“And they shall make fringes for themselves!” (Bamidbar 15:38)
It is a positive commandment to attach fringes to the clothes which one wears, as it says “And they shall make fringes for themselves, the corner a thread of turquoise!”. This obligation applies to a piece of clothing which has four or more corners, as it says “On the four corners of your garment”, and this includes even if it has four or more corners. The obligation to attach fringes is only when the garment is big enough to cover the head and most of the body of a child who is ix or seven years old. This is a biblical obligation when the garment is made of sheep wool or linen, as the regular garment mentioned in the Torah is made from sheep wool or linen. Rabinically there is an obligation even if the garment is made of other fabrics, such as rabbit wool or silk etc.
The root of the commandment is mentioned explicitly in the verse, which is so that we will remember consyantky all of th commandments of Hashem. There is nothing in the world better for the memory than this; when a person constantky bears the seal of is Master fixed into his clothing, and his eyes and heart are on it all day. Chazal said that the word “Tzitzis” alludes to the six hundred and thirteen commandments, as the numerical value of the word is six hundred, and when one adds the eight strings and five knots that makes six hundred and thirteen.
Amongst the laws of the commandment are that even if one has a garment with five corners or more, one fixes only four fringes to it, on the four corners with the most distance between them. They said further that the four fringes are one commandment, and there is no point to put only two or three. They said further that the turquoise does not disturb the white and if one does not have the correct turquoise dye one can still fulfil the commandment with white fringes.
The color of turquoise which we have been commanded to attach to the fringes is a color similar to the pure sky. It is manufactured from the blood of a fish called the “Chilazon” and the color is similar to that of the sea and one uses it to dye the wool. It is already many long days since we heard of some member of Klal Yisrael who had turquoise on his fringes. One must spin and dye the wool with the intention of using it to fulfil the commandment. If a non-Jew spun the wool, it is invalid, as it says “Speak to the children of Yisrael and they will make…”. If a Jew made them without the correct intention, one may still use them.
If one owns a four-cornered garment, one is not obligated to attach fringes to it when not wearing it. The obligation is only to attach fringes to the garment that he wears, but not on a garment left in the cupboard.
You must know that even though biblically the obligation is only if one happens to be wearing a four-cornered garment, and if a person wants he could manage not to wear such a garment and thereby exempt himself from this obligation, nevertheless Chazal waned us strongly about this commandment and said that it is correct to seek after the performance of this commandment and that one who is careful about it will merit in the next world that many servants serve him, as the verse says that all the other commandments are dependent on it, as it says “And you shall see it and remember all of the commandments of Hashem!”
This commandment applies in all places and at all times, to men but not to women. One who wears a four-cornered garment of wool or linen without fringes, has transgressed this commandment. If it is made of another material, he has transgressed a rabbinical commandment.