The True Techeiles

  1. The Identification of the Chilazon by Chavot Yair and the Author of Shiltei Hagiborim
  2. On What is the Identification Based
  3. The Use of the Language of the Gentiles in Halacha
  4. The Position of Rabbi Herzog
  5. The Color of the “Blood” of the Chilazon
  6. Does the Chilazon Have a Shell? Should We Define the Chilazon as a Worm or a Fish?
  7. Is it Possible to Press the Chilazon With Your Hands Until Its Blood Comes Out?
  8. Miphkad Pakid – Stored Blood
  9. The Capture of the Chilazon
  10. Is the Chilazon Found Also In the Kinneret?
  11. It Goes Up Once Every 70 Years
  12. Its Body Resembles The Sea
  13. Sources in the Talmud, Rishonim and Achronim on the Subject of the Test for Tekhelet
  14. What is Kala Ilan?
  15. The Tests For Tekhelet That I Made
  16. Renewing an Object of a Mitzva Without Tradition
  17. The “Damage” of Putting On Wrongly Identified Tekhelet
  18. If Other Generations Didn’t Merit to Have Tekhelet What is Different About Our Generation Than Other Generations?
  19. The Shade of Tekhelet That is Kosher According to Everyone
  20. The Viewpoint of the Vilna Gaon On The Subject of the Number of Tekhelet Strings That One Should Put On
  21. A Discussion of the Viewpoint of the Rosh on Tying Tzitzit With Tekhelet
  22. Is There An Obligation Not to Change The Tying Method Used For Tzitzit That Lack Tekhelet?
  23. There are Those That Oppose the Renewal of Tekhelet Because Tekhelet is in the state or status of “Nignaz”.
  24. Is One Allowed to Add Dye Chemicals to the Blood of the Chilazon?

Clarification: I am not able to bring this article to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.  But I can say that a Number of Rabbis That Saw My Words Were Convinced.

A Solution to Fundamental Problems Regarding Tekhelet
by Shlomo Moshe Scheinman

1] The strongest proof that the Trunculus mollusc [called in modern Hebrew, Argamoan Khei HaKotzim, and in ancient times the Purpur fish] is a kosher source for Tekhelet comes from Chavot Yair.
{In the past the scientific name for this mollusc was Murex Trunculus, but a leading scientist told me that the name Murex has now been dropped}
In Makor Chaim written by the author of Chavot Yair in Hilchot , Tzitzit Siman 18 the following is written: “in my innovations, I wrote that the blood of the Chilazon which is used to produce the Tekhelet dye, is not blue, just the purpur dye which is made from the blood of the Purpur fish”.
[Comment: Given the lack of clear vowel signs in the Hebrew text, it is theoretically possible to substitute the first u in Purpur with o and the second u in Purpur with any of the vowels of the alphabet, and it is even possible to substitute the “p” in Purpur with a “ph” sound, but based on the context, it seems that Makor Chaim is referring to Purpur. Furthermore, in order to prevent a misimpression, I stress, the “blood” {the dye material} of the Trunculus Mollusc in reality is not blue but rather Purpur, just the results of the dyeing process is Tekhelet. Now see also the solutions obtained from Argamoan Khei HaKotzim {Trunculus} in Rabbi Menachem Burshtein’s book on Tekhelet after page 304 in order to understand well that there isn’t a difference of opinion between Rambam {Maimonides} and the author of Chavot Yair.]

As a second “witness” for identification, (which I found through the book Lulaot   Tekhelet of Shlomo Teitelbaum) is Rabbi Avraham the Doctor, Portalioni, in his book  Shiltei Giborim { that was printed in Mantoba in the Hebrew year 5372 or ~1612 according to the secular calendar} who wrote in the section, Matters of the Mikdash, chapter 79:

And this word Blatta has two meanings in accordance to the difference in languages, for in Latin, it has the meaning of a moth that eats a garment while in Greek, it means a crawling sea creature, that is called Purpura and this is the Chilazon {mollusc} by which one dyes Tekhelet.

Now one should add, that a non-Jewish researcher Diane C. Bonacci claims, “a standard purple was unknown to the ancient world. It simply meant any shade of dye that could be extracted from certain shellfish, notably the murex and buccinum” {comment: since the trunculus molluscs yields both a blue and purple dye, this includes Trunculus}. “Greeks called all such shellfish porphyry, or purpura in Latin”. In her opinion, “the root of  porphyry means to mix, to knead, or to stir violently”. Separately, as I will note later on, also Rabbi Tevger claimed that in our days, the Greeks call the Trunculus Mollusc by the name Purpiras. {Translator’s note, since I am transliterating the Hebrew version of the Greek word, it may be slightly different, than a direct Greek to English transliteration}
To make peace among the different sources, it would appear that we will have to say that in Greek the Chilazon of Tekhelet was called by a number of different names, precisely like in our times there are those that call the Chilazon mollusc, Argamoan Khei HaKotzim, and there are those that call it Trunculus, and there are those that call it murex, etc. and all of them mean the same thing.
Now one should note, that in my humble opinion (and so too, have I understood from Rabbi Tevger) that theoretically, all the molluscs that bear the names of the Purpur fish or Purpura, that are capable of giving us the fluid for the dyeing of Tekhelet and that withstand the Tekhelet tests {of Tractate Menachot} are kosher, for use in the mitzva.
But from various signs, it is reasonable to say that the main source for Tekhelet was the Trunculus mollusc.

2 Possible Sources For the Rulings of the Author of Chavot Yair and Shiltei Giborim

    Before I, G-d willing, will try to prove based on accepted methods in Halacha that the Trunculus Mollusc = the Chilazon of Tekhelet [ in the past scientists called this mollusc Murex Trunculus, but in our days they have dropped the word Murex from the mollusc’s name ], I will mention first an introduction from Rabbi Menachem Burshtein’s book, HaTekhelet page 248. Rabbi Burshtein brought a letter of the Roman, Gaius Plinius or, to use his English name, Pliny (who lived between year 23 to 79 on the secular calendar) who makes the following summary:
“The Tyrians sold their purple cloths according to their weight in silver. They extracted from the mollusc 14 shades of color, that were defined as being black as sparkling ink to purple and to red and between them  ranging from bright pink  and a sparking bluish color.
“For they would differentiate among the colors produced by the molluscs, especially, the  red dyes derived from the pupur mollusc and the purple dyes derived from the purpur mollusc (Violacae Purpura). However the two species both had different color and shades. The red dye of the purpur mollusc came from the mollusc that the Romans called purpura pelagia. The second dye, hyacinth is from the mollusc that hangs upon rocks and promontories {alternately translated as caverns}, which is called in Roman the horn or trumpet mollusc…The shells of both of them are

משרגות וככליריות[translators note: unable to translate term]

the latter mollusc is more ball shaped and the first is more sharply pointed.
It comes out from this that also Argaman was produced by a mollusc and not just Tekhelet.
And so too did Rabbi Herzog establish that Murex Brandaris (one of the types of Purpur molluscs) produces the Argaman dye. [And see also the words of Rabbi Kalisher in Drishat Tzion, page 137, and Kupat Harochlim by the author of Tifferet Yisrael].
Also in holy sources the word Purpur is linked to Argaman and Tekhelet.
For example, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in his commentary to the Torah called The Living Torah, [edition of Jewish year 5745] on Exodus 24:4 deduced from the words of Raavia to Brachot 3b and from Mussaf HaArukh, Erech: Purpura – that the Chilazon had to be one of the types of Purpura Molluscs.
He established that the Septuagint’s translation of the Torah into Greek sometimes translates the word for Tekhelet as oloporphorus, which reveals in the opinion of Rabbi Kaplan that it was produced from a Purpura mollusc.
Rabbi Kaplan continues on by stating, that the Septuagint translation of the Bible translates the word for Argaman into Greek by the name porphura or porporeus.
Rabbi Kaplan established there also, that the word Porphura is not just the name of the dye in Greek but is also the name of the Purpura mollusc that is  called in our days in English, by the name, Murex.
I also asked an expert on History and Greek, Professor Daniel Schwartz [a religious man] what is the definition of the phrase olo, which comes as a prefix to the word, porphorus, in the Septuagint’s translation for the word Tekhelet.
He responded that to be more precise the prefix is holo and not olo, and that the implication of this prefix, is- “entirely” -.That is to say, entirely from the porporeus dye.
According to his investigation of the word holoporphorus, which appears twice in the Septuagint, it appears, once as the translation of Tekhelet to Numbers 4:7 and once  for Numbers 4:13 as the translation of the word Argaman. Usually, the word Tekhelet is translated to the word hawakinthos, which is the source for the modern English word, hyacinth which is blue-purple.
[Professor Shwartz also established that Josephus, the historian who lived at the end of the Second Temple period, used the word hawakinthos to describe the color blue or to describe some precious gem.]
Afterwards I heard from Rabbi Menachem Slei, Shlit”a, that the great Poskim [those responsible for deciding Jewish Law] tend not to rely sufficiently upon the text of the Septuagint that is in our hands, to base upon it the Halacha {Jewish Law}. And I admit, that it is not clear to me if even we can rely a little bit on the Septuagint.
Therefore I will bring a proof from a more reliable source.
However, I should first note, that I found in the responsa of Sridei Eish, section 3, Siman 30 that he honorably relates to the position of the Septuagint and here is a translated quote:

“In the first chapter, we have proven that according to the sages the word, U’pharah is to be defined as the revealing of the head. Now also Unkelos, who kept to the tradition in his translation, translated this verse: and they shall reveal the head of the woman and so too other Hebrew translations. And so too other translations, such as, the Septuagint and the Peshitata translated this word with the connotation of revealing the hair of her head”.

And now to return to our subject, in the words of Esther Rabba (Vilna) Parsha 10:12 it is implied that the word Purpura is linked also to the concept of Tekhelet and also to Argaman (or at the   very least to Tekhelet)

“Now Mordechai went out from before the king in a royal wardrobe [Tekhelet and Chur, a large gold crown, a fine linen shawl and Argaman]: Rabbi Pinchas says, Mordechai ruled over the Jews, just as a king wears Pupurin, so too did Mordechai wear Purpurin, just as a king makes a crown to fit his entire head so too did Mordechai wear a large gold crown”.

And even though one can claim that not every garment of Purpurin has to be of Tekhelet or Argaman. And just by chance was the Purpurin of Mordechai of such material, it does not seem to me to be the case based on the words of Ramban to Exodus 28:2 which I will quote:

“Now the Ephod and the breastplate were royal garments, in accordance with the matter that is written: “and the chain of gold upon your neck” (Daniel 5:16)…
and it is written (Daniel 5:16) “and Argaman you shall wear and a chain of gold upon your neck”. Now Tekhelet even today no man will lift up his hand to wear it except for a Gentile King, and it is written (Esther 8,15) “Now Mordechai went out from before the king in a royal wardrobe Tekhelet and Chur, a large gold crown, a fine linen   shawl and Argaman and the shawl is the coat that he covers himself with”.

[From here it is implied that the Tekhelet of the Gentiles and the Tekhelet of Jews are the same, and this goes against Rabbi Herzog’s viewpoint.]
In light of all of what is stated above, after Rabbi Tevger established that even today the Trunculus mollusc is called Purpiras,  without any link to the dye, for they don’t know that it is possible to extract a dye from it; there is a high probability that this mollusc is the mollusc from the Purpura family from which they made Tekhelet in the past.
Also the word, “Yakinton” a word, according to Arukh’s commentary, which Akilas the convert used to translate the word Tekhelet,  seems to be linguistically related to the word, hawakinthos of the Septuagint and thereby creates another link between Purpur, Murex Trunculus, and the Chilazon of Tekhelet.

3] Proofs That It is Possible Based on the Modern Definition of Words in Gentile Languages, to Also Define What Was the Definition of the Word Hundreds of Years Ago

I searched for proofs that it is possible based on the modern definitions of words in Gentile Languages, to also define what the word meant hundreds of years ago (for example, the word Purpur). And it has the equivalent of a legal presumption {until proven to the  contrary} that the meaning of the word hasn’t changed in the course of generations.
1] Rabbi Herzog [his words are brought in Rabbi Burshtein’s book on Tekhelet] attempted to identify both Indigo and the color of Indigo, [which is the definition for Kala Ilan according to the Arukh’s commentary], based on the modern definitions of the Gentiles for Indigo. [However, in truth I saw that Rabbi Yisrael Ariel argued against Rabbi Herzog on this point and in his opinion the Indigo of our times can not teach us anything about the Indigo of the Arukh. And therefore in his opinion we can’t prove from Indigo what is the color of Tekhelet.]
2] In Sanhedrin page 4 and in Rashi’s commentary to Exodus 13:16, Rabbi Akiva established that there are 4 compartments in the Tefillin {phylacteries} worn on the head {Totafoth [or Totafot depending on how you pronounce the letter ת ] in Biblical Hebrew}, because “Tot in a Caspian dialect denotes two and Foth or Poth in Africa denotes two”. Behold Rabbi Akiva relied upon the language of the Gentiles in order to explain a word that is written in the Torah centuries before his time.
Now perhaps, here too, there is no proof, for perhaps Rabbi Akiva didn’t rely at all on the languages of the Gentiles in his days, rather he had a tradition that at the time of Moshe {Moses} that such was how the Caspians and the Africans called the word two. However, according to this, it is a little more difficult to understand why Rabbi Yishmael argues against Rabbi Akiva, there in tractate Sanhedrin over the source of the law that the Tefillin placed on the head must contain 4 compartments.
And I saw a bit of a proof in the commentary of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan on the Torah (Exodus 13:16) [The Living Torah] that Rabbi Akiva did not receive an actual tradition on this matter. For according to Rabbi Kaplan, “significantly in ancient Egyptian, ftu or fot means four, while tot can denote a gathering, , resemblance, divine or hard leather. Hence, totafoth may have had the connotation of a fourfold amulet, made of leather, as the Tefillin indeed are”. This being the case Rabbi Akiva should have used as proof from the Egyptian language to define, Totafoth since this was the language that the majority of Israel recognized at the time of the giving of the Torah; and he should not have used a proof from a combination of an African language and a Caspian language. Now if Rabbi Akiva nevertheless left aside the Egyptian language and used the Caspian and African language, it is implied because in his days, specifically these words were still in use and he used a proof from the languages of the Caspians and Africans of his days.
Now one should add that there was someone who commented on the matter of Totafoth that perhaps there is no contradiction between the explanation of the ancient Egyptian language and the explanation of Rabbi Akiva. That perhaps African and Caspian are two synonyms for the ancient Egyptian language.
Now one can answer back that at least according to Tosafot to Sanhedrin 4b it is written that Caspian and African are two languages (and not one language). Although perhaps the person who raised the issue holds like Shita Mikubetzet to Menachot 34b, see there.
3] Many times in Rashi’s commentary on the Torah, Rashi compares a foreign word to  a word in the Torah and he establishes that the explanation of the Torah word is similar to the word in a foreign language. Now Rashi does this, even though there is a possibility that the meaning of the word in foreign language might have changed since the time of the giving of the Torah until the days of Rashi..
Here are some examples:

The Torah WordLocation of the Word in the TextForeign Language Used by Rashi To Define the Word
אלוןGenesis 35:8Greek
חרטמיGenesis 41:8Aramaic
צנמותGenesis 41:23Aramaic
אברךGenesis 41:43Aramaic
מכרתיהםGenesis 49:5Greek
נאExodus 12:9Arabic
טמאNumbers 5:2Aramaic
שנירDeuteronomy 3:9Ashkenaz {German} and Canaanite
תתעמרDeuteronomy 21:14Persian
חמרDeuteronomy 32:14Aramaic

4] In Mishnat Shviit of Rabbi Yosef Leiberman, pages 112,113 a dispute,  is brought what is the position of Rabbi Saadia Gaon concerning the southern border of the land of Israel. And it seems to me that both sides were willing to rely on the Arabic language of their times to reveal what was the intention of Rabbi Saadia Gaon. Now here’s a translated quote:

Now what was written in the book, Eretz Yisrael (page 35) that Eilat is within the boundary of those that ascended from Egypt, based on what Rabbi Saadia Gaon translated for the Biblical name Maalay Akrabim as “Akaba-Akrabin”, and he wished to say that he meant Akaba which is by Eilat, his words are contradicted by the words of Tvuot Haaretz (page 25) who wrote that the intent of Rabbi Saadia Gaon was to the Maalay Akrabim in the valley of Algor (the Arava, located between the Dead Sea until Eilat) which is called in its entirety, Al Akaba on account of the Akaba city in the south, see there. Also the book Hamaaser V’Hatruma (chapter 5, page 43) makes a good critique of his viewpoint and also in his short article, “The Land By Its Boundaries”.

Later in his book, it appears to me that Rabbi  Leiberman also informs us that halachic researchers relied on modern Arabic to reveal the intent of Rabbi Saadia Gaon in his commentary to Parshat Masei; when the Gaon translated the river (or stream) of Egypt as “Wadi-El-Arish Mahser”.

5] In the Midot Vi’shiurei Torah, by Rabbi Chaim Beinish, page 69 we learn that

“the weight of the Derham which Rabbi Chaim Naeh used was the Turkish Derham that was in circulation in his days in the land of Israel, whose weight is 3.2 grams or to be more precise 3.205 grams. Based on his weighing it turns out that the weight of a “Riviit”, measurement of water according to the Rambam is 27 Derhams which is 86.4 grams, and it turns out according to the calculation based on the cubic measurements for a “Riviit” (10.8 cubic, etzbaot or fingers) that the etzba {finger measurement} of the Rambam was 2 centimeters.
See the next section in which he offers evidence that weight of the Derham has not changed since the days of Rambam. However, one should comment that even though in principle, Rabbi Chaim Naeh was correct, for major changes didn’t take place in the weight of the Derham coin, nevertheless it has been clarified to us that the Derham of the Gaonim and the Rambam was smaller than the Derham mentioned previously by 7 to 12 % and their weight ranged from 2.83 grams to 2.97 grams. See later, in chapter 30 sections 5,6, that if so the Riviit is 74-76 grams and the thumb measurement is 1.9 to 1.91 centimeters”

I do not know if for Halacha we accept the author’s words that the Derham slightly changed, but what is important to me, is the fact that Rabbi Chaim Naeh. was indeed willing to rely on what the Gentiles called in his days, Derham, as a method of revealing what was the Derham of the Rambam.
For the sake of truth, I will admit that there were additional reasons in accordance to what was brought in the book Midot Vi’shiurei Torah, by which Rabbi Chaim Naeh established the size of the halachic “Beitza” and “Riviit” . See the book for details.

6] I found two instances, where the Chafetz Chaim used terms in Gentile Languages to understand what our Rabbis had ruled for halacha. On Shulchan Aruch, O.C., siman 216, section 3, the Shulchan Aruch states that the blessing we make on 

“Or Hindi”עור הינדי

is a blessing over the fragrance for a spice tree, “Borei Atzei Bsamim”. Mishna Brura {written by the Chafetz Chaim} comments there, that “Or Hindi” is a printing mistake and the text should state

“Ode Hindi”עוד הינדי

There the Chafetz Chaim adds that Ode is a tree or wood in Arabic and Hindi is the land of India where it grows.
Similarly, in Be’ur Halacha, siman 302, with the section starting with the word “Mutar”, the Chafetz Chaim uses Greek and Roman Languages, to define an object, that teaches us that sometimes ironing or heating an object on the Sabbath can be considered a forbidden act of cleaning on the Sabbath, {which makes one liable for a sacrifice or the death penalty} if this is the standard method used to clean that object.
7] In the Responsa of Chatam Sofer, Section 1 (O.C.), Siman 3, Chatam Sofer brings a dispute by major Rabbis over the definition of “Dochsustus” and “Klaf”, which determines what type of parchment can be used for Tefillin and Mezuzot.
Both sides of the dispute, use foreign languages to try to prove what is the definition of “Dochsustus”.
8] In Tifferet Yisrael’s commentary on the Mishna, dozens of times he uses foreign languages to clarify concepts that appear in the Talmud. Here are some of the most blatant examples:

 Word In The MishnaLocation of the WordForeign Language Used by Tifferet Yisrael To Define the Word
אפרודיטיAvoda Zara, Chapter 3, Mishna 4Greek
גמטריאותAvot, Chapter 3, Mishna 18Greek
כי יווניתZevachim, Chapter 10, Mishna 8Greek
קיפונוסMiddot, Chapter 1, Mishna 3Greek
תרבוסיןKeilim, Chapter 24, Mishna 5Roman Language
פליוןKeilim, Chapter 29, Mishna 1Greek
פרכדיגמאPara, Chapter 1, Mishna 3Greek
or according
to some texts
Yadayim, Chapter 4, Mishna 6Greek

4] If it is So Clear that the  Trunculus Mollusc is Kosher as a Source for Tekhelet – Why Didn’t Rabbi Herzog  Come to the Same Conclusion?

The answer is that also Rabbi Herzog wrote that the hypothesis that Murex Trunculus is the Chilazon of Tekhelet is a very reasonable conclusion.
Just because he was left with no alternative, he chose the Janthina {sea snail} as the Chilazon, because in his opinion some of the signs of the Chilazon were lacking in Murex Trunculus. Therefore, if there was some way to explain why all the signs of the Chilazon of the Sages are in truth found in the Trunculus Mollusc [and that explanation wasn’t revealed or available to Rabbi Herzog], also Rabbi Herzog would admit that this mollusc has preference over other creatures.
Now one should note that in the opinion of Rabbi Shabtei Rappaport, what I said in regards to Rabbi Herzog is true both for the Rebbe of Radzin (but I have no proof one way or the other).

The Signs of the Chilazon

5] The Color of the “Blood” of Chilazon.

In one place, Rashi described the blood of the Chilazon as clear (Shabbat page 75) and in another place as the color of the sea (Chulin page 89)
Rambam in contrast to Rashi described the blood of the Chilazon as dark or black similar to ink (Hilchot Tzitztit 2:2).
If so, how can we decide the issue? For even if we find a creature whose blood fits the opinion of the Rambam, seemingly out of necessity the same creature can’t be the Chilazon according to Rashi, and so too, in the opposite case?
However, with the blood of the Argamoan Khei HaKotzim (the Trunculus Mollusc)  it is possible to make peace between all the different opinions.
Now this is a translated quote of Professor Elsner, whose words are brought in Rabbi Menachem Burshtein’s book on Tekhelet (page 303):
“Now upon us to recognize the color that is extracted from Argamoan Khei HaKotzim (Trunculus): After the shell of a live mollusc is pierced open, a clear solution is extracted exactly fitting in with what is described in Tractate Shabbat (75a). In the pale-yellow solution, there appears a green color that spontaneously transforms to turquoise and afterwards blue until at the end it goes to its final permanent state of purple that tilts towards black. This color we can describe as Blue mixed in with Argaman. It should be noted that this multiple gamut of colors
explains well the comparison of Tekhelet to the different colors of the sea, grass, trees, the sky, the brightness or glow {Noga in Hebrew}, and the rainbow [his intention is the words of Midrash Tehillim (Buber) Mizmor 90 (point 18}]

One should add that if someone might contend that the end product of the Chilazon when it is liquid, is still not sufficiently black to be called dark or black as ink, there is still the possibility to explain as Shlomo Teitelbaum did in his book, Lulaot HaTekhelet, page 260:
“All the words of Rambam are  fulfilled by the process of dyeing with the Murex  Chilazon {my addition: his intent is the Murex Trunculus – Argamoan Khei HaKotzim}. The chemical additives are for the sake of the chemical reduction of the dye material, and the blackness of the blood is from the high concentration of  Argaman {comment: my definition of Argaman is a little different than Teitelbaum’s} when it is dry and then dissolved in water and with chemical  additives and the light of the sun (or by vaporization) the Argaman is transformed to blue.

6] Does the Chilazon have a Shell? Should The Chilazon be Described as A Worm or a Fish?

Rabbi Herzog agreed that the Chilazon is similar to a worm that is enclosed in a shell that lives in the sea, and by virtue of it living in the sea it is also called by the description of a fish. Now also the Rebbe of  Radzin wrote that if not for his other proofs on behalf of a squid species (Sepia Officinalis) called the Diyunon in Hebrew (the species he chose as the Chilazon) he would have understood that the simple implication is that the Chilazon has a shell.
The Arukh brought a proof (Erech Chilazon 3) that the Chilazon has a shell {more literally a container}
based on the midrash Psi-, the words starting with “Vayehi B’shalach Paroah”. There it is written: “he said to them, the Chilazon all the while that it grows its container grows with it”. And see the book, Lulaot HaTekhelet, of Shlomo Teitelbaum, that proved that also Rashi, and also Radak, and also Rabbi Yaacov Emden, and additional Rabbis, established. that the Chilazon was similar to a snail that lives in the sea.
Rabbi Menachem Adler raised a point against the  possibility that Argamoan Khei HaKotzim – Murex Trunculus can be the Chilazon because Rambam in Mishna Torah describes the Chilazon as a fish.
At the beginning, I thought that the answer to his claim was simple. Namely, that the Rishonim had a wide  definition of what is classified as a fish that includes the Argamoan Khei HaKotzim {Trunculus}. For Rashi on the Talmud, tractate Bechorot 8a, on the words “Bnei Yama“, established there is a fish in the sea that half of it has the shape of a man and half has the shape of a fish and in a foreign language it is called Shreina. And so too on Tractate Chulin page 126b Rashi on the words, “Achbar Shebayam“, established that it is a fish that resembles a mouse, and it is called “Achbar” {the Hebrew name for Mouse}. Now similarly, Rashi on Sanhedrin 91a described the Chilazon as a worm, (the intention seemingly to a worm with a shell). While in tractate Shabbat 74b and 77b Rashi established that the Chilazon was a sort of small fish.
And so too, we learn, in Kupat Harochlim of  Tifferet Yisrael, which is printed before his commentary to Seder Moed, that in the opinion of the Arukh, the Chilazon has a shell {literally a container}. [And such an idea is also brought is Shir Hashirim Rabba (Vilna) Parsha 4, with the words starting with milk and honey: “the Chilazon all the while that it grows its shell {container} grows with it”. And so too is the idea brought in Psikta D’rav Kahana (Mandelbaum) Parsha 11 Starting With [21] R’ Lazar: and so too in Yalkut Shimoni to Parshat Eikev, Remez 850.] Now in combination with all the sources that state the Chilazon is a fish that lives in the sea, the author of Tifferet Yisrael, understood that we are dealing with a snail that lives in the sea.
Now by this, the author of Tifferet Yisrael seemingly agreed to the principle of Rabbi Kook in Mishpat Cohain:

“And certainly to minimize dispute is preferable as much as it is possible. And even if a somewhat forced answer is  needed to eliminate a new dispute {of the Rabbis}, there is no objection to this, and in a similar manner we have established that we reconcile contradictions between witnesses even by forced answers, so that there won’t be a dispute between them, and we ascribe to not-likely explanations, that he doesn’t know that an extra day was added to the lunar month and that he errs by two or three hours, depending upon the different explanations given in the Talmud, and that we conclude in Choshen Mishpat, siman 29 that we explain their words, by remote usages of language, in order not to make a contradiction or a dispute between the witnesses. and so too do we respond in all matters that we can make into a convergence of views and we don’t say that there is here a dispute”.

Now so too, in accordance with the viewpoint of the Vilna Gaon (Eliyahu Rabba) on Keilim, chapter 10, Mishna 1, we can describe a snail that lives in the sea, as a fish. There he states, we do not write the words, the bones of a creature of the sea, for all that is in the sea is a type of fish in all forms that it has.
And so too, Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura on that same Mishna, on the words starting with “And the bones of fish”, writes, “if he made a vessel from the bones of the creatures of the sea, it saves {from impurity},  since they do not receive, spiritual impurity. As stated in the Mishna later on, in chapter 17, all that is in the sea is pure.
And so too, Rambam when he wrote about the things that do not receive spiritual impurity, both in his commentary to the Mishna and in his Mishna Torah, Hilchot Tumat Hameit, chapter 6 and so too in Hilchot Tumat Hameit, 21:1 he omitted any talk of creatures of the sea and just talked about fish together with all the other things counted  by the Mishna in Keilim chapter 10 as  objects that do not receive impurity.
And so too the Kesef Mishna on  Hilchot Tumat Hameit 6:1, explains that when Rambam wrote that one who makes vessels out of the bones or skin of fish, these vessels do not receive impurity, he understood as Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura did, that the source of the Halacha is based on what is written in chapter 17 of Keilim, Mishna 13, “All that is in the sea is Pure” And in Torat Cohanim (Shmini) it is derived, from the words {in the Biblical verse} “or clothing or leather goods,” that just as the clothing {that receives impurity} is dealing with clothing from products grown on dry land, so too, the animal hide is dealing with something that grows upon the dry land”.
Notwithstanding all that was stated above it is not so simple that Argamoan Khei HaKotzim, namely, the Trunculus mollusc is considered a fish according to the Rambam based on what Rambam wrote in Hilchot Maachalot Asurot 2:12

    “One who eats {non-kosher food} the size of an olive from that which swarms in the water is liable by the Torah, to lashes, for it was stated: “do not  make yourselves disgusting [by eating] any small creature that swarms, and do not impurify yourselves on their account”. Behold included in this prohibition is the creature {Sheretz in Biblical Hebrew} that swarms on the land and the creature that swarms which flies in the air and the creature that swarms from the sea.
What is the creature that swarms in the sea? These are the small creatures such as, worms and leeches of the water and also the very large creatures, which are the creatures of the sea. The principal is that whatever does not have the shape of fish, neither a non-kosher fish or a kosher fish, such as a seal and a dulphan {Rambam La’am’s commentary, a creature that looks, half like a man and half like a fish} and a frog and things similar to this:”.

Perhaps from here it is possible to claim that if a worm is not a fish, so too the Trunculus Mollusc, which is a worm within a shell, is not a fish. Especially this question is strong, in light of what Aruch Hashulchan {Rabbi Yechiel Michal Epshtein} on Yoreh Deah, chapter 83 understands to be the position of the Rambam. Namely, based on the above stated Halacha, we see that Rambam greatly limited what can be defined as a fish.
Two answers to this problem.
A] Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvot – negative commandment 179 testifies that all those that came prior to him, called a creature that didn’t have the shape of a fish by the name of an unclean fish – see there.  Therefore when Rambam calls the Chilazon a fish, his intents is what the world calls a fish.
B] Mishbatzot Zahav’s commentary to Yoreh Deah, siman 83, comment 2, argues with Aruch HaShulchan {Rabbi Yechiel Michal  Epshtein} and he established that we should not, even according to the Rambam, limit our definition of what is a fish. See there and see Chazon Ish, to Bechorot, siman 16, point 12 to answer a side issue raised against  the Mishbatzot Zahav’s commentary.

Now I have support for the viewpoint of the Pri Megadim [author of the Mishbatzot Zahav commentary], that one should not restrict the concept of what is an impure fish, based on Rambam’s commentary to Keilim 12, Mishna 1 (according to the translation of Rabbi Kapach). There Rambam explains that the Chilazon Ornament is a Sea Shell {or from a sea creature with a seashell} and the older translation of the Rambam, defines it as a creature that swarms [Sheretz in Biblical Hebrew] of the water.

There is A Blemish That is called Chilazon-Snake. Can We Prove From Here that the Shape of the Chilazon is Like the Shape of a Snake?

    In my humble opinion based on the words of the Arukh, the blemish that is called Chilazon-Snake has the characteristics both of a Chilazon and a snake. However, since my purpose is just to find a creature that it is possible to use if for the mitzva of Tekhelet, it wouldn’t be so awful in my opinion, if there is someone who holds that there is some type of snake in addition to the Purpur fish of Chavot Yair {namely, the Trunculus} that can be used for the mitzva of Tekhelet [As long as the dyeing with the blood of a snake is not really practical]; and once I saw that Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Shlit”a wrote similarly to this.

7] Is it Possible to Press the Chilazon With Your Hands Until Its Blood Comes Out?

Rashi to tractate Shabbat 75a on the word “Hapotzo” established that it is possible to press the Chilazon with one’s hands until its blood comes out. The shell of the Trunculus is hard, and if so, how can we fulfill the words of Rashi, with the Trunculus Mollusc?
Now one can answer base on an article that I saw on the internet  that in ancient times they had the knowledge to make a hole in the shell of the Trunculus Mollusc and to take out the worm inside, alive. Now if this is the case the words of Rashi are aligned towards the worm inside the shell of the mollusc.
Or else, maybe they had a way to dissolve the shell of the Chilazon, because I read that there are molluscs that you can dissolve their shells by adding the proper chemicals to the water that they are found in.
8] Miphkad Pakid – Stored Blood
Scientists claim that the Trunculus, excretes the liquid of the Tekhelet dye in order to draw other molluscs for reproduction. Just at the time of reproduction there is a large concentration of molluscs in one place.
It appears to me in my humble opinion, that after we have found a situation that the Trunculus can excrete the liquid of the Tekhelet and continue to live, then it fits in with the demand of Rabbeinu Tam in Tosafot in tractate Shabbat 75a and here’s a translated quote of Tosafot: “And Rabbeinu Tam responded that the blood of the Chilazon that is fit for dyeing is Miphkad Pakid- Stored Blood, and one is not liable on account of this specific blood for the labor of the removal of life {on the Sabbath day} while other blood that also comes out with it, {when it is extracted by a person} he is not liable for this, for he is not pleased [with the removal of life of the Chilazon] because the blood is better [or clearer] for dyeing purposes, {while the Chilazon lives}.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.