In the last 100 or so years there has been an increased interest in techeles and those that have started to wear it do to a number of “discoveries” of what seems to be the correct way of making techeles. While the Radzhiner techeles many rejected, in recent time there has come about a certain snail that many claim fit the parameters of techeles as laid out in Chazal (there have been a number of kuntresim and small seforim written on the issue.) As well many re’as from Rishonim and Achronim (see all those kuntresim) that once the techeles has been found there is a chayiv to put it on and fulfill the mitzvah d’oraisa properly.

My question is as follows. To start does one have a “chiyuv” to look into the sugia, go through the re’as properly, look into the metzias to find out if what has been found is the correct techeles or not? Most Rabbonim (including many Gedolim) have not even looked into the issue at all (and admit to this — thus getting rid of any taneh that one would be able to say that “well, the gedolim don’t wear techeles. Because by their own admittance they haven’t “learned” the sugia.) Is this a valid reason to not look into at as well?) If it comes out that this snail they have now fits the parameters is one then chayiv to put on techeles? What are the makoros to say that even if it would be 100% still we are not required to put it on.

I hope the question comes out clear and the Rabbonim will be able to address it properly. It should be noted that there are many Rabbonim in Eretz Yisrael and Chutz L’Aretz that wear techeles b’tzinah. Among them HaGaon R’ Yisrael Belsky Shlit”a (he should have a full and complete recovery) as well as HaGaon R’ Zalman N. Goldberg Shlit”a. Obviously there must be something to what’s come out now in recent time…

Answer:

This is an issue that has not been dealt with extensively in halachic literature.

Many rabbis who look into the sugya actually do become convinced, and some even begin to wear techeiles. The general “excuse” for not looking into the sugya is that we don’t see that the gedolim did so. This seems to be a weak answer to a good question.

The citations from the Arizal, whereby techeiles will only be found in future times, is not a conventional halachic argument, and the fact that it is cited indicates the weakness of the arguments.

Note, however, that even Rav Zalman Nechemya, who wears techeles on his begged kattan, does not do so on his tallis, indicating that he wasn’t entirely convinced.

In fact, nobody claim to 100% certainty, and the claim to have found the techeiles can only be a theory that remains unproven. This is a reason why there would not be an obligation to put on techeiles (spending good money on it). However, there seems to be a good correlation, and certainly a decent chance of this being techeiles, so that the question is “why not?”

Having spoken to several rabbis about this question, some said: “We don’t do it, because this would imply a public ruling to wear techeiles, but in practice there’s no reason not to.” However, others explained that in the absence of a clear masores concerning techeiles, we cannot rely on science to create a new masores.

Note that the great majority of the observant community, and certainly the Chareidi community (including its leading rabbis), does not wear techeiles.

Recently Rav Asher Weiss shlita published a lengthy Teshuvah explaining the reason why there is no obligation to wear the modern techeiles; see the second volume of Shut Minchas Asher.

Best wishes.

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3 Responses to “Techeiles Today: Why Not?”

  1. Regarding the statement:
    Note, however, that even Rav Zalman Nechemya, who wears techeles on his begged kattan, does not do so on his tallis, indicating that he wasn’t entirely convinced.
    It should be noted, that Rav Golberg Shlit”a has recently begun wearing techeiles on his tallis gadol also, and he has also written a letter of support to those that worked on the sugya – see here http://techeiles.org/haskamos.php.

  2. I’m really sorry to say, but Rav Asher Weiss Shlita’s teshuvos in Minchas Asher volume 2, although lengthy, are far from convincing, anyone who knows anything about the Murex would realize that it is clear that he did not really take the issue very seriously.
    After wondering for a few years [since the teshuva was written and privately circulating (I was from the first to see it)] how such a great Gaon like HaRav Weiss Shlita was able to write such a disturbing teshuva. Recently, I found out that it was done under the influence of some of his closest talmidim, who had a serious agenda against techeiles.
    A number of responses to his argument can be found at:
    http://techeiles.org/debate.php#raw

  3. I don’t know why you say that nobody claims with 100% certainty that we have techeiles now.
    I know many talmidei chachamim in lakewood and in Eretz Yisroel who think the Murex is 100% techeiles.
    I think that any rational talmid chacham who learns the kuntreisim that are availible here: http://techeiles.org/publications.php would come to the same conclusion.

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