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While there are over a dozen customs as to how exactly one should tie tzitzis strings, all are in agreement (I think) that it involves winding one string around the others some number of times. I have always seen this accomplished by making one string significantly longer than the others, so that it can act as the 'shamash'. However, is this necessary, or a hiddur? Does the same string need to be used for all of the windings?

Regarding tzitzis with t'cheiles, the Gemara (Menachos 39a, see here) does say to "start with white and end with white" even though the windingings in between are done with the blue string, but does that indicate that one can switch strings even within the same color?

  • Pesil techeles (and not pesilei) seems to indicate that only one string is blue, which means that all blue windings are done with a single string. The question is, as you point out, with the white strings. There is a shittah that says that there is one string that is half died blue and half white. The starting and ending windings are done with the white HALF, and the rest are done with the blue half. This opinion clearly holds that switching is not permitted. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 17 '15 at 17:32
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    @IsaacKotlicky Who holds that the white half of the blue string must be used for the wrappings? (And if you say the Rambam please show me how you know he holds that.) – Double AA Nov 12 '15 at 11:14
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Yes, it is preferable, but not mandatory. The Mishnah Berurah (O.C., Siman 11, Se'if Katan 22) writes that if the shamash string is not long enough you can switch to another string. In fact, he explains that this is learned out from techelet tying, where you are definitely going to switch shamash strings (i.e. from white to blue, etc.).

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The windings are made with what is called the "shamash" string which would be from the techelet (blue string). For an excellent discussion of this entire subject, I strongly recommend seeing the following link. The entire site is worth checking out.

http://tekhelet.com/tekhelet-tying-tools/tying-tzitzit/

If you are tying them correctly, the requirement would be to use the same string. A video showing one of the ways how to tie is on this link and also the specific language from most of the major poskim on this subject.

http://tekhelet.com/tekhelet-tying-tools/

Some people think that Rambam suggests that more than one string can be used. But Rambam holds, unlike all other poskim that the thread of techelet is half blue and half white. So when he is saying use a white thread and then use a blue thread, he is still referring to the same thread.

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    -1, because neither your answer nor your link provide information as to whether or not using the same string is merely convenient, preferred, or necessary. Sorry – הנער הזה Oct 14 '15 at 18:32

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