How do we know that for a fact? Because the Gemara actually tells a story that Jews were killed, that Jews were attacked by Roman soldiers for wearing tekhelet.
Do you know that for a period of about 100 years, there were all of these edicts, Roman edicts, that you were put to death if you were caught wearing the Roman purple color? It’s obvious to us now.
The question is why don’t we [wear tekhelet]? That’s the real question.
So there are many reasons. One reason is people are ignorant, meaning how many Haredi guys can digest this information? It’s a language that doesn’t speak to them. That’s number one.
Number two, even the ones that aren’t ignorant which is a great proportion of Haredi leaders, they’re hesitant. There is chadash assur min haTorah. Which is not real either and they also know that it’s not real because they allow you to eat machine matzoh. With the exception of a few extremists.
I think the smart thing to say, and this is what I always feel, is that halacha is slow-moving and it’s very healthy. If halacha flip-flopped every time there was some new tschachke, halacha wouldn’t be resilient. Halacha would be gone. And halacha, like any legal system, but particularly the halachic legal system, for it to be healthy, has to move slowly.
V: But it’s a mitzvah to wear tekhelet?
Ari Greenspan: So yes. There are those who say—the Baal Hameor, who is a rishon—he appears in the Gemara—says that if tekhelet exists, you are forbidden to wear your white tzistzis if you don’t put it on! Rav Herschel Shachter invokes safek d’orayta l’chumra. What does that mean? It means that if you have a doubt on any sort of Torah commandment, you have to be machmir.
How does it work? You have a safek on Shabbos whether you’re allowed to do it or not allowed to do it? You’re machmir: you don’t do it.
When it comes to a mitzvat aseh,what do you do? You have your lulav and esrog, you have your aravos, but you’re not sure if your hadassim are kosher. Okay, so you do the mitzvah, you don’t make a bracha, you don’t say shem Hashem. That’s being machmir in a positive way.
So Rav Shachter says it’s a mitzvat aseh d’orayta. It’s a safek d’orayta. Why not do it? There’s no downside. What’s the worst case scenario? You wore colored strings. You’re allowed to wear colored strings. What’s the downside? Nothing.
Your son is a tankist and he’s wearing his tzistzis, okay? And he happens to be cleaning the tank and they dip in oil and they’re black. He doesn’t make a bracha on them? Of course he does. Okay. Should they be black? Should they be white?
Okay, so the medieval sources talk about tzistzis being white. Yafeh. But everybody understands that tzistzis are gray most of the time. If you look at them. If you really want to look at them, okay?
What happens if you’re wearing your tzistzis or your tallis, you’re wearing a brand new coat and you go in the rain and your coat drips and your tzistzis become brown, red, green? You’re allowed to wear colored tzistzis. And the minhag is not to, ein hachinami, and so therefore Rav Shachter says, if there’s a reasonable doubt, that this is the real thing. And he feels it’s a very reasonable doubt. Even the people who are against it, it’s very hard to say that there isn’t a reasonable doubt: therefore one has an obligation to wear it.
V: I was watching the clip about extracting the dye from the snail. Isn’t it tzaar baalei chayim to kill the snail in this way?