The Fringes

The Fringes

Many are confused, shocked, and wary when they learn I’m more and more “Torah observant,” especially if I encounter fellow “Anabaptists.” Most, including “Anabaptists,” have adopted a centuries-old interpretation of the Scriptures that makes most, if not all, of Torah (“the law”) obsolete. “We’re under a new ‘dispensation’,” or, “We’re not under the ‘old covenant’” are the common responses I hear. But this just isn’t true. Let’s consider a couple of passages (of many) that illustrates the importance of God’s law.

ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the YWHW. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.[1]

If we expect God’s blessings, we do well to walk in the law of Yahweh. The Psalmist reveals what we all know: “Thou hast commanded us to keep they precepts diligently.” But the modern refrain is, “It’s done away with,” right? Here is Christianity’s greatest blunder—it’s a massive, massive beam. It’s blasphemous. The reality is that the law will never be done away with. It’s as everlasting as the one who gave it is: “LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”[2]

To help people understand the importance of this issue, this study is going to look at an obscure command. This particular command exemplifies both the mercy and holiness of Yah himself. 

The fringes

Here, I’m going to provide two places of Scripture where this seemingly obscure command is found. 

Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:[3]

Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.[4]

For the remainder of this study, we’re going to concern ourselves with the word “fringes” and why they must contain a blue thread. This is an important issue.

The word “fringes” here in Hebrew is as follows: “tsı̂ytsith - tsee-tseeth’ | Feminine of H6731; a floral or wing like projection, that is, a fore lock of hair, a tassel: - fringe, lock.”[5] The common way it may be spelled today is “Tzit Tzit,” with the letter combo “Tz” making the same sounds as the “Z’s” in the word “Pizza.” These are to be on “four corners” [kanaph] of one’s garment. 

What’s interesting is that the word for “corner” [kanaph] and “tzit tzit” [tsiytsith] both indicate “wing like projections.” It’s something, apparently, on the outside, sides of the garment. A garment “naturally” has four “corners” or segments/ regions if there’s a seam down the side. So on either side of the garment, at the seam, there is to be a fringe, or tassle. There’s no indication how it’s to be situated there other than the fact that it’s a somewhat lengthy tassle with a blue thread. For now, I have no interest in debating how long they should or shouldn’t be or how they’re to be situated. They just need to be there according to the plain reading of the text.

The color

The normal thread color may have matched the color of the larger garment, or maybe it’s just always been white. If you search today, you’ll find the common colorations are white with royal blue, but many have taken their liberty and used other colors and patterns as well. But the one thing that’s a must is the blue thread. But why?

And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.[6]


Here, Moses receives the “old” covenant (more on this idea later); he receives “tables of stone…a law, and commandments” which Yah says he himself wrote. Notice that when in the presence of God, they perceive that under his feet is “a paved work of sapphire stone…as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” Now let’s look at another interesting place in the Prophets.

And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.[7]

Ezekiel saw what Moses and the elders before had seen: the likeness of the glory of YHWH. But notice that the throne, too, is described as the firmament is under his feet is: sapphire stone. 

In these two passages, we see that the color sapphire (blue) is associated with God’s throne. It’s from this throne that mercy and judgment are issued. In the Charlton Heston epic “The Ten Commandments,” Moses receives the tablets from the side of the mountain. Lighting is seen striking each command into the stone as a thundering voice booms from the heavens above. But this isn’t accurate by any stretch of the imagination. I believe the Scriptures indicate that the tablets of stone were actually hewn directly from the throne of YHWH, which, again, is described as being paved stone sapphire. In a poetic sense, the thread of blue in the tsiythsith is the same thread that’s woven through the Scriptures: God’s offering of mercy for obedience and judgment for disobedience, both of which come from his throne of glory. If we look at the reason God even gives this command to wear tzit tzits, we’ll understand this theme better. 

But why?

I know what you’re thinking because I’ve been where you’re at before: this can just be symbolic though, right? This command isn’t one that can be relegated to the “metaphorical” category as easily as some may wish. The command, as well as others like it, is important for those who call Yahweh their Father.

In the previous passage, we find this well-known instance of disobedience:

And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.[8]

This man was discovered doing occupational work on the seventh day, the sabbath. He broke the fourth command of the “Ten.” The punishment was to set an example: he was stoned to death. That’s the Judgment from God’s throne. Immediately after this punishment, Yahweh speaks to Moses and commands for the making and wearing of the tsiythsith, explaining, 

And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.[9]

That’s the mercy from God’s throne.In God’s mercy, he invented a means to call to remembrance the importance of keeping the statues. The fringes are, if you will, the ancient “WWJD?” bracelets. God truly gives us every opportunity to remember and obey the commands. If we willfully disobey, then we’re “workers of iniquity” (“workers of lawlessness”) and are doomed to destruction.[10] Let that man’s negligence serve as an example.

Before we move on, I want to restate the importance of the tzit tzit and color blue in them: The significance of the blue color hearkens back to the vision Moses had of the sapphire throne of glory, which I believe is what the tables of stone were. In general, the tzit tzit is intended to help us remember the commands and who gave them.

Did you know?

Would you be surprised to learn that Yeshua (Jesus) obeyed this command? Here are some interesting verses we can see this in.

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:[11]

And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.[12]

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.[13]

There is little doubt in my mind that the idea here is that Yeshua wore the tsiythsith. He would’ve been obedient to not only that seemingly insignificant command but all others, too. Is it any wonder that this is where healing comes from? Is it any wonder why he proclaimed those who sought to touch “but the hem” had faith? We see, therefore, that these tassels indicate a desire for blessing that comes from faith.


Are you trapped in the unScriptural burdens of man-made, centuries-old Protestant/ Catholic tradition based on a disdain or neglect of God’s word? Do you seek to be encompassed by the Father’s torah so as to find refuge from the wickedness and sin of the world? Consider the fact that each tassle hangs on either side of you, on “four corners.” Truly, Father desires we be surrounded on every side by his judgments and mercies so we’re ever mindful of how we’re to please him. It may look strange to the world—but we’re not of this world, are we?   


[1] Psalm 119:1-4, KJV

[2] Psalm 119:89, KJV

[3] Numbers 15:38, KJV

[4] Deuteronomy 22:12, KJV

[5] Strong’s, E-Sword X

[6] Exodus 24:1-12, KJV, Emphasis added

[7] Ezekiel 1:25-28, KJV, Emphasis added

[8] Numbers 15:32-36, KJV

[9] Numbers 15:39,40, KJV

[10] Matthew 7:21-23

[11] Matthew 9:20, KJV

[12] Mark 6:56, KJV

[13] Malachi 4:2, KJV