di tzitzitציצית – tzitzit, the fringe of knotted blue threads on the four corners of a tallit, as taught by Moses on Mount Sinai, described in Bamidbar 15:38.

The Gemara on Menahot 39 discusses the laws of tzitzit. The standard method of tying tzitzit today is to take four strings, placing them through the hole at the bottom of each corner of the four-cornered garment so that they are eight strands, with one strand longer than the rest. Five knots are made, with the longer strand twisted around the rest between each of the knots, as pictured here.

Rashi suggests that the kesher elyon – the “top knot” – actually refers to the knot at the bottom of the series of knots and twists, which is the “top knot” in comparison to the strings that descend from it.

This image was taken from the Hebrew edition of the Steinsaltz Talmud, Tractate Menahot, page 167.

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