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Techeiles

Question:
Dear Rabbi,

I am absolutely convinced that the murex is the accurate techeiles. Am I required to wear it? Or could I rely on the authorities who hold that techeiles is only a hiddur (Rashbah Menachos 38a, Pnei Yehoshua Bava Metziah 61b, Rosh Yosef Shabbas 25b, Beis Shlomo 1:16, Kedushas Yom Tov, Menachos, siman 35), or on the opinions that the Geonim were mevateil techeiles (Tiferes Yisroel Hakdamah to Moed, Hisorerus Teshuva 1:280), or the Rishonim who say that the color of techeiles isn’t exactly like indigo (Rabbeinu Yona, R’ Avrohom Ashbili, Ritvah to Berachos 9b), and the exact color of techeiles is perhaps me’akeiv (Sheilas Shlomo 64), or the fact that, since there is regardless a three-way-safek regarding how many strings must be dyed (and doing the wrong shita could jeopardize the entire mitzvah of tzitzis, see Yados Hamishneh) one would not be required to wear techeiles?

Answer:

If we accepted the Murex as the definitive chilazon, it would seem all the issues you mention would not be sufficient reason not to wear techeiles. These issues have all been dealt with by the proponents of the Murex. If you are convinced about Murex, you would seemingly not be looking for “what to rely on” not to wear it, rather the proper way to in fact wear it. 

Now to your question, “I am convinced, am I required to wear it?”. No, just as if you were convinced of other halachic positions that are not mainstream. For example if you were personally convinced that the minhag of kitniyos is no longer binding, you would not be permitted to follow that opinion, without guidance from your Rav.

That is assuming you are not a Rabbi or halachic authority. For questions in halacha and especially of this nature, we turn to a Rabbi or halachic authority at least, and in such a complicated, unclear issue, to one of the senior accepted halachic authorities of our time. The halachic process is not a mathematical equation and not a study in archeology. It requires many years of study of the breadth and depth of Torah and gleaning a tradition from the previous generations of Poskim. 

So for a question of this nature you should seek out halachic guidance from your Rabbi whom you turn to for guidance in other areas.  

 

 

Comments (2)

  • are roster

    Thank you for your response. I am, unfortunately, far from being a halachic authority (the extent of my learning is on-again-of-again daf yomi, and a half-hearted attempt to get semicha). So I guess I am required to follow your opinion.

    I do not believe, however, that the murex proponents have addressed most of these points. I am not aware of a single pro-murex publication who quotes, let alone responds to, any of the authorities who hold that techeiles is just a hiddur, or any murex publication who quotes the authorities who hold that techeiles does not look like indigo.

    However, thank you for your quick and clear response!

    Are Roster

    Reply
    • Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

      contact [email protected] he is one of the supporters of Murex who has done a lot of research and probably has explanations for the points you raise. I, as many others are stuck on the point that the Murex is not the chilazon of Tcheiles.

      Reply

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