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Old 10-09-2007, 07:53 PM   #16
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Originally posted by martha
I've been thinking about this today and tonight. What's the story with this? Why a prohibition like this? What was the reason? Was it some arcane spiritual thing? Or was there conflict between sheperds and growers?
I heard that it was because wool and linen shrunk differently, so if you washed a hand-woven mixed-fiber garment, you'd get it all warped out of shape.

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Old 10-09-2007, 08:58 PM   #17
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I've seen that theory before too, but it's been repeatedly debunked by textiles experts on the grounds that what it suggests about mixed woolen-linen garments is simply wrong. Handwoven woolen-linen items don't lose their shape so long as as the percentage of whichever one isn't the predominant fabric is kept relatively low, and the peoples of the Middle East had been making mixed woolen-linen garments for at least three millennia by that time (as illustrated by the fact that the Torah does permit woolen-linen blends in priests' vestments and tzitzit), so it's rather implausible that the Hebrews were uniquely unaware of how to get around that problem. Furthermore, since you're talking about a purely practical procedure where unambiguous disaster is pretty much guaranteed if you don't do it right, it seems unlikely that a law would've been necessary to prevent weavers from doing it wrong in the first place.

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