Perhaps I’ve taken for granted for too long that readers know why I chose “A Blue Thread” as the name for the blog. The name refers to the enduring Karaite Jewish practice of wearing blue fringes on the corners of our prayer shawls. Until recently, this practice was almost uniquely Karaite.
Check out the following fact card for more information.
The front of the card was adapted from a photo taken by Chai Edgerly of Chai Portraits and the card was designed by Jason Sutherland.
12 Responses to Karaite Fact Card 3: Fringe Benefits
Do we know the source of the oldest Karaite legal code or Torah commentary that explains why it just means blue and not a certain dye of blue?
I don’t have the answer to that, but I will poke around. But here is some more information for you on the topic. http://rekhavi.karaitejudaism.org/sisit.shtml
I should add that I don’t agree with all the arguments set forth there, but I think it provides a good overview of the issues for you to follow up on.
I think the notion that Qaraite Judaism has no limit on the source for the Tekhelet dye is debatable. Many Qaraites disqualify dyes from aquatic sources, and the previous caretaker of the Jerusalemite synagogue even turned someone away from the sanctuary saying “he cannot enter wearing these impure strings”.
I think the card says no “such” limitation (referring to the dye). BTW, what is your/their understanding of Tola’at Shani?
My opinion regarding the use of Tola`at Shani is identical to yours — namely, although impure, YHWH commanded it be used as one of the Tabernacle’s materials, and although this is rightly percieved as illogical to the human mind (as in “how could YHWH command to use an impure material to be part of one of the holiest objects?”), the logic governing YHWH’s wish in this regard is hidden from us and evidently is divine logic.
That tends to be my view, but I am open to other alternatives. For example, it is possible that a product of an unclean species is not unclean, although I am not sure this is 100% supportable by the Tanakh. (See Ezekiel 4.) Another possibility is transmogrification, which has an appeal for its “simplicity.”
For your knowledge, nearly all Sefardi jews (at least in Israel) raise the tzitzit in front of their eyes when reading this verse, which is recited both morning and night (as part of Keriat Shema) every day, therefore this isn’t something specific to Karaites.
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Do you know where Qaraite prayer shawls might be purchased?
Yes; perhaps you can email me offline (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will direct you to some options.
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