There is a story in the gospels which describes a healing involving Jesus’ clothes. A woman, who suffered with a hemorrhage for twelve years, touched a fringe of Jesus’ garment in hope thinking, “’…if I only touch His garment, I will get well.’ But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well.” (Mat 9:21-22) Why is this woman’s healing tied to her faith and what is so special about the fringe of Jesus’ cloak?

Many Bible readers realize that she did not simply touch Yeshua’s clothes, she touched the κράσπεδον (kraspedon) “hem”, “edge”, “fringe” or “corner” of his garment. Torah describes this special part of Israelite clothing.  God instructed Moses, “…they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD… I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.” (Num. 15:38-41).

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This is the commandment of צִיצִית (tzitzit) “tassels” or “fringes” worn on four-cornered garments like a tallit. The purpose of such tassels is very specific – to remind Israel about their inseparable connection to God (i.e. to remind them about the covenant). The Hebrew word צִיצִית (tzitzit) is related to verb נָצָה (natzah) “to fly”. Another form of this same verb, הִצָּה (hitzah) means “to struggle”, “to strive”, or “to try really hard”.

In her encounter with Jesus, this daughter of Abraham grasped the fringe of Messiah’s garment in faith and struggle, leaping up to God and his anointed, trying as hard as she could to appeal to her connection with God, and trusting his covenant promises. She got hold of Jesus’ tzitzit and would not let it go. Her faith in God’s faithfulness and goodness turned out to be well justified.

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101 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps you could clarify….I think other gospel accounts refer to a robe that Christ had (and wore). Would there be fringes as a continuous border on the robe or 4 separate tzittzit as worn today on the “corners”

    • Yes, Mike. Num 15 commandment specifies 4 tassels on 4 corners. Anything beyond that (as some modern garments go) is a bonus.

  2. I learned about the Tzitzit about 20 years ago and it is refreshing to see this subject come up once again. I understand that the sea creatures that are used for coloring the Tzitzit are reproducing once again. Must be something in the knots on the Tzitzit. All Glory be to Hashem.

  3. I thought it showed her faith that He was the Messiah. According to Mal. 4:2, He would come “with healing in His wings (Strong’s number 3671).” The word for “borders” in Num. 15:38 is also number 3671.

  4. Thank you for this explanation of the tzitzit, the fringe of the tallit. It speaks to me that Yeshua was a travelling rabbi who always wore His tallit. One other aspect of this story that has always been intriguing is that Yeshua says, (Luke 8:46) “Someone touched Me. I know that power has gone out from Me.” Does that sentence indicate Yshua’s human-nature need for spiritual replenishment. We know He would retreat to quiet places to pray for hours, probably eschewing sleep. Is there any teaching about this “power” aspect of Yeshua’s miracles of healing?

  5. WOW. I have always just looked at it as an act of faith. The touching of the edges or tzitzit makes an interesting angle. This is making the scriptures come alive. Thanks

  6. I research the Tzitzit a few years ago. The color blue within the Tzitzit was made by a special dye and from my understanding of so many other things that were destroyed over 2100’s years ago. Yeshua’s soul was trained in the upper heavens before his earth mother gave birth to him down here on earth.

  7. when we, in the Netherlands, were liberated from German occupation, in 1945, I went in our rowing boat, to do my homework in a secluded spot. But half way there, something very powerful made me go to the side of the canal and go on land. Then I saw something unexplicable. I saw the edge of a cloak with tassels on it. Big, like a rainbow. It made a slight humming sound and moved slowly around. I started to sing in a strange languae and dance, with tears streaming down my face. I don’t know how long I was there

  8. I find it very interesting, that even to this day, in military garments the rank, or authority is on the hem of the garments, I have often wondered was the fringe on the talit maybe coloured in such a way to demonstrate his authority and power. thank you Prof. Pinchas Shir for this subject matter.

    • There is a possibility that the corners of talit functioned as a type of credit card when pressed against the mud in ancient stores since it is not possible to repeat the pattern exactly. So the power in this would be different than traditionally considered but I am not certain of this reconstruction it is just another interpretive option.

  9. JESUS WAS A PRIEST HIMSELF,MADE A PRIEST AFTER OF THE ORDER OF MELC. KING OF SALEM. SO THE FRINGE ON HIS GARMET HAD HEALING POWER . HE KNEW THE POWER HAD WENT OUT FROM HIM. WHO TOUCHED ME. HE HAD THE POWER OF ENDLESS LIFE. NOT AFTER THE CARNAL ORDINANCES BUT HEAVENLY, HE CAME FORM A TRIBE THAT THEIR WAS NO MENTION OF A PRIESTHOOD, HE CAME FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. HE IS OUR PRIEST AND SITS ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.

  10. After 12 long years of bondage this woman gets a hold of God’s promises and she fights and struggle with all her might to come out of her bondage. She realised that her deliverance was in touching just the hem of his garment…acknowledging his promises of being her God, her healer, her deliverer, her strong tower, her protector, her whatever she needed him to be. She stirred herself up by her own most holy faith and Jesus felt that faith and acknowledged it.

    • The Lord’s healing was, much like we are instructed, laying hand to heal the sick. The woman was unclean & wasn’t supposed to touch anyone yet she was in the crowd. I don’t think she was believer/follower afterward but she definitely showed everyone the way to salvation. Matt 11:12 makes sense if we see that there’s nothing passive about “receiving” salvation by grace through faith because the kingdom of heaven is entered into by vigorous & persistent act even after breaking from a bondage or a bond. Jacob wrestled w God & hold on asking “not until You bless me.”

  11. Does the word healing mean physical healing or salvation? Grabbing hold of the commandments represents both judgement and salvation to me.

  12. Just wondering: It never comes out and says the woman was Jewish, is it possible she wasn’t? Mark and Luke both make two points: 1) Jairus’ daughter (whom Jesus was on the way to heal) and this woman were at the point nobody else could help them (except God). 2) They both point out the connection of “12 years.” (Jairus’ daughter was 12, the woman had an blood issue 12 years). 12 is the symbol of God’s completed plan. Is it possible this was a foreshadowing of God’s plan to bring salvation to Jews AND Gentiles through Jesus?

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. Ten years ago my neighbors mother died.I went to the funeral service. When the service was over, he came to where I was standing. I put my arms around him and as I gave him a grandmotherly hug, Immediately I felt strength seep out of me so much that could hardly stand. Later that week he told me that he felt strength flow into him so much that he could get through that day without collapsing in a heap. He thanked me, but it was Jesus compassion 4 him.

  14. I understand about Virtue leaving the body for it has happened to me. In short, it is an essence of spiritual abode as being one with the Father, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit, Ruach Hakodesh. When it leaves it gives you the know that I know that I know that the purpose intended is accomplished. That is how Yeshua knew. It is like a wind or spark of fire that leaves momentarily and then comes back.

  15. Can you tell us anything about the garment Jesus wore that the soldiers didn’t divide because it was woven continuously throughout (without seam)? Thanks!

    • Yes, James. That was probably a tunic. In ancient days this kind of tunic was one solid piece of material, folded in half and then the selves were formed. A hole was cut for the head in the middle and trimmed for durability. It had an underarm seam on each side, but not parts that could be separated, so it could not be subdivided. The idea is minimal sewing and no parts that can come apart at the seams, thus durability. Not glamorous, but pragmatic.

  16. Sorry, but my bible does not specify which part of Jesus’ garment the woman touched. How could we just assume it was the fringe? Would appreciate your clarification. Thank you and shalom

    • Please re-read my second paragraph. This is an inference, of course. If I touched a corner of a rancher’s hat from Texas, what hat did I touch? A baseball hat, a top hat, a bowler? No most likely a cowboy hat. How do we now that? Simple – that is what the ranchers in Texas wear. Cowboys wear special hats and Jews have tzitzit on the hems of their garments. It is a fair inference.

      • It is also mention above that apart from the “one-piece” woven robe, “they divided his garments among them”. So apparently he was wearing more than just that robe. So is it not likely that he had another garment over the top that would carry the tassels ?

  17. Today in America in the Messianic groups the men are wearing Tztzit on the corners of there pants, they have no under garment with it’s own clips for the Tztzit, and the women are wearing them also. Can you tell me, should women be wearing them. When in Israel I never saw a woman wearing them.

    • Women should not be wearing them :-). Messianic congregations usually (though not always) should not be taken as an authority on how to do it.

    • Let me guess, Sharleen, these men are not Jewish! I am sorry but I do not know how to say this nicely. Many people do silly things out ignorance. I have seen people use a back of a screwdriver to hammer in nails. But that does not mean this how the screwdriver is intended to be used. You are right to look at Jews in Israel and notice how things are done. The law of tzitzit applies ONLY to Israelites and ONLY to four-cornered garments, not to t-shirts and certainly not to pants. 🙂 Just read the Bible.

  18. Where in scripture does it specify that women are not to wear them? I have some Messianic women friends who are wearing them. I am a Mesdianic Jewish woman but have not felt led to wear them. There is a Torah Observant group that I know but not Messianic Jewish and they were rather in distant about wearing them for men and women. Please clarify. Thanks and Shalom ooverecha

    • I am not sure where, but in Jewish tradition we don’t always go by what is written (I realize that this is not very protestant :-), but be it as it may).

    • Let me just say… that if you do that it would a terrible witness to your Jewish friends because they would CERTAINLY not take it well and find very strange (actually WIERD). So I don’t think it is a good idea from multiple considerations. Same goes for kippah. Even reform Jewish ladies that wear it (are looked upon very very strangely).

  19. It is not for sure that, as you say, the cord added to tzitzith is blue. As I remember in Hebrew it was tekheleth. There is dispute what color is it. After few thousands years that meaning of the Hebrew word was forgotten. Many suppose it would have been purple or violet.

    • Yes Rado, some people debate the exact depth and shade of the color. But Jewish tradition has preserved how the color was made and etc. We know the meaning and the content, the symbolism and how to make it too. How – well it’s not in the Bible, its tradition that is passed down. It did not disappear entirely.

  20. 1Sa 24:11 is another instance of hems and corners of robes used in english translation, but could have other meaning in hebrew understanding similar to the woman with issue of blood. David took Sauls authority tzitzi, but not his life.

  21. What is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word צִיצִית (tzitzit)? Does that correspond to the total number of the Law of Moses (613)?

    • Hebrew word צִיצִית (tzitzit) is 600. Six hundred, plus the five knots and the eight strands, equals 613, which is according to tradition is a number of the mitzvot in Torah.

  22. The dye used for the blue is a famous dye so it was not lost. The blue dye is from the murex shell. If you make the famous purple dye from the murex (native to Lebanon, they famous dyers of purple for Royal clothing.) and leave it in the sun it turns blue. Chemically it is exactly the same as indigo. Indigo comes from plants though and the rabbis in the Talmud were adamant that the murex dye be used and not the cheap substitute indigo. It is the same blue as on a Talit or the flag of Israel.

  23. Tzitzit is an edge, fringe, corner, to fly, wings. They are a reminder of HIS Commandments and that ‘You are MY Holy People’. This woman in her very low estate, in ‘hope for healing’, reaches out for the ‘wings’ of HIS garment, and received her miracle. Ruth gleaned in the ‘corners/wings’ of the field that were left for the poor, sick, etc ending up in the genealogies of Jesus. This woman KNEW if she could just get close enough to HIS wings (fringes/tzitzit) she would be whole! It happened! I love this Blog. Thank you.

  24. I have only just come to this site. This subject interested me because of my current study into the ‘power of the Most High’ referred to at the annunciation by Gabriel. The Logos and the ‘ruach’ were with the Father in the Godhead. When the Logos became flesh, the divine Spirit was part of His humanity. At His baptism, He was anointed by the Spirit, as John witnessed, ‘without measure.’ The power or ‘energy’ of the Spirit suffused His being and worked through His humanity to glorify the Father. Thank you

  25. Am enjoying the insights. Thank you so much for blessings us with these explanations. May God bless your work.

  26. The woman more than believed – she knew – that’s faith. Jesus “saw” her faith. Faith is more than hope and believing – its a knowing.

  27. Could you comment on the purpose of male chromosome deciding the sex of a child,not female chromosome. Also why should God create Male first then female in Genesis 2.

  28. Shalom. I remembered that a few years ago I was told that the fringe of His garments had 39 knots and makes up the name of God. Yeshuas was whipped 39 times. The scripture reads that by His stripes we are healed….

  29. I so enjoy the articles and the discussions..someday I hope to participate in the classes. Until then, thank you for allowing me to observe and learn from the side lines. Shalom

  30. You will have great delight reading the book ‘THE RAREST BLUE’ by
    Baruch Sterman.
    Totally thrilling….How the exact mollusk that makes the tekhelet was discovered after the knowledge being lost for so many centuries!

    This author is connected to the website
    Ptil Tekhelet in Jerusalem .
    The book is sold on this site but also on amazon. It is a book you can’t put down, like a mystery novel, but a true story!!
    I originally found this book while in Israel at the Temple Institute bookstore.
    Happy reading .

  31. The rest of the Numbers 15: 39 verse gives a more complete answer… not to follow after your own desires (nephesh)and your own eyes. Jesus was not so much Torah observant as Torah is Jesus observant. Now, when Jesus ascended from His baptism, He was anointed Messiah by God and attested to by the Bath Kol. At that time Jesus turned His back and His own desires (nephesh) and accepted the will of the Father at His own expense. So when the woman touched His tzitzit she wasn’t just touching the fringe of a rabi’s garment but the fringe of Messiah’s. I would not be to surprised if she knew Him or of Him when He was just a carpenter from Nazareth but believed on Him afterwards. The crowd who jostled Him was just after a celebrity. Her faith healed her.

  32. I apologize, professor for not being more clear. Please allow me to better state. Yes you are right, the word nephesh does not appear in that verse but it’s the foundational meaning of Heart and eyes in this verse. NFSH literally means “throat” and hence breath, life, appetite. In Yom Kippur you afflict your nephesh meaning appetite, that is you fast. In psalm 69:2…the waters have reached my throat (NFSH). In proverbs 23: 2-3- put a knife to your throat if you be a man given to appetites/desires (NFSH). With that in mind it’s evident to me that “following your heart or eyes” is talking of your appetites or desires hence nephesh. I did not make the connection clearly enough. I would love to study Hebrew with you. Next year I should have more time on hand to do so.

  33. The death of Messiah in the NT ended the Jewish system and its accompaniments. Thus Jesus fulfilled the law and its requirements (the soul that sins shall die) and all foods were declared eatable by all (Peter and Cornelius, Acts 10).

    • I disagree completely! Messiah did not come to end the covenant and deliver us from Torah! He came to deliver all people from slavery to sin and death. Fulfilling the law does not mean breaking it or canceling it. Read Mat 5. This is completely illogical. Listen to Yeshua’s own words!

  34. Ever since I heard the story of the woman touching Jesus’ garment – what i only know is just a common action of touching an ordinary garment accompanied by faith of healing… I am now so much enlightened on the significance of why it was the fringe of Jesus’ garment was touched by the woman and not any other parts. Thank you.

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Anna Gromova
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