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My friend and I were pondering the connections between the kohen gadol's tzitz and the tzitzit fringes of the average Yid.

Aside from the obvious linguistic relationship (that we don't understand) there's also the use of techeles for both items.

How can we explain the connections between these two items?

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Radak (Y'sha'ya 28:4) comments that ציץ is the masculine form and ציצית is the feminine form:

נזכר בלשון זכר ציץ ובלשון נקבה ציצית

The Zohar (Sh'lach 174b) likewise notes this. The Zohar understands this connection as representing a kabbalistic dichotomy where ציצית represents the feminine aspects of Creation and the physical world while the ציץ represents the masculine and the spiritual world. The Zohar also notes that while only a kohein could don the tzitz, the commandment of tzitzis applies to all Jewish men:

ציצית איהו נוקבא רזא דעלמא תתאה אסתכלותא לאדכרא ציץ דכר ציצית נוקבא ודא לכל ב"נ, ציץ לכהנא

As a point of comparison, the Zohar remarks that both the tzitz and tzitzis are meant to be displayed and seen.

Note that ציץ also means "flower" (e.g. Y'sha'ya 28:4, 40:6-8).

  • Actually, ציץ means "blossom" See Bamidbar 17:23 - וַיֹּצֵא פֶרַח וַיָּצֵץ צִיץ, וַיִּגְמֹל שְׁקֵדִים. The word for flower is פֶרַח . – DanF Feb 26 '15 at 3:48
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    @DanF It does often connote "blossom" rather than the more generic "flower," but I think there are places where it carries the more generic connotation (e.g. I M'lachim 6:18, where תרגום יונתן renders צִצִּים as שושנין). – Fred Feb 26 '15 at 4:48

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