The Tying of the Threads of a Prayer Shawl
(Note: The tying method below is not the one used for prayer shawls with a genuine blue thread included in the corner threads. They are tied differently. If anyone has any questions or difficulties with the unraveling or untying of these corner threads, or wants to know about the method of tying, they can contact me, Marilyn Jackler, through the Israelcraft website. Anyone who has bought a prayer shawl with the genuine blue threads from Israelcraft also receives information that includes the address of the manufacturer, who can give the best information on them.)
The white threads come in sets of 12 strings about 2 feet long, and 4 strings about 3 feet long. These will suffice for the four corners of one prayer shawl. They must be divided into four sets, one for each corner, each with three shorter strings and one longer string.
The longer string is the one you wrap around the others.
Even up the strings at one end and put them through the buttonhole in the center of the corner of the prayer shawl.
Double the four strands in half. You should be left with seven even strings and one long one.
1. Tie a double knot using all the strings.
2. Wrap the long strand around the other seven strands seven times.
3. Tie a double knot using all the strings.
4. Wrap the long strand around the other seven strands eight times.
5. Tie another double knot using all the strings.
6. Wrap the long strand around the other seven strands eleven times.
7. Tie another double knot using all the strings.
8. Wrap the long strand around the other seven strands thirteen times.
9. Make another double knot using all the strings.
There are Rabbinic reasons for every knot and twist.
The first two sets of windings (seven plus eight) equal fifteen. The third set of windings is eleven. Together they come to twenty-six.
Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value (aleph is one, bet is two, etc.). The number twenty-six is equal to the Hebrew letters YOD HAY VAV HAY. These letters form the Name of God.
Now the final thirteen wrappings (the last set) equals the Hebrew letters Alef Chet Dalet.
These make the Hebrew word "Echad," "One". So, whenever you look at the threads, you are reminded of "Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is one".
Also, the number value for the Hebrew letters of the word for fringes is : 400 10 90 10 90. Together, 600. In each fringe, there are eight threads plus five double knots.
Thus, whenever you look at the corner threads, you see 600 plus eight, plus five, which equals 613, which is the number of commandments. So every time you look at the corner threads, you see a reminder of all of the commandments.