Dr. Baruch Sterman

A new 4 part mini-series called “True Blue: The Story of Tekhelet” will be launching at on March 20, 2016.

This free course is geared towards the entire family and can be accessed by registering here.

The following is a Q&A session with the instructor, Ptil Tekhelet co-founder Dr Baruch Sterman, who touched on a few points about the course and Tekhelet itself.


Why is Tekhelet a family experience?

The story of Tekhelet touches on many diverse topics, from Torah to Biology to History to Chemistry, Halacha and even Art. There is something for everyone, for young and old alike. It is also the story of an ancient tradition, lost and rediscovered – and this is something that should be learned and discussed in the context of a family, to get the perspective of different generations.


What does the reemergence of tekhelet mean for the Jewish People?

True Blue Story of TekheletThe mitzvah of tzitzit – mentioned in the Shema that we recite every day – cannot be fulfilled properly without Tekhelet. As such, the rediscovery of the authentic blue dye is of very great halachic import. Beyond that, Tekhelet was the most important commodity in Ancient Israel, and it was lost when the Jews were forced out of their land. For centuries Jews refused to accept any imitation, instead always yearning for the authentic mitzvah – just as they never called any other land their home. Tekhelet has been rediscovered again in a time when Jews have regained their sovereignty in their land – and it is no coincidence that the flag of Israel is modeled after the Tekhelet and White of the Tallit.




Will students learn how to make their own/dye their own?

tekheletseashellWe will discuss the production of Tekhelet in great detail including the chemistry of the dyeing so that everyone can understand the process from beginning to end. Students have the option of purchasing an at home dye kit which includes everything needed to dye a small sample of wool. The kit will allow students to work at home along with the instructor online and they will be able to actually see, feel, (and smell!) authentic Tekhelet.


What’s the association between Tekhelet and royalty (royal blue/purple)? 

tekhelet backgroundIn ancient times dyes were rare and highly prized, but none more than Tekhelet and Argamman (blue and purple). Tekhelet was a fabulously expensive dye-fabric (at one time worth up to twenty times its weight in gold!), worn by kings, emperors and generals throughout the ancient Mediterranean world –from Greece to Persia. To the Jews, Tekhelet had additional significance as it was part of the Kohen Gadol’s magnificent garments and adorned the Mishkan. Every Jew was commanded to wear one string of Tekhelet to remind us that we are a
Mamlechet Kohanim – a kingdom of Priests.


What can people expect from this course?

tekhelet petilThe course will offer a comprehensive treatment of this beautiful and unique mitzvah, and will be accompanied by Torah and historical sources as well as pictures and videos. It will explore the history of Tekhelet, its loss and rediscovery, the chemistry of dyeing, and many of the halachic ramifications of reinstituting a lost mitzvah. We will also discuss the philosophical, religious, and spiritual meanings that various Rabbis throughout the generations saw in the Mitzvah of Tekhelet.

Comments are closed.