Tangentially related to this question - Which tzitzit do I kiss? - Which part of the tzitzit is to be seen/kissed? Many have the custom to kiss the tzitzit when reciting the 3rd paragraph of the shema upon reaching the word tzitzit. Others have the practice to look at them when reciting the words “o’re-etem oto” (and I suppose there are those who do both). But the question is which part of the tzitzit does one kiss or look at - the knots or the strings? Is one part or the other the essence of the mitzvah and the other just an embellishment or are both really just 2 halves of the same coin?

  • The tzitzit are the loose strings just like the Tzitz of the Kohen Gadol refers to the thread of blue holding the golden plate to his forehead. The knots and windings (what would be referred to as cordage) relate specifically to Yaacov/Yisroel, like the posuk says in Devarim 32:9, "Yaacov is the cordage of His inheritance." When looking at the Tzitzit, you look at both the loose strings and the cordage in order to recall "all the commandments of G-d". Jul 2, 2019 at 13:47
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    All parts should be looked at based off the gematria and kavanos brought down concerning tzitzs,the number of strings,windings,and knots are all included. However, it should be noted that according to the Ramban the ikar reminder of the 613 is the techeiles itself
    – sam
    Jul 2, 2019 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


One should look at the strings, specificly the blue (techales) strings. The Ramban in chumash says this clearly. (Most people don't use techales. If this hasn't been argued to the sky on mi yodeah, there are several sites that bring more information on the topic than you could possibly want.) Even without techales, the white strings in place of the techales are supposed to be the reminder.

According to the Rambam (at the beginning of hilchos Tzitzis) the techales string is specificly for its winding function, and then one would look at the windings.

The Rambam there says pretty clearly that the two parts of the mitzvah are equal parts.


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