The Association for the Promotion
and Distribution of Tekhelet
As high as the sky
Before Moshe's lone ascent to Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights, he ascended briefly with Aharon, Nadav, Avihu, and seventy Elders of Israel. Their spiritual episode is recorded as follows:
"And they saw the G-d of Israel: under His feet there was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity. (Exodus 24:10)"
Similarly, Ezekiel describes a complex vision (Ezekiel 1) in which, among other things, he sees a semblance of a throne in appearance like sapphire.
Tekhelet gains its religious significance by virtue of its color association with these sapphire visions. The Talmud (Sotah 17b) quotes Rabbi Meir as saying:
Why particularly Tekhelet [for the mitzvah of tzitzit] from among
all other colored materials? Because Tekhelet is similar to the sea,
and the sea is similar to the sky, and the sky is similar to the
As it says, "And they saw the G-d of Israel: under His
feet there was the likeness of a pavement of sapphire, like the
very sky for purity (Exodus 24:10)," and as it is written,
"in appearance like
sapphire stone was the semblance of a throne (Ezekiel 1:26)."