There are several different traditions regarding the tying of Tzitzit that divide as Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Yemenite. These traditions do not include the wearing of Tekhelet, for which there are different traditions laid down in Jewish Law. The most widely recognized tradition is the Ashkenazi tradition and below is a guide to tying and wrapping Tzitzit strings in accordance with Ashkenazi Jewish tradition. Ashkenazi tradition in regards to Tzitzit generally follows the Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, who was known as Rashi and is widely considered to be one of the greatest commentators on both the Written and Oral Laws. According to Rashi, the Tzitzit strings are tied with double knots that separate four groups of coiled string that include groups of 7, 8, 11 and 13 coilings. Chassidic Jews tend to follow the opinion of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria who is also known as the Arizal. However, because the opinion of Rashi is more widespread, that style of tying Tzitzit strings appears below:

Ashkenazi Tzitzit Tying and Knots Guide

Standard Ashkenazi

When you open a pack of Tzitzit strings, there will be four extra long strings and twelve short strings. Each set of strings should consists of a long string and three shorter strings. When slid through the holes in the corners of the Tzitzit, they double and become the eight strings that are required by Jewish law.

Take one long string and three of the shorter strings and slide them through the hole on the first corner. Make sure the three shorter strings are of equal length. It is important to make sure the strings are of an equal length to prevent confusion and accidentally using one of the shorter strings rather than the long string for wrapping the coilings around the Tzitzit.

Once the strings are equal, take the strings in to two groups of four and tie a double knot using all of the strings. Then take make sure the strings are still in two groups of four. Next, take the longest string and move it aside while you gather the remaining strings into groups of four and three strings. Take the long strand and wrap it around the remaining strings seven times while making sure to keep the strings in groups of two. Once you’ve reached seven, take all of the strings into two groups of four and tie another set of double knots.

Repeat the process above while making sure to wrap the long string eight, eleven and thirteen times around the small strings and separatin each set of coilings from the next with a set of double knots. When you are finished, the strings should look like the image below.

For a live tutorial, please click here.

Sephardic Tzitzit Tying and Knots Guide

Sephardic tradition has two distinct methods of tying Tzitzit strings – one based on the opinion of Rabbi Joseph Karo and the other following the ruling of Maimonides that is mostly followed by Yemenite Jews. However, the number of strings used to tie Tzitzit – four long strings that become eight when tied to the garment – as used in the Ashkenaz and Chabad traditions.

In terms of the knots and coiling, regular Sephardic tradition has double knots in between wrapped sections in groups of 10, 5, 6 and 5. There is an additional double knot set in between the first group and the Tzitzit garment itself. The reason for the number of coils is that the number of coils adds up to 26, which is the name numerical value as the four letter name of G-d. Yemenite tradition has thirteen groups of three coils that is then pulled through the strings to create an innovative knot. Below is a short guide to tying Sephardic Tzitzit.

Note: Sephardic Tzitzit Tradition is generally more complex to tie in comparison to the Ashkenazi tradition. We recommend consulting the videos below for a visual guide.

Standard Sephardic

The standard pack of Tzitzit strings includes four extra long strings and twelve short strings, which are then divided into four groups of one long string and three shorter strings. When pulled through the holes located at each corner of the Tzitzit, they double and become eight strings, which is the number stipulated by Jewish Law.

To begin tying, take the first group of strings and pull them through the hole you choose to work with first. Make sure that the three shorter strings – which are now six – are equal in length. The final string – the longer string that is known as the Shamash – should be same length as the short strings on one side. There should then be two groups of four strings.

The first step is to tie a double knot using all of the strings as if they were two cords. Once you’ve done this, keep the strings in a group of four strings and a group of three strings. Then take the long string and wrap it around the shorter strings and then bring it back underneath the wrapped coil. This will create a series of extra coils on each string. Repeat this process until you have reached 10 coils. Then add the long string to the small group of strings and tie a double knot.

Repeat the process above for each of the subsequent sections on the Tzitzit, but make sure to only coil in groups of five, six and five.

Yemenite

Yemenite strings make use of the same number of strings as used in other traditions. However, the method of tying is complex.

The first steps when tying Yemenite tradition Tzitzit is to create four groups of four strings, with one long string and three shorter strings. Then, similar to other traditions, take the first group and pull it half way through the hole on the corner of the Tzitzit to create eight strings with one much longer than the others that are the same length.

Take the long string and wrap it around the other strings three times and then pull it back through the coil. This will keep the strings in place and serves as a knot. Then coil two more times and then pull the string back through to lock those strings in place. Repeat this process 12 more times, wrapping three times and pulling the long string back through after each group to lock the coils in place.

For visual demonstrations by Machon Ptil Tehkelet, please click here, or a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl6acbK7kQ8">here.