edging, called the "hem" or "border" ( Matthew 23:5 , Luke 8:44 ), which, in order to make it more attractive to the eye and consequently more serviceable to the purpose described, was covered with a riband of blue or rather purple colour; the other term signifies strings with tassels at the end, fastened to the corners of the garment. Both of these are seen on the Egyptian and Assyrian frocks; and as the Jewish people were commanded by express and repeated ordinances to have them, the fashion was rendered subservient, in their case, to awaken high and religious associations--to keep them in habitual remembrance of the divine commandments.

Tassel or Tzitzit with a pair of trousers.
Tassel or Tzitzit with a pair of trousers. | Source

The Christian does not wear tassels today but like the Israelite of the Old Testament we need to remember the commands of the Lord, and to obey them instead of following our own desires.

What has the Lord given us to help us remember his commands?

1. The Holy Spirit who will guide us into all truths and teach us of Christ.

2. The Sabbath day which by returning every week reminds us of our duty to our Creator?

3. The sanctified imagination is encouraged to meditate on the cross of Christ which according to the Bible Study Guide 'People on the Move: The Book of Numbers' "should bring before our minds the cost of sin, the cost of our redemption, and the promise of salvation for all who through faith trust in the merits of Jesus…” p.51.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation)


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    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 5 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      two: I am writing from a Christian perspective, and the New Testament clearly teaches that these Mosaic requirements are abolished for the Christian.

      Colossians 2:14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;".

      Baptism, Footwashing, and the Lord's Supper replace the older ordinances.

      I am however quite willing to explore how we could celebrate some of the yearly agricultural festivals like Israel of old.

    • profile image

      two 5 years ago

      what scrip sats no more tassels? None say it so it must still be in effect. Paul or Shaul who christains love to qoute says that he kept torah, so Shaul must have worn tassels. Unless your saying that theres 2 laws ??

    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 6 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Hi children's church teacher:

      What a great idea! The pins, I mean.

      Thanks for the suggestions for illustrations. Will work on it right away.

    • profile image

      chldren's church teacher 6 years ago

      I am teaching this as part of a J.O.Y. lesson. Instead of focusing on the holidays from a selfish point of veiw I want the children to remember Jesus is the true reason for the celebration. I am making bagdes (pins) for them to wear to remind them every day. It would have been great to have a picture to go along with your article as a visual for the children. Thank you for sharing.

    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 7 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Kelsey: Thanks for reading and commenting. As you no doubt gather, the article is written from a Christian perspective, but with great respect for the roots of Christianity in Judaism.

      Accountable: You are laying it on very thick with irony I think. At no time did I say that "only" Orthodox Jews wear tassels.

      Did anyone get the idea that tassel is a metaphor for obedience? The hub is not primarily about the literal tassel.

    • profile image

      accountable 7 years ago

      Not only "Orthodox Jews" wear tassles---I suggest to really "study" why instead of just commenting!

    • profile image

      accountable 7 years ago

      Well said Kelsey--Do not let anyone try to sway(discount) what you belive in -But "do" try to teach them the "way" --Your heart is on the "correct" path ..Don't get mad,or angry or loose your temper when others don't seem to patient,your more effective that way..remember how such a learning curve it was/maybe is for are such a blessing to those around you im sure, have/do plant seeds in folks I can tell..which at first gets a "discount response" ,but because they commenting back means your working on stay the course doing "his will"--

    • profile image

      Kelsey 7 years ago

      Excuse me I made a typo… partial obedience is still disobedience.

    • profile image

      Kelsey 7 years ago

      I wear tassels, it is commanded in the Torah to wear them and just because man has decided to say that we no longer need to wear them, who are we going to follow? The heavenly father or man that has replaced what Yahuah has commanded us to do. Partial disobedience is still disobedience.

    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 7 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Hi Paper Towel: Happy you enjoyed the read.

      As to your question I wish to refer you to the article which says "The Christian does not wear tassels today but like the Israelite of the Old Testament we need to remember the commands of the Lord, and to obey them instead of following our own desires."

    • profile image

      PaperTowel 7 years ago

      Hey. I have found your article very interesting. And as it appears, it is fairly old. LOL

      So I have a question: do you wear tzitzits (or tassels) now?

      Thank you.


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