Mixing Fabrics

I was reading some interesting things this week in Torah Class, and I just had to bring them here.  Ironically, it’s about tsit-tsit.  Yup, I finally got to the reading about them!  Check this:

Deu 22:11  Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.

This is a HUGE argument in Messianic circles.  Does this mean that we can’t wear different fabrics at the same time?  And why?  You will read a lot of sites explaining how certain fabrics have healing properties and others cause illness and all sorts of other mumbo jumbo, but take a look at this:

Every Israelite male was to wear Tzitzit; a tassel made of white linen threads, wrapped around a single blue woolen strand, and then worn on the corners of one’s garment… to achieve the goal of reminding the Israelites of the Torah commands…  But, the Tzitzit were also a sign; a sign of holiness. Even more specifically, they symbolized a measure of nobility and a measure of priestly service that every Israelite was both honored to have, and expected to maintain. The key to understanding Tzitzit is that they were an exception to the prohibition against common Israelites wearing clothing made of two different kinds of material. The law was that one could wear all wool OR they could wear all linen; but the two could not be mixed.

However, since the tribe of Levi had been separated away from Israel, and assigned a special duty as God’s designated servants and priests, the High Priest and the ordinary priests had a couple of items of clothing that WERE made from mixing wool and linen; this mixing of materials is, in Hebrew, sha’atnez.  …The Tzitzit represents the reality that God has declared all Israel to be, at some level or another, holy. Leviticus 19 tells Israel, “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

So just as the High Priest’s special head covering is sha’atnez (made of mixed material) that thus is holy, so is the sash of the regular Priest and the Tzitzit to be worn on the hem of the garment by ordinary Israelites. Look at this amazing hierarchy that is set up when we understand what is actually being stated: The High Priests head is covered with the sha’atnez, the regular Priests waist, or middle of his body, is covered with the sha’atnez, and the common person wears the sha’atnez, in the form of Tzitzit, between his knees and ankles. High, middle, low. This represents gradients (various levels) of holiness. And, this allowance (commandment of God, actually .for common Israelites to wear Tzitzit is the grand epitome of the instruction that Israel is to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

We have seen this model of “gradients” or degrees of holiness before. One of the prime models is the Temple where we have the highest degree of holiness present in the Holy in Holies chamber, the middle level of holiness in the Holy Place chamber, and the lower (but still holy) level of holiness in the outer court where God’s ordinary people (members of Israel) may gather. This is a pattern and thus we can expect to see this pattern reflected and demonstrated in a number of ways in the Holy Scriptures.

By adding to the Tzitzit the single blue woolen thread that signifies royalty (adding it to the white linen threads surrounding it that signify the priesthood) the two are combined. Every Israelite dons a symbolic measure of holiness; every Israelite has a measure of Priest in him; every Israelite has been set apart, to one measure or another, to serve God.

So tzit-tzit is commanded in the scriptures to be worn by those set apart as belonging to the Lord.  And they’re worn at different levels… on the head for high priests, at the waist for regular rabbis, and on the fringe of an apron at a lower level for the rest of the people.  VERY interesting!

As to the ‘why’, you don’t mix fabrics because it’s considered holy.  I had NO idea!  They always made it sound like a bad thing, but that doesn’t sound bad… and if these special mixings are ‘special’ and ‘set apart’, it makes sense that it’s connected to holiness.  Speaking of the holy… WWJD?

Matthew 9:20 And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.”

TorahClass says:

Now we can reasonably debate over whether the fringe of Yeshua’s garment (Tzitzit) was on a prayer shawl or attached to a middle garment or located at the bottom of the skirt/robe that was the typical dress of folks in that era. But what is not arguable is that this “fringe” was Tzitzit. There is absolutely no record of any other kind of “fringe” that Hebrews wore at the hem.

…how Christians are to deal with this command is not entirely clear. I’ve already stated to you that while ordinary Israelites could not wear clothing of mixed fabrics, the Priests, according to all known documents, could and did.  And consider what John said in Revelation concerning our new position…whether Jew or gentile…before the Father, as Believers:

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

…Point being that priests were not completely prohibited from actually wearing fabrics of mixed material. Since that is the case then any Believer, Jew or gentile, should take that into consideration when deciding whether or not that Torah command not to mix material in our garments is for us, today. However, the question of whether we can or should wear Tzitzit is another matter.
So we ARE commanded to wear tzit-tzit:
Deu 22:12  Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

But, because we are considered priests and our bodies the replacement for the physical temple, we are NOT required to abstain from mixing fabrics anymore.  VERY interesting.  Personally, I’m still struggling with HOW to wear tzit-tzit… the belt/fringe I made rides up, falls down, stretched out… it’s a mess.  I tried pinning, and it was… wrong.  I’ve toyed with the idea of having braids put in my hair, with a blue strand woven into four skinny braids, but I don’t know if that’s acceptable or not.  I know that wearing them UNDER my clothing isn’t exactly a reminder, but wearing them hanging out seems… I want it to have meaning to ME, but not be… pretentious?  Too ostentatious or grandiose?  I don’t know the word I’m looking for, but you get the idea.

Still… at least I understand a little more about not only the wearing of tzit-tzit, but how it’s actually the mixing of fabrics, and how THAT works, too!

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