I’ve heard others expressing concern about Elohim’s prohibition on mixing certain materials in our clothes.
In fact, some will use such a so-called “ridiculous prohibition” when trying to convince others that Torah is no longer applicable today.
Questions like “So you’re telling me you’ve never worn cotton with polyester?” is one of the more common questions/accusations I see being used.
But is this interpretation backed up by the Torah?
Let’s jump in and see…
What does the Torah say about mixing materials?
In Deuteronomy we read:
You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.
This verse seems pretty clear in that the only forbidden material mentioned here is a cloth made of mixed wool and linen.
However, in Leviticus when reading in the English translation, we see a verse that seems to indicate that mixing any material may be a violation:
You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.
So what’s going on here?
Do these two verses contradict each other?
Or is there something else going on here entirely?
What the Hebrew text says
In Leviticus 19:19, when we look at the original Hebrew text, a much clearer understanding emerges:
…nor shall you wear sha’atnez (Strongs H9122).
Sha’atnez is a foreign word not native to the Hebrew language and refers specifically to a certain type of garment that was made of mixed linen and wool.
This word likely refers to the place or region from which these types of garments originated similarly to how Cashmere is named after Kashmir the city in India.
Interestingly enough, Deuteronomy 22:11 also uses the word sha’atnez so it’s unclear why translators chose to translate Leviticus 19:19 differently.
But what is clear from the Hebrew text is both verses agree: The only types of materials that cannot be mixed are in fact linen and wool.
And so cotton, polyester, and other mixtures are not a concern.
What is the purpose of this command?
It’s not 100% clear why this command was given.
It could be that some abominable people nearby wore such garments.
Or it could be more symbolic and represent Elohim’s desire to avoid His people mixing with others.
Whatever the reason, it’s not a difficult command to obey since coming across a garment mixed with linen and wool is a rare find indeed…at least here in America.
This mixture seems to be a bit more common in places like Eastern Europe.
So don’t go throwing away your polyester shirts or cotton mixtures. Because nowhere are these forbidden in the Torah.
I would, however, encourage others to look just to make sure any garment they have or are about to purchase does not have a mixture of linen and wool…Just in case.
But I’d be surprised if you ever actually come across one.