Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson) say anything about wearing Techelet made from the Murex trunculus (as claimed by Ptil Tekhelet to be the correct Halachic Tekhelet) nowadays?

If so, where and what did he say?


4 Answers 4


Actually, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, did give a response which can be found in his Igrot Kodesh when he was asked in the 1960's (might have been early 1970's). He said that he had nothing to add to the response of the Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi Shalom Dovber Schneersohn, on the question.

The Rashab was asked specifically about the Radziner techelet which was from the cuttlefish. The Rashab said that as much as he wanted to be able to say the Radziner techelet was legitimate, he could not after reading everything the Radziner Rebbe had provided him about it. This letter can be found in the Igrot Kodesh of the Rashab.

The Ari z"l does say that the the 'shefa' that is drawn into the world through the mitzvah of techelet would not be possible until the coming of Moshiach. For those interested in reading the details of this, it can be found in Sefer Divrei Shalom - Minhagei Rashash, volume 1, by Rabbi Avner Afgin.


The Rebbe did not discuss the current techelet from the Murex Trunculus, also called Heptaplex Trunculus.

From the perspective of the teachings of the Rebbe, that we have crossed the threshold from the 'Days of Galut' to the 'Days of Moshiach' would at least offer the possibility that the requisite mentioned in the name of the Ari z"l has been fulfilled. This is one of the reasons why some Lubavitchers wear the techelet from the Murex Trunculus today.

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    Worth noting that Ptil Techelet was only founded in 1993, so it would be unlikely that the Lubavitcher Rebbe addressed specifically.
    – Yishai
    Dec 2, 2015 at 23:14
  • @Yishai: True. But I believe the chemical process from the Murex Trunculus was being worked out in the late 1970's or early 1980's. Dec 3, 2015 at 5:58
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    @YaacovDeane Murex was first dyed blue for Tzitzit in 1988 (at least, for the first time in recent memory)
    – Double AA
    May 25, 2016 at 4:22
  • Do you wear techeles too? Jun 8, 2023 at 4:56
  • @GershomMenachem Absolutely, both on Talit gadol and Talit katan. Like the Rashab expressed, when we know the identity of techelet, it is something we should make the effort to do. There are benefits that can only be know from doing it. The tie is different for each (Talit gadol and Talit katan). From what I have learned on the subject, the Talit katan tie follows like is learned from Shlomo Molcho which is also the Minhag of the Jews of Morocco according to Rabbi Shalom Messas, z"l. It's not 39 total windings (like the Talit gadol), but 26 (10,5,6,5). Jun 8, 2023 at 13:31

The Lubavitcher Rebbe never saw nor was presented with any techelet coming from the Murex trunculus.

His letter from 1956 is only talking about the Rashab rejection of the cuttlefish as the source of the techelet. He basically defers to the opinion of the Rashab. But if you analyze the letter from the Rashab, he basically opposed it because the gedolei hador did not agree to this chiddush about the cuttlefish.

The Rashab mentioned some kabbalistic considerations based on the Alter Rebbe and the Arizal. The Arizal mentioned that there was no techelet in his time as there was no Temple, but this statement of the Arizal cannot mean that we can't have techelet if there is no Temple as we will see below.

The Alter Rebbe also clarified this point, and it is mentioned in the letter of the Rashab, by explaining that techelet is mochin d'Abba in Likkutei Torah, Sh'lach 12.8:

ולפי שתכלת מוחין דאבא ולבן מוחין דאימא לכן בזה הזמן אין תכלת לפי שלגודל מעלתו שהוא מבחי׳ אבא א״א לירד בזמן הגלות

This level is not able to descend from our mitzvot-related actions, but Hashem brings it down in other ways as mentioned in Birkeiy Yosef 8/4 in name of the Kabbalist Yaakov Tzemach.

So Techelet is the level of Mochin d’Abba, but this level is not completely closed off to be drawn down as seen in Likkutei Torah Tzav 6, Vayikra 2, Shmini Atzeret 3 et al. where it says that at specific periods of the year (Shabbat, Pesach, Simchat Torah) mochin d’Abba is drawn down. See the Arizal himself in Pri Etz Chaim, Shaar Pesach, and Tefillin regarding certain items that exist today that are also Mochin d’Abba like Rabbeinu Tam tefillin chametz, matza, or the last 2 cups of wine during the seder among others. Hence, we can see there are items that we use in our avodah from the level of mochin d'Abba that exist today despite the fact that galut may tamper with their spiritual accomplishments.

The Alter Rebbe and Arizal actually meant that the techelet of the time of the Mishna and Talmud after the chorban could not achieve that "drawing down" of spiritual energy due to the galut, but despite so all the Tannaim and Amoraim wore techelet even after the destruction of the temple as seen in the Talmud, so the Arizal and the Alter Rebbe simply cannot mean that techelet cannot exist if there is no Temple, because techelet existed when there was no Temple and the Tannaim and Amoraim wore it precisely when there was no temple!

The Rashab himself in that letter after discussing these topics said that all these kabbalistic issues do not void the mitzvah of techelet since:

דודאי המצוה היא מצוה תמידית וכשיש ביכולתינו לקיימה נראה שאנו צריכים לקיימה

“For certainly this mitzvah (of techelet) is an eternal mitzvah and when it is in our ability to fulfill it, it seems we need to fulfill it.”

Furthermore, the Lubavitcher Rebbe in that letter in the 1950s did not say that techelet had to wait until the times of Mashiach, but he said "l'atid lavo", future times, not necessarily Mashiach. In fact, the Lubavitcher Rebbe stated in Parshas Vayeishev in 1991 that the Avoda of refining the sparks has been completed, and the world is now ready for Moshiach’s coming. This is indeed a big zechut!

Interestingly, one year after this declaration Ptil Techelet went public and started to sell techelet but the Rebbe had a stroke soon after that left him very limited and ultimately led to his hillula.

So it seems that there is no need to wait until the actual coming of Mashiach to get techelet if we are zoche as it is mentioned in Likkutei Tefilot 1:49 of Breslov:

כִּי גָּלוּי וְיָדוּעַ לְפָנֶיךָ שֶׁרְצוֹנֵנוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ, וְאָנוּ חֲפֵצִים וּמִתְגַּעְגְּעִים לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת תְּכֵלֶת שֶׁבַּצִּיצִית, וְאִם הָיִינוּ זוֹכִים לִמְצֹא תְּכֵלֶת לְצִיצִית הָיִינוּ מְפַזְּרִים הוֹן רַב כְּדֵי לְקַיֵּם הַמִּצְוָה בִּשְׁלֵמוּת

Please see the deeper discussion of the opinion of the Rashab see the ביאור שיטת רבותינו בענין תכלת בזה"ז by the Chabad Shliach, Rabbi Isser Zalman Weisberg from Toronto, where more points are brought up along the same lines.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya and nice answer. It would improve your answer if you linked to the Alter Rebbe’s comment directly in Hebrewbooks.org. I have several sefarim from Yaacov Tzemach. Does the Birkeiy Yosef provide the actual page citation from Yaacov Tzemach? Would love to see it. Jan 17, 2023 at 11:58
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    Welcome to MiYodeya Gershom and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us and hope to see more of your knowledge!
    – mbloch
    Jan 18, 2023 at 4:21

I didn't find a reference to techelet in the online archive of the the Lubavitcher Rebbe writings but there are two references to Rabbi Sholom DovBer, the fifth Rebbe of Lubavitch, and the Arizal both writing that we will only know about the chilazon (who produces techelet) when Mashiah comes.

This must be why Chabad rabbis do not wear techelet.

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    But don't they believe Mashiah has come? :)
    – Double AA
    Dec 2, 2015 at 4:34
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    Did they write this before or after murex was found?
    – andrewmh20
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:05
  • The Arizal is of course very early (he died 1572), R Shalom Dovbeer Schneerson lived at the time of the discovery (1887) as he died in 1920. Not sure how much he knew of it, MiYodeia was not that active then
    – mbloch
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:12
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    @mbloch The Rashab was specifically addressing the subject of the blue used by Radzin. This was also the question directed to the Rebbe. May 25, 2016 at 17:05

The lubavitcher Rebbe indeed was never presented with Murex Tcheiles, and he only wrote regarding the Radziner's Tcheiles, which the Rebbe Rashab had written about. However the Rebbe basically said that we only have what the Rebbe Rashab wrote, reiterating that Tcheiles is irrelevant as per the AriZal's words, thus I think he would say likewise also to the Murex.

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