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Melachot relating to spinning, weaving and dyeing

On Daf 73a, we learn about all of the steps for turning wool into garments and textiles (for the Tabernacle and the priestly garments).聽 聽Shearing, whitening, combing, dyeing, spinning, stretching the threads to warp a loom, setting the heddles, weaving two threads, severing two threads (or perhaps unweaving them), tying a knot, untying a knot, sewing two stitches with a needle and tearing fabric in order to sew two stitches.

讛址讙旨讜止讝值讝 讗侄转 讛址爪旨侄诪侄专, 讛址诪职诇址讘旨职谞讜止, 讜职讛址诪职谞址驻旨职爪讜止, 讜职讛址爪旨讜止讘职注讜止, 讜职讛址讟旨讜止讜侄讛, 讜职讛址诪旨值讬住值讱职, 讜职讛指注讜止砖讉侄讛 砖讈职转旨值讬 讘指转旨值讬 谞执讬专执讬谉, 讜职讛指讗讜止专值讙 砖讈职谞值讬 讞讜旨讟执讬谉, 讜职讛址驻旨讜止爪值注址 砖讈职谞值讬 讞讜旨讟执讬谉. 讛址拽旨讜止砖讈值专, 讜职讛址诪旨址转旨执讬专, 讜职讛址转旨讜止驻值专 砖讈职转旨值讬 转职驻执讬专讜止转, 讛址拽旨讜止专值注址 注址诇 诪职谞指转 诇执转职驻旨讜止专聽 砖讈职转旨值讬 转职驻执讬专讜止转

Believe me, it’s a lot of work!! We will also hear on daf 74b about the special skill that the “wise-hearted” Jewish women had for spinning wool while it was still on the animal!

On Daf 74b we are going to learn that the trappers of the murex snail (the Hilazon which is the source of Tekhelet) used to tie and untie their nets.聽 聽This is some interesting historical evidence of the role of Jewish trappers in the blue and purple dye industry!

Finally, on Daf 75, the rabbis discuss additional melachot of trapping and threshing which relate to the process of extracting the dye gland from the snail. This process has been recreated by the P’til Tekhelet organization.聽 I am attaching a video here that shows all of the steps of wool processing and techelet dyeing.

The second video is a quick view of the warping process so we can understand what it means to stretch the warp, and thread the heddles (loops) to create the opening that is required for weaving.聽 The Koren uses the word “meshes” instead of heddles.聽 Each time the weaver passes the horizontal thread through, she must switch the heddle to catch the opposite group of threads.聽 This is not the type of loom in use during the Talmudic period, but it shows how you must stretch and thread the strings onto the loom frame before weaving.聽 In my first post in this series you can see older types of looms.


Finally, a note about weaving for those who are new to it.聽 Here聽is a great image to demonstrate warp and weft.聽 Thank you wikipedia.


The warp (砖转讬) means the vertical threads. The weft or woof (注专讘) means the horizontal threads. There are many ways to weave. Sometimes the warp or weft will be hidden because one set of threads is larger than the other (as in a rug), but the warp and weft are always required for weaving.

Julie Mendelsohn

Julie Bloch Mendelsohn made aliyah with her family in 2009. Julie has a law degree, a Master of Public Health, has studied several foreign languages, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in archaeology. Julie dyes, spins, and weaves her own yarn and textiles. She loves to learn Daf Yomi and is interested in topics relating to Jewish law and ancient materials and crafts, ancient languages, and history.
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