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Let's say I use the pretty much disproven Techelet (Radzyner) : is my Tzitzit completely Pasul? I think according to the Arizal it isn't. Does anyone disagree?

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    Hazal, I believe, only outright banned specific fake Techeileth called Kalah Ilan (generally understood to be indigo). However, I think this is a subject of debate about exactly what was banned.
    – Seth J
    Jan 9 '12 at 21:27
  • I know that Gemara in B"M 61b, but I'm looking for a Posek e.g. the Rambam. Jan 9 '12 at 21:29
  • OK, because it sounds like you're asking about something that may be disproven (but may not be Kalah Ilan), so I thought I'd add that.
    – Seth J
    Jan 9 '12 at 21:31
  • I'm talking about the Radzyner Techelet. Jan 9 '12 at 21:33
  • I thought you might be. I don't think anyone bans discredited Techeileth, only Kalah Ilan (which, again, may be a subject of dispute as to what exactly that is).
    – Seth J
    Jan 9 '12 at 21:42
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If you honestly believe that you are wearing true tekhelet then you are not in violation of the Gemara (BM 61b). If your tekhelet turns out to be false tekhelet, then you will have only fulfilled the mitzvah of tzitzit but not the aspect of tekhelet, as the Gemara (Men. 40a) explains is the case for one who unwittingly wore kela ilan - see my article "False Tekhelet": http://tekhelet.com/pdf/false.pdf

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    Mois Navon, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for contributing your expertise! We have a bunch of other techeles questions that you might want to check out, too. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 16 '12 at 14:30
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According to the Rambam, your tzizit can be any color really. The only thing they can't be is either all techelet, or techelet made from indidgo plants. (Some read this to mean any plants)

Since the Radzyner are made from animals and inorganic material but not plants, then this is not a problem.

I have heard some people say that you should put a bit of the dye on your clothing so that the strings are the same color as your garment, to fulfill the words of the Rambam properly. But I have also heard in the name of Rav Shachter, that really you can have any color on your tzizit at all regardles of the garment. As long as they are not all the same color (save white) and that they are not made from indigo.

However, you are not fulfilling the mitzvah of tzizit with lavan and Techelet when you have non-techelet dye on your tzizit.

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According to the Rambam, the tzitzit is passul if you use the wrong blue-dye for the techelet. (See my post here: https://judaism.stackexchange.com/a/8913/702)

Mishna Torah - Hilchot Tzitzit- chapter 2, halacha 1

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    I am not so convinced by this. There is a difference between פסול לציצית and פוסל לציצית. Pasul letzitzis means that it is invalid for the purpose of (the techeiles) for tzitzis. Posel letzitzis would mean that it invalidates the whole tzitzis. This is subject to a diyuk in the Rambam, so consult your local Orthodox rabbi. Jan 10 '12 at 17:37
  • @joshwaxman It would make sense to consult one's Rabbi even if the Rambam was less ambiguous, since his may or may not be the only opinion. Unfortunately, my cursory look at the commentaries on the Rambam didn't discover anyone resolving this question.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 10 '12 at 17:42
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This may be addressed directly in the Talmud. Menachot 40a states:

תנו רבנן סדין בציצית ב"ש פוטרין וב"ה מחייבין והלכה כדברי ב"ה א"ר אליעזר ב"ר צדוק והלא כל המטיל תכלת בירושלים אינו אלא מן המתמיהין אמר רבי א"כ למה אסרוה לפי שאין בקיאין אמר ליה רבא בר רב חנא לרבא ולרמו בי עשרה ונפקו לשוקא ומפרסמא למילתא כל שכן דמתמהו עילון ולידרשא בפירקא גזירה משום קלא אילן ולא יהא אלא לבן

Our Rabbis taught: A linen garment is, according to Beth Shammai, exempt from zizith; but Beth Hillel declare it liable. The halachah is in accordance with Beth Hillel. R. Eliezer son of R. Zadok said, Is it not a fact that any one in Jerusalem who attaches blue threads [to his linen garment] causes amazement? Rabbi said, If that is so, why did they forbid it? Because people are not versed in the law. Raba son of R. Hanan said to Raba, Then let ten people insert it and let them go about in the market place and so the law will be made known to all! People will wonder at it all the more. Then let it be announced at the public lecture! — It is to be feared that people will use imitation blue. But it is no worse than if it were white!

(Soncino translation)

As Rashi there explains:

צבע היא שדומה לתכלת ואי שרית של תכלת בסדין אתי למירמי צמר צבוע בקלא אילן והוי כלאים שלא במקום מצוה וקפריך מאי איכפת לן אי רמי קלא אילן לא יהא האי קלא אילן אלא לבן בעלמא כלומר צמר לבן האמרן לעיל אין לו תכלת מטיל לבן

[Kala ilan] is a dye that is is similar to techeilet, and if you permit techeilet with linen then one will come to use wool dyed with kala ilan and it will be kelaim in a non-mitzvah situation. And [the Talmud] asks, what do we care if if one uses kala ilan? Let that kala ilan be [considered] nothing other than regular white, meaning to say white wool of which it was said earlier: "if he has no techeilet he should afix white".

The Talmud eventually rejects this line of argument for other reasons, but it seems that it was taken for granted that "wrong" techeilet does not affect the status of the tzitzit as a whole.

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  • Isn't this Gemara already cited above in the accepted answer?
    – Double AA
    Apr 18 at 11:59
  • @DoubleAA Indeed, I realized after posting my answer that the Gemara had been cited. I don’t think it warrants removing my answer, though, since the accepted answer mentions it without explaining it, almost to the point of oversimplification.
    – Alex
    Apr 18 at 12:14

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