1) IDENTIFYING THE "CHILAZON"
OPINIONS: The Beraisa says that the "Chilazon's body is like the sea, its creature is like a fish, it comes up once every seventy years, and with its blood we dye [strings with] Techeles. Therefore, its cost is expensive."
The source of this Beraisa is Maseches Tzitzis (1:10). However, the text there differs slightly. The text there reads that the Chilazon's body is like the sky (and not the sea, as the Beraisa here says), and that it comes up once every seven years (and not once every seventy years).
This Beraisa gives specific identifying features of the Chilazon. In addition to these features, there are a number of other distinguishing characteristics of the Chilazon mentioned in the Gemara, Rashi, and Tosfos elsewhere. Based on these Sugyos, is it possible to identify the Chilazon, and, consequently, the Techeles dye? (For a more comprehensive survey of this topic, see Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld's "Torah from the Internet," Shelach 5755, and see the special TECHELES SECTION of the Dafyomi Advancement Forum.)
(a) To address this question, we shall first list the characteristics of the Chilazon mentioned in the Gemara here and in other Sugyos.
The species: The first group of features describe the species of the Chilazon.
1. The Beraisa says that "its creature is like a fish."
2. The Gemara in Shabbos (74b) says that the Chilazon is captured with nets lowered into the water.
3. The Gemara in Shabbos (75a) says that one is liable for Tzad (hunting) when he captures the Chilazon on Shabbos. This implies that the Chilazon is not a creature that is easy to catch, but rather it is a creature that runs away when one tries to catch it. We know that the Melachah of hunting applies only when one captures an animal that is able to flee and that tries to run away when one attempts to capture it (Beitzah 24a).
4. TOSFOS in Shabbos (75a, DH ha'Tzad) infers from the Gemara that one who removes a Chilazon from the sea on Shabbos is not held liable for killing it ("Netilas Neshamah") even if he allows the Chilazon to become partially dry. This is in contrast to the Halachah that one who removes a fish from water is considered to have killed it as soon as it becomes partially dry, since it will certainly die (Shabbos 107b). Apparently, there is some difference between the Chilazon and other sea creatures in this regard.
5. The Gemara in Shabbos (75a) discusses one who "smashes" ("Potze'a") a Chilazon to extract its dye. The word "Potze'a" implies cracking or pounding a hard surface, such as a person's bones or skull (Shemos 21:25, Sanhedrin 82a), or a nutshell or branch (Beitzah 34a), as opposed to "Kore'a" (ripping). From the use of this word to describe what is done to the Chilazon to extract its blood, it seems that the Chilazon has some sort of hard shell which needs to be "cracked open."
The details of the Chilazon: The next group of features describe specific traits of the Chilazon.
6. The Beraisa here says that that the Chilazon's body is like the sea. (According to the text of the Beraisa in Maseches Tzitzis, its body is like the sky.) This implies that the body of the actual creature has a bluish hue.
7. The Beraisa says that "it comes up once every seventy years," or, according to the text in Maseches Tzitzis, once every seven years. The Beraisa mentions that the dye of the Chilazon is very expensive due to the infrequent availability of the Chilazon.
8. The Gemara (Megilah 6a, Shabbos 26a) limits the locale in which the Chilazon makes its appearance to the seashores of the tribe of Zevulun, "from the cliffs of Tzur (Rosh ha'Nikrah) to Haifa."
The Chilazon's ink: The final group of features relate to the ink that the Chilazon produces.
9. RABEINU TAM, cited by TOSFOS in Kesuvos (5b, DH Dam), proves that taking blood out of a creature is forbidden on Shabbos because of Netilas Neshamah (killing). Tosfos asks that according to Rabeinu Tam, why is one not liable for the Melachah of Netilas Neshamah when one takes blood out of the Chilazon? Tosfos answers that the blood of the Chilazon is gathered in a separate sack in the Chilazon and is ready to be extracted, and therefore its removal does not diminish the Chilazon's life in any way.
10. The Gemara in Shabbos (75a) says that if the dye is extracted from the Chilazon while it is alive, it is of a better quality.
11. The Gemara in Bava Metzia (61b) says that the color of Techeles that comes from the Chilazon is indistinguishable from that of indigo ("Kala Ilan").
12. The Gemara here (43b) says that Techeles is steadfast. It does not fade with time or wash out of the wool dyed with it.
(b) Having reviewed the characteristics of the Chilazon derived from the Gemara's statements about it, we shall analyze the various opinions of the identity of the Techeles and examine whether these opinions are consistent with the characteristics enumerated above.
1. Is it a Kosher fish?
TOSFOS in Shabbos (75a, DH ha'Tzad and DH v'Lichayev) implies that the Chilazon is a type of fish that squirms around in the net after it is caught, making it difficult to extract its dye. This, Tosfos explains, is the difference between the Chilazon and the other fish of the sea with regard to the prohibition of Netilas Neshamah on Shabbos (#4). Since the Chilazon squirms about after it is removed from the water, one is not considered to have killed it, and one has not transgressed the Melachah of Netilas Neshamah at the moment that he takes it out of the water. Rather, it kills itself by wriggling about.
It seems that the view of Tosfos, that the Chilazon is a fish, is based on the Gemara in Shabbos mentioned above (#2) which implies that the Chilazon is a fish like any other, and it must be captured with nets. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 2:2) also writes that the Chilazon is a fish. They do not discuss, however, the exact identity of this fish, or whether it is a Kosher or non-Kosher fish. The view that the Chilazon is a fish also conforms with features #1 and #3 enumerated above.
Although identifying the Chilazon as a fish seems to contradict feature #5 since it does not have a hard shell and the word "Potze'a" does not seem appropriate, Rashi (Shabbos 75a) avoids this contradiction by explaining that the word "Potze'a" is being used differently in this context. It does not mean to "smash," but rather to "squeeze out" the dye-blood from the fish.
RABEINU BACHYE (Shemos 25:3) discusses the three dyes used in the construction of the Mishkan -- Techeles, Argaman, and Tola'as Shani. The last of these three dyes is generally understood to mean "scarlet from a worm." Rabeinu Bachye asks how this is possible, since the Gemara in Shabbos (28b) says that only products that are permitted to be eaten were used in the Mishkan, while worms and their secretions are not Kosher! He therefore explains that the scarlet dye of the Tola'as Shani was not actually taken from worms, but from some sort of berry in which the worms tend to live. According to the approach of Rabeinu Bachye, it may be concluded that the Chilazon, which is a sea creature, must be a normal fish with fins and scales, for this type of fish is the only Kosher sea creature.
The approach of Rabeinu Bachye, however, is problematic. It is clear from the Yerushalmi (Kil'ayim 9:1) that the scarlet dye of Tola'as Shani indeed was extracted from a worm (the Kermococcus vermilis, an insect that breeds on a certain species of oak), and not from a berry. This has also been verified from other historical and scientific sources.
How, though, could a non-Kosher creature be used in the manufacture of an item for use in the Mishkan? It must be that this rule applies only to the actual materials used in the Mishkan, and not to the dyes that were used to color them. The dyes, which are not tangible objects in the finished product, are not included in this prohibition. Accordingly, we are not bound to assume that the Chilazon was a Kosher creature. (See NODA B'YEHUDAH, Mahadura Tinyana OC 3.)
2. Is it a squid?
As mentioned above, Tosfos maintains that the Chilazon is a fish. While Rabeinu Bachye asserts that it had to be a Kosher fish in order to be used in the Mishkan, other authorities assert that it did not need to be a Kosher fish; a dye obtained from a non-Kosher fish was also permitted to be used in the Mishkan.
In the late nineteenth century, Ludwig Lewysohn proposed in his book, "Talmudic Zoology" ("Die Zoalogie des Talmuds," Frankfurt 1858, p. 284-5), that the Chilazon is a type of squid, known as the cuttlefish. Lewysohn based his conclusion on an inference from a statement of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 2:2). Shortly afterwards (circa 1888), the brilliant and dynamic Rebbe of Radzin, Rav Gershon Henoch Leiner, came to the same conclusion. He carried the conclusion one step further by actually developing a process whereby the sepia (inky secretion) of the cuttlefish, which normally produces a dark brown dye, was transformed into a blue dye. The Radziner Rebbe authored three large volumes intended to prove that he had indeed re-discovered the lost Techeles (SEFUNEI TEMUNEI CHOL, PESIL TECHELES, and EIN TECHELES), and he set up a factory where the dye was produced.
(It is interesting to note that the method used by the Radziner Rebbe to produce Techeles consisted of boiling the sepia together with iron filings and potash at extremely high temperatures to produce the pigment ferric ferrocyanide. Dye chemists are quick to point out, however, that this process does not make any unique use of the squid's inky secretion. In fact, the sepia itself disintegrates and never makes it to the final product, leaving behind only its nitrogen atoms. Any compound that contains nitrogen will produce the same result when boiled with iron. In fact, a similar process is used by organic chemistry students to test for nitrogen in compounds.)
The approach of the Radziner conforms with #2, #3, and #4, since he maintains that the Chilazon was a fish, as pointed out earlier (b:1). (It conforms with #5 as well, because squids indeed have a hard, shell-like "bone" under their skin.) It also conforms with #9, because the ink (sepia) of the squid is contained in a separate sack. The ink is the blood that the Gemara mentions. It might conform with characteristic #10 as well. As for characteristic #6, perhaps the body can be described as "looking like the sea" since the cuttlefish is somewhat transparent, and changes color according to its environment.
However, there are a number of difficulties with the Radziner Rebbe's opinion. First, Techeles is described as absolutely indelible (#12 above), but the Radziner's Techeles can fade (a process called "bleeding") when scrubbed with common detergents. Second, the blue color that he produced was not the blue of the sea, the shade of indigo (#11), but rather a more metallic blue. Also, the squid he used is of a species that is relatively abundant and equally common in all oceans, and thus it does not correspond to the statements (#7 and #8) about the rarity and limited habitat of the Chilazon.
3. Is it a snail?
RASHI in Sanhedrin (91a) writes that the Chilazon is a type of slug ("Tola'as"), which allows for the possibility of it being a mollusk. Similarly, the RA'AVAD (Toras Kohanim Metzora 1:14) calls the Chilazon a type of worm or slug that lives in the sea.
This is indeed implied by the statement of the Beraisa here in Menachos (#1 above). The Beraisa says that the body of the Chilazon looks "similar" to that of a fish, implying that the Chilazon itself is not a fish. The Beraisa also says that its "creature" is like that of a fish, which might refer to the slug inside of the shell, while "its body is like the sea" may refer to the color of the shell itself.
The YAD RAMAH in Sanhedrin (91a) implies that the word "Chilazon" refers to snails in general, and the Chilazon of the Techeles is a particular type of snail (see also ARUCH). This seems to be the way the RA'AVAD (at the end of his introduction to Sefer Yetzirah) uses the word Chilazon as well. Indeed, the word "Chilazon" is used in numerous places as a general term meaning a snail or a snail-like object. The Chilazon mentioned in Shir ha'Shirim Rabah (4:11) is clearly a creature that lives inside a shell. The Mishnah in Bechoros (6:2) and in Kelim (12:1) calls an object with a spiral or twisted snail-shell appearance a "Chilazon." In Sanhedrin (91a) we are told that Chilazons appear on the surface of the earth after a rain. It seems clear from all of these sources that the word "Chilazon" is being used in the context of "snail," and it is therefore logical to assume that the Chilazon that produces Techeles is a particular type of snail.
This is a very strong objection to the Radziner's identification of the Chilazon as a squid, as a squid does not live inside a shell. (The Radziner Rebbe's attempts to resolve this difficulty are recorded in "Ha'Techeles," p. 174.)
Identifying the Chilazon as a snail is consistent with characteristics #5 and #9. It also provides a simple explanation for why one is not obligated for Netilas Neshamah when he removes a Chilazon from the water. Removing a snail from water does not kill it, even if its shell dries out, since it can remain moist within the shell for a long period of time.
The problems with the snail hypothesis are characteristics #2 and #3 (as mentioned earlier, b:1). The snail does not seem to require a net to be captured (#2), and it is not difficult to catch, as it does not run away (#3).
One answer for the characteristic that nets are used to catch the Chilazon (#2) is that historically and until today, the Greeks have hunted for snails by lowering baited nets into the water, into which the snails crawl to eat the bait. The nets are then lifted with the snails inside of them. However, this answer is not entirely satisfying, since strings would serve this purpose just as well. From the Gemara it seems that the knots of the nets were important for the capture of the Chilazon.
Concerning the characteristic of hunting (#3), the Yerushalmi indeed states that one who captures the Chilazon is not liable for hunting. This makes sense only according to those who explain that the Chilazon is a snail (which does not flee when one catches it). Tosfos (Shabbos 75a, DH ha'Tzad) indeed grapples with the Yerushalmi's ruling.
To explain why the Bavli does obligate a person for hunting the Chilazon (if it is a snail), it has been suggested that since the snail hides itself in the sand and is so difficult to find, capturing it is considered the Melachah of hunting, even though it does not flee when found.
Perhaps a more plausible approach to these two questions is that the Bavli and Yerushalmi disagree with regard to the identity of the Chilazon. The Yerushalmi, which noticeably avoids the Bavli's suggestion that the Chilazon is caught in a net (Yerushalmi Shabbos 7:2), maintains that it is a snail. Therefore, one is not liable for Tzad if he captures a Chilazon. The Amora'im of the Bavli understand that the Chilazon is a fish, which is why they suggest that it is caught in nets and that one is liable for transgressing the Melachah of Tzad when one captures it. (M. KORNFELD)
It is interesting to note that Rashi here in Menachos (DH v'Olah) says that the Chilazon comes up "from the land." This does not fit the description of an aquatic snail. Indeed, Rashi himself in many other places (Sanhedrin 91a, DH Chilazon; Megilah 6a, DH Al Yedei; Bava Metzia 61b, DH Kala; Chulin 89a, DH sheha'Techeles) says that the Chilazon comes up from the ocean.
The TAHARAS HA'KODESH explains that Rashi does not contradict himself. Rashi in Megilah states that the Chilazon comes up "from the ocean to the mountains." This means that Rashi understands that it originates in the sea, and from there it finds its way to the land. The YA'AVETZ explains that Rashi in Sanhedrin means that the Chilazon comes from the ocean floor, and thus when Rashi says "land," he means the land of the ocean.
4. Is it the Janthina snail?
Can we identify which of the many species of snails is the one that produces the Techeles dye?
The theory that the Chilazon is a snail was researched in depth by Rav Yitzchak Isaac ha'Levi Herzog zt'l, who laid the foundation for research into the identity of the Chilazon. The Chilazon was the topic of his doctoral thesis (at age 24), in which he combined his tremendous erudition in Torah with his exceptional scholarship in eight different disciplines and twelve languages. To this day, his thesis remains the most basic and authoritative work on the subject, from both a Talmudic and a scientific perspective. The Hebrew version of his thesis was reprinted in full in the book "Ha'Techeles" (by Rav Menachem Burstein, Jerusalem, 1988, pp. 352-437), an excellent work which summarizes all of the Techeles research done until that date. The longer, English version of Rav Herzog's thesis was printed in, "The Royal Purple and the Biblical Blue" (Keter, 1987), along with other works on the subject.
Rav Herzog proposed that the snail from which Techeles was derived was the Janthina Pallida Harvey. It is found in the Mediterranean Sea, and has a beautiful violet-blue shell. When excited, it discharges a secretion of the same color. It is quite rare and lives in colonies that experience population explosions every four to seven years, when large numbers of them are washed ashore. This fits perfectly with characteristics #6 and #7, that the Chilazon looks like the sea and is rare.
In recent years, research has been done to determine whether a blue dye can be made from the Janthina's secretion. So far, the efforts have not met with success. The secretion can produce a reddish-bluish color on a fabric, but within a matter of hours the color turns black. In addition, the dye washes right out of the fabric when brought into contact with water. The most advanced modern testing has not been able even to reduce the secretion in any chemical solution (the most basic requirement of any known dye). Instead of dissolving in liquid, the Janthina's ink forms a suspension. In this state, it cannot be induced to bind to a fabric. More research into the chemical makeup of the secretion is necessary.
There are other problems with identifying the Chilazon as the Janthina snail. First, like the cuttlefish, it is no more common along the shores of Zevulun than anywhere else in the Mediterranean (#8). Second, as Rav Herzog himself points out, no Janthina shells have ever been discovered in any archaeological site, nor is this snail mentioned anywhere in the Greek or Roman literature that discuss blue dye, indicating that it was not used in the ancient world.
5. Is it the Murex snail?
In the mid-1800's, archaeologists uncovered numerous ancient dye-producing factories along the Mediterranean coast, mostly in the north-eastern area, between Haifa and Lebanon, with large heaps of snail shells alongside them. This is consistent with the Gemara's statement (#8) that the only place in Eretz Yisrael where Techeles can be found is in the territory of Zevulun, which runs along the Mediterranean coast from Haifa northward. These shells have been identified as belonging to three distinct species of snails: Purpura Haemastoma, Murex Brandaris, and Murex Trunculus. It is now accepted that these snails were the source of Tyrian purple, the "Argaman" mentioned in the Torah.
Rav Herzog points out that it is clear from a number of Torah sources and historical sources that the Jews and the non-Jews extracted their blue dyes from the same creature ("Ha'Techeles," pp. 426-427; see also Shabbos 26a, and Rashi there, DH ul'Yogvim). Nevertheless, he rejects the suggestion that one or all of these species may be the true source of the Techeles for several reasons. First, the color of their shells is white, which contradicts the Gemara's description (#6) that the Chilazon's body is like the sea (a bluish hue). Furthermore, and more importantly, the dye extracted from these creatures is purple and not indigo (#11). The above-mentioned snails were clearly the source of Argaman, or "purpura" in Latin. However, Techeles, referred to in Latin by Josephus and Philo as "hyakinthos," may have been produced from another snail altogether -- perhaps the Janthina that he suggested (above, b:4).
Others (such as Alexander Dedekind in "Archeological Zoology," Vienna, 1898, p. 467) suggest that the blue dye of Techeles did come from the snails found near the ancient dye vats. Two of the species were used to produce Argaman, while the Murex Trunculus was used to produce Techeles. This distinction is based on the fact that not far from Sidon an ancient dyeing site was discovered, with two separate piles of shells near it. One huge pile contained a mix of shells of Purpura Haemastoma and Murex Brandaris, while the other contained only shells of Murex Trunculus ("Ha'Techeles," p. 421). Moreover, the Murex Trunculus produces a blue dye slightly more readily than the other two.
Although he personally favored his Janthina theory, Rav Herzog himself reluctantly admitted that "the logical conclusion would certainly appear to be that the blue pigment produced by the Chilazon was obtained using the Murex Trunculus dye... it is highly unlikely that the Techeles Chilazon was not the Murex Trunculus" ("Ha'Techeles," p. 421).
Rav Herzog's main objection to this position was that the shells of Murex Trunculus are white and not similar to the sea (#6). Others explain that the Gemara which compares the Chilazon to the sea refers not to the color of the snail, but to the wave-like contours on the snail's shell. Yet others explain that the Gemara compares the snail's shell to the sea bed. The shell is covered by sea-fouling and perfectly matches the rocks to which it attaches itself. (However, neither of these explanations satisfies the version of the Beraisa quoted in Maseches Tzitzis, according to which the Chilazon is "similar to the sky." Another possibility is that when the Beraisa describes the "Guf" of the Chilazon, it is describing the ink which is used to produce its dye, and not its shell (-M. KORNFELD).)
Another objection Rav Herzog raised was that the secretion of Murex Trunculus turns purple and not blue (#11). Rav Herzog himself raised the possibility that "there might have been some scheme known to the ancients for obtaining a blue dye out of this secretion" ("Ha'Techeles," p. 423). Recent research has shown that when the secretion is exposed to sunlight after being chemically reduced (a step in the dyeing process), the sunlight breaks down certain chemical bonds in the resulting liquid and it subsequently forms a blue dye. In fact, the resulting dye consists mostly of components bearing the exact same chemical composition as indigo.
One major difficulty remains. What is the once-in-seventy-years cycle of "coming up" mentioned by the Beraisa (#7)? Does the Murex Trunculus snail show any unusual prominence every seventy (or seven) years? So far, no such behavior has been observed in the Murex. Various explanations have been offered (for example, the Beraisa is using the number "seventy" merely to emphasize the infrequency of the appearance of the Chilazon, as the Mishnah in Makos (7a) uses that number to emphasize the infrequency of Beis Din carrying out capital punishment), but no answer has yet been offered that is entirely satisfactory.
Today, there are two Techeles-producing factories. One, located in Bnei Brak, produces the Radziner Techeles, worn only by Radziner and Breslover Chasidim. The other, located near the Jericho area, produces Techeles from the Murex Trunculus (see TECHELES SECTION).
RAV CHAIM VITAL (in Sha'ar ha'Kavanos, Tzitzis, Derush 4) writes that Techeles represents Hash-m's presence being clearly felt in the world. This is why Techeles was widely accessible only during, and close to, the era when the Beis ha'Mikdash was standing. At that time, Hash-m's Presence was manifest in the world for all to see. After the exile and subsequent hardships, when Hash-m's Presence among His people became less evident, Techeles became "hidden" as well. The "return" of Techeles may be an indication that the manifestation of Hash-m's Presence in this world, too, will be returning to its former state. (See also "Ha'Techeles," p. 186, note 21, and Likutei Tefilos 1:49). (M. KORNFELD)
2) HALACHAH: WEARING "TECHELES" TODAY
QUESTIONS: Nowadays, a number of organizations produce a form of the Techeles dye for Tzitzis according to the various opinions (see previous Insight). None of the opinions have yet been proven correct beyond a doubt (and hence the existence of multiple opinions). Nevertheless, it is possible that one of them might be the same Techeles that the Torah commands us to wear and that our ancestors wore.
(a) Since there is a rule that in a case of a doubt concerning a Torah obligation one must conduct himself stringently, should one wear Techeles out of doubt?
(b) Even if there is no obligation to wear Techeles because of the doubt, is there any reason to specifically not wear Techeles?
(a) The BEIS HA'LEVI wrote a response to the RADZINER REBBE's question about the Techeles that the Rebbe was producing from the dye of a squid (the cuttlefish; see previous Insight). He wrote that in a doubt regarding matters that involve a Mesorah, an oral tradition, the rule of Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra does not apply. This argument is understood in two different ways.
1. The Radziner Rebbe understood the Beis ha'Levi's argument to be that the rule of Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra does not apply because there is a tradition that contradicts the hypothesis of the Radziner Rebbe that the Chilazon is the cuttlefish. The Radziner's squid was known and available throughout the generations, and yet none of the Chachamim considered it to be the Chilazon. This is tantamount to a negative tradition that this is not the Chilazon, and therefore there is no reason to be stringent and wear Techeles from such a creature.
This negative tradition, however, does not apply to a species which was not known by the Chachamim throughout the generations. The lack of any positive tradition identifying this species as the Chilazon does not disqualify it. Accordingly, the identification of the Chilazon as the Murex Trunculus, or as the Janthina snail, is not subject to a negative tradition that it is not the genuine Chilazon, and thus there should be grounds to be stringent, following the rule of Safek d'Oraisa l'Chumra. (Indeed, some feel that it is obligatory to wear Techeles from the Murex Trunculus in our time because of this reasoning.)
2. The descendants of the Beis ha'Levi have a different tradition regarding the intent of the Beis ha'Levi's argument (as recorded in "Shi'urim l'Zecher Abba Mori z"l," by the Beis ha'Levi's great grandson, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, vol. 1, p. 228). They claim that the Beis ha'Levi required a positive tradition regarding the identification of the Chilazon. With no known tradition that the Chilazon is the cuttlefish, or the Murex Trunculus, or any other species, the possibility that this particular species might be the authentic Chilazon is not considered a Safek d'Oraisa and does not warrant acting stringently. The accurate identification of the Chilazon will have to wait for Mashi'ach.
(b) The Poskim have given a number of reasons to suggest that Techeles not be worn today.
1. RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a (cited in KOVETZ TESHUVOS #1) writes that one should wear only white Tzitzis on a white garment. Regarding the identification of the Techeles, he is quoted as saying, "It is known that more than one hundred years ago, one of the great Admorim thought he found the [identity of the] Chilazon... and he caused a great stir in the world, questioning, 'Why are you refraining from doing a Mitzvas Aseh d'Oraisa [to wear Techeles]?' However, the great sages did not agree with him, and after some time researchers came and negated his findings. They decided that something else was the Chilazon. After some more time, certain scientists asserted that their predecessors' conclusions were inaccurate, and that only they have discovered the true identity of the Chilazon. We do not know if, after a few more years, other people will come and negate what these researchers are saying.... The YESHU'OS MALKO (#1) points out that it is written in the Sifri (Parshas v'Zos ha'Berachah), as well as in the teachings of the Arizal, that Techeles can be present only when there is a Beis ha'Mikdash."
With regard to Halachic problems with processing Techeles, Rav Elyashiv is quoted as saying, "The process of the dyeing has not been clarified, as Rashi maintains that only the blood of the Chilazon can be in the pot without any other chemical agents, while according to the Rambam one puts other chemical agents into the same pot. Who can decide this question today?"
With regard to Halachic problems with wearing Techeles, Rav Elyashiv is quoted as saying that by placing doubtful Techeles on the Tzitzis, one neglects fulfilling the Mitzvah of Tzitzis in the proper way. The SHULCHAN ARUCH
(OC 9:5) writes that it is preferable that the Tzitzis be the same color as the garment, and the BACH
(OC 24), quoted by the MISHNAH BERURAH
(OC 9:16) writes that one's Talis and Tzitzis should be white like the "garment" of Hash-m (as depicted in Daniel 7:9). If the Techeles that one wears is not actually Techeles, then, according to the Shulchan Aruch, the strings are not the same color as the garment, and, according to the Bach, the string are not all white (see Insights to Menachos 41:2
2. RAV MOSHE STERNBUCH shlit'a (in TESHUVOS V'HANHAGOS 1:26) writes, "I am concerned that one who wears it (Techeles) in our community, where people have not been accustomed to be stringent [to wear Techeles], is transgressing the prohibition of 'Lo Sisgodedu' by acting differently [and wearing Techeles). Even though there is no Halachic problem when wearing false Techeles (Kala Ilan), because it is known that he is doing this with intention to fulfill the Mitzvah of Techeles, albeit in opposition to our custom, nevertheless one should be concerned about the prohibition of 'Lo Sisgodedu.'" According to this argument, one would be permitted to wear Techeles in private, or in a community wear Techeles is commonly worn (as Rav Sternbuch himself mentions).
Rav Sternbuch adds that there is another Halachic concern: "Unlearned people will think that they are definitely fulfilling the Mitzvah of Techeles, and having such intentions may raise questions of 'Bal Tosif'" (see Rav Sternbuch's Teshuvah at length). (Y. MONTROSE)
(For arguments supporting the opposing viewpoint, see SEFER LULA'OS TECHELES by Rav Shlomo Teitelbaum.)
3) POURING "NESACHIM" AT NIGHT
OPINIONS: The Gemara derives from the verse of "u'Minchasam v'Niskeihem," "their flour offerings and their libations," that Menachos may be offered -- and Nesachim poured -- at night (see RASHI, DH Minchasam, regarding which Menachos may and may not be brought at night). A number of verses in the Torah say "u'Minchasam v'Niskeihem" (or "Minchasam v'Niskeihem," as Rashi's text seems to read). Which of these verses is the Gemara's source for this Halachah?
(a) RASHI in Zevachim (84a, DH Nesachim ha'Ba'im) says that the Gemara refers to the verse written with regard to the Korbanos of Sukos (Bamidbar 29:18).
TOSFOS (DH Minchasam v'Niskeihem, #2) asks many questions on Rashi. One question is that if the verse is in the Parshah of the Korbanos of Sukos, then how does it imply that one may offer Menachos and pour Nesachim at night?
A second question is how can the Tana Kama in the Beraisa learn from that verse that one first brings a Minchah and then Nesachim? The verse itself continues, "la'Parim la'Eilim," implying that the verse does not relate any order of bringing parts of Korbanos, as it lists the Minchah and Nesachim before the Korbanos themselves.
(b) Tosfos quotes RABEINU TAM who says that the verse which the Gemara cites is the verse that describes the Korbanos of Shavuos (Vayikra 23:18). The verse lists the Korbanos of Shavuos and concludes, "... and their flour offerings and their libations as a fire offering, a pleasing aroma, to Hash-m." Rabeinu Tam explains that the fact that the Menachos and Nesachim are mentioned in the verse between the words "Olah" and "Isheh," which refer to the burning of the Korbanos which may be done at night, teaches that the Menachos and Nesachim also may be done at night.
The TAHARAS HA'KODESH answers the questions of Tosfos on Rashi. He explains that when the verses discuss the Korbanos for each day of Sukos, the verses which describe the Menachos and Nesachim generally begin with the words, "u'Minchasam v'Niskeihem" -- "and their flour offerings and their libations." However, two of the verses (Bamidbar 29:24 and 37) start with "Minchasam," omitting the "Vav" at the beginning of the word. The omission of the "Vav," which usually connects one subject to the next, shows that the laws of the Minchah and Nesachim are not always connected to the Korbanos. Hence, the Gemara learns that these Menachos and Nesachim differ from the others in that they may be brought at night, and they may be brought on the next day. The fact that there is no "Vav" also enables the Tana Kama learn that a Minchah should be brought before Nesachim.
The YAD BINYAMIN has difficulty with this approach. Rashi himself in Zevachim (84a, DH Nesachim ha'Ba'im) says that this is learned from the extra words of "u'Minchasam v'Niskeihem," and not because of any missing "Vav."
The Yad Binyamin explains Rashi's intention as follows. It seems unnecessary for the verse to state with regard to each day's Korban that the Menachos and Nesachim must be brought with the Korban. It should suffice to mention once, at the end of the list of all of the Korbanos of all of the days of the festival, that on each day one should be bring Menachos and Nesachim as well. The fact that the Torah repeatedly mentions the Menachos and Nesachim with each day's Korban teaches that the Menachos and Nesachim are independent items, with their own laws, that happen to be brought with these Korbanos. The Gemara deduces from this that their times for being offered also differ from the times for offering Korbanos; they may be offered both at night and the next day. This is what Rashi means when he says that this is derived from the extra words of "u'Minchasam v'Niskeihem."
To answer Tosfos' second question (that the verse does not teach any order of bringing parts of Korbanos, since it lists the Minchah and Nesachim before the Korbanos), the Yad Binyamin explains that Rashi maintains that when the verse mentions the Korbanos, "la'Parim la'Eilim," after "Minchasam v'Niskeihem," it is simply stating that these are the Menachos and Nesachim for these Korbanos. The verse is not discussing the actual Korbanos again. (Y. MONTROSE)