This page is a compilation of material that has been voiced in opposition to the validity of Murex Techeiles. We have brought here the original words or recording and some of the responses that were given to that particular objection. For much more complete discussions of the issues, please see our publications page.
As with any “new” development in Halacha (although Techeiles is actually thousands of years old…), a strong debate brings the issues out to the forefront and brings everyone closer to reaching the core truth of the issue. We hope that this page will assist to that end.
Letters and Shiurim against Murex Techeiles and Responses
הגרי”ש אלישיב זצ”ל
Rav Elyashiv Zt”l wrote Teshuva in 1997 regarding Murex Techeiles. In the letter he clearly states that he was not informed of all the details (אנא לא ידענא), but nevertheless he mentions several reasons against wearing it.
- תשובת הרב יוסף שלום אלישיב זצ”ל
- Original handwritten response of Rav Elyashiv (same letter as previous)
All of the issues mentioned have been addressed in various publications subsequently published, please see our publications page.
הגר”ח קנייבסקי שליט”א
R’ Chaim Kanievsky Shlita has been asked by many about the status of Murex Techeiles. We have gathered here several of his responses. These responses seem to say that, in his opinion Techeiles cannot return until Moshiach arrives, but he felt that there is room for others to disagree. For those who feel this is the correct Techeiles, he has clearly ruled to them that they MUST wear it. (See video)
- Video of Rav Chaim Kanievsky ruling that one who is sure, MUST wear Techeiles.
- דעת הגר”ח שליט”א מתלמידו הגר”א מן
- ספר דעת נוטה
- תגובה לרב מלצר
- עוד תגובה
הרב שלמה מילר שליט”א
Harav Shlomo Miller Shlita disagrees that Murex Techeiles is valid Techeiles. Among other points, he argues that, in theory, the test described in the Gemara cannot work on this Techeiles.
The periodical “Halacha Berura” published a scathing attack against Murex Techeiles. Of note is that beneath the title it states: “Reviewed by Horav Shlomo Miller”, whereas nearly all previous and subsequent editions were reviewed by Harav Yisroel Belsky – a strong supporter of Murex Techeiles.
הרב ישראל רייזמן שליט”א
Rabbi Yisrael Reisman in his shiur raises several sources in Chazal that he argues are incongruent with Murex as the true source of Techeiles. Most notably, he understands that the area where Murex is found (off the coast of northern Eretz Yisrael) is not in Cheilek Zevulun.
Shiur #1 and #3 Shiurim are courtesy of YU Torah.
- A Response to Rabbi Reisman by Rav Aryeh Lebowitz
- תשובה להרב רייזמאן
- תשובה להרב רייזמאן – התכלת בתלמוד בבלי
Rabbi Reisman’s son Rabbi Eliyahu Simcha published a short article regarding the issue of Cheilek Zevulun:
הרב אשר וייס שליט”א
Harav Asher Weiss Shlita argues against Murex Techeiles. His arguments can be divided into 3 parts:
1. He believes that there is no halachic basis in the arguments presented by Murex supporters, and that all of their arguments are non-halachic in nature, and therefore do not even create a Safek.
2. Not even one of the statements of the Gemara and the Rambam fit with the murex, unless one stretches his imagination.
3. The Sifri, Midrash Rabba, Tanchuma, and Arizal, all clearly indicate that it is not possible for the use of techeiles to return until the days of Moshiach.
We present you with three responses to the above arguments:
Rabbi Binyomin Horowitz explains some of the primary halachic reasoning behind the candidacy of the Murex for techeiles.
Rabbi Chaim Klein in his point by point response, among other things, explains how all of the statements of the Gemara and the Rambam fit perfectly and simply with the Murex.
Rabbi Yisroel Barkin demonstrates that a careful reading of the Sifri, Midrashim, and Arizal shows that they do not imply at all that Techeiles cannot be brought back into use before Moshiach.
Publications against Murex Techeiles and Responses
בין תכלת לארגמן
In this קונטרס the author argues that Murex Techeiles is really ארגמן of the Torah and not תכלת. In the third edition he reverses his arguments…
Note to Reader: On the first page (of the third edition) there is an image of a snail that the author apparently thought was a Murex Trunculus. This is quite misleading, as it is in actuality a non-Mediterranean snail called Chicoreus ramosus that is not used for dyeing at all.
In this קונטרס the author Rabbi Eliezer Holl raises 11 arguments against the Murex and concludes that the true Chilazon is a fish that lives in the Kinneret and that the true color of techeiles is nearly black.
Shortly after the above pamphlet was published, a brief response was published in Bnei Brak:
Following the above response, Rabbi Holl published a single page summary of his original pamphlet as a counter-response:
In response to Rabbi Holl’s counter-response, a more detailed pamphlet was published to demonstrate how the תכלא דחלזון flies in the face of the facts, as well as the words of Chazal, Rishonim and Acharonim:
In addition to the above משא ומתן, several other responses were penned:
Although the following article is written in a humorous manner, it makes a serious point regarding the mistaken conclusions one can draw if one reads the words of Chazal at a surface level only: