(B) Hilchot Tzitzit: Siman 8-24

          Siman 8: Seifim 17

1. One should wrap himself and recite the beracha while standing.

2. The manner of wrapping ( עטיפה ) is similar to the way people wrap themselves for work. Sometimes their heads are covered and sometimes uncovered. It is appropriate that one cover his head with his talis.

3. Concerning our Talis Kotons, even though there is not sufficient material for wrapping the mitzvah is nonetheless fulfilled. It is preferable for one to take the talis koton and wrap himself in it for the time it takes to walk four amos and then pull it over his head to wear it.

4. One should turn the garment so that two of the tzitzis are in front and two are in back so that he will be surrounded by mitzvos.

5. One makes the beracha להתיטף בציצית If numerous people are wrapping themselves they should each make their own beracha but if they want one person can make the beracha for the others.

6. On a talis koton one recites להתעטף בציצית . There are those who say that one should recite על מצות ציצית and this is the custom that should be followed.

7. One must separate the strings of his tzitzis from one another.

8. One should have in mind when wrapping himself in his talis that Hashem commanded this mitzvah so that we should be reminded of his mitzvos so that we should do them.

9. Before making the beracha one should examine the tzitzis to make sure they are kosher so that one should not recite a beracha in vain.

10. If one puts on his talis koton while his hands are unclean he should not recite the beracha. After his hands are clean he should touch the tzitzis and make the beracha or when he puts on his talis gadol he should have in mind his talis koton and then it is unnecessary to touch his tzitzis.

11. The primary obligation of the talis koton is for it to be worn on top of one’s garments so that he should see it and will recall the mitzvos.

12. One who has many four cornered garments must affix tzitzis to each one. If one intends to wear them and does not interrupt between one garment and the next, a single beracha is sufficient. If he interrupts between garments a separate beracha is required for each one. Similarly if one did not have in mind that he would don multiple garments a separate beracha for each is required. Similarly, if one took off the first garment before donning the second garment a second beracha is required.

13. One who makes a beracha on his talis koton in his home is required to make another beracha on his talis gadol when he arrives in shul since the walk is considered an interruption. If he will daven in his house and when he recited the beracha on his talis koton he had in mind his talis gadol and did not interrupt with conversation or other things, he is not required to recite another beracha on his talis gadol.

14. If one removed his talis he is required to recite another beracha if he had in mind to wrap himself in that talis a second time. Some say that he does not recite a second beracha if he had in mind to wrap himself again with that talis. According to others this leniency is limited to where his talis koton remains on his body and the custom is in accordance with this latter opinion.

15. If one’s talis fell off he must repeat the beracha when he puts it on again. This ruling applies only if the talis fell off entirely but as long as some of it remained on his body a new beracha is not required.

16. Someone who slept at night in his talis must recite the beracha in the morning and he should touch the tzitzis while he recites the beracha. The same practice should be followed for one who put on his talis before morning.

17. Someone who covers himself in a four cornered garment but did not put on tzitzis has nullified a positive command.

          Siman 9: Seifim 6

1. Biblically one is obligated in the mitzvah of tzitzis only on garments made from linen or sheep’s wool. Garments made of other materials are only Rabbinically obligated in tzitzis. According to others, all materials are Biblically obligated in tzitzis and that is the halacha.

2. Tzitzis of linen and wool may be used on any garment except for linen tzitzis on a wool garment or wool tzitzis on a linen garment due to sha’atnez issues. According to some one should not make linen tzitzis at all, even onto garments of other materials and that is our custom.

3. Tzitzis made from other materials may only be attached to garments made from that same material, e.g. silk tzitzis to a silk garment but may not be attached to a garment made from a different material.

4. If one affixed to a talis of other material, tzitzis of that material in addition to tzitzis of wool or linen – there is an uncertainty whether the mitzvah is fulfilled.

5. There are some who maintain that the tzitzis must be the same color as the talis and those who are particular follow this practice. Ashkenazim use white tzitzis even on colored garments and one should not deviate from this practice.

6. Some say that one should not make a talis from linen and although halacha does not follow that opinion, one who is G-d fearing will make his talis from sheep’s wool since that will allow him to fulfill the mitzvah according to all opinions. If one has no alternative it is better to attach linen tzitzis to a linen garment than to not fulfill the mitzvah altogether.

Siman 10 Seifim 12

1. A garment that does not have four corners is exempt from tzitzis and if it has more than four corners it requires tzitzis and they should be placed on the four most distant corners.

2. If a garment had four corners and someone cut one of the corners on an angle it is rendered a five corner garment.

3. If one folded the corner and then tied it or sewed it so that it appears as though the material was removed it still remains obligated in tzitzis.

4. If the corners of a cloth garment are made from leather the mitzvah of tzitzis still applies but if the one put cloth on the corners of a leather garment, the garment is exempt from tzitzis.

5. If one attached tzitzis to a three cornered garment and then made a fourth corner and attached tzitzis to that corner the tzitzis that were tied before there were four corners are invalid.

6. If a garment is folded the tzitzis are not tied to the folded corners (rather they should be tied to the regular corners) unless the material is sewed up even on one side. (According to some the garment is obligated in tzitzis even if it is not sewn up and it is preferable to tie the tzitzis but not to make the beracha. If one tied tzitzis onto a corner that had tzitzis- if the intent was to nullify the first tzitzis they should be cut off and if his intent was to add to the existing tzitzis even if he removed one of them it is invalid. (According to some it is valid in all circumstances and that is the primary opinion but before the first ones are cut the tzitzis are invalid.)

7. If a garment is open on the side so that it has four corners – if the majority of the side is closed it is exempt from tzitzis but if the majority is open then it is obligated in tzitzis. If it is half open and half closed tzitzis should be attached but one should not wear them outside on Shabbos.

8. A kapah that is open in a manner that it has four corners and one attaches a fastener to render it closed so that it would be exempt from tzitzis has not changed the status of the garment unless the fastener is on the bottom half of the garment and it should also be located beneath one’s belt so that it should also appear that the majority is closed for if it is does not appear closed it is prohibited to wear the garment since it gives the impression of impropriety.

9. The corners must be square as opposed to rounded.

10. A headdress is exempt from tzitzis even those from western countries that are worn by throwing the two ends over one’s shoulders and body even if the headdress covers one’s head and most of his body. The reason is that the headdress is worn to cover the head and tzitzis is worn on garments intended to cover one’s body.

11. The shawl that is worn on one’s neck is exempt from tzitzis.

12. Certain four cornered garments are enumerated that are exempt from tzitzis. (Additional four cornered garments are identified that are exempt since they are not designed for two corners to be in front and two in back.)

          Siman 11: Seifim 15

1. The threads of the tzitzis must be spun for the sake of the mitzvah. (Some maintain that even the combing of the wool must be done for the sake of the mitzvah but the custom is to be lenient about the matter.) One should state as he begins to spin the thread that he is doing so for the sake of the mitzvah or one should say to the woman, “Spin for me tzitzis for my talis.” If the threads were not spun for the sake of the mitzvah they are invalid.

2. If a gentile spun the thread with a Jew standing over him instructing him to do it for the sake of the mitzvah – according to Rambam it is invalid whereas according to Rosh it is valid. The custom is to have the Jew assist somewhat in the process as we find by tefillin and a Sefer Torah. Tzitzis threads must be twisted and that process must also be done for the sake of the mitzvah.

3. If the tzitzis unravel and one is left with sixteen strings, the tzitzis are valid as long the length necessary to tie a bow remains intact. (L’chatchila, it is best to tie the bottom of the tzitzis strings.)

4. The tzitzis strings may not be any less than four godlim and according to others it should be twelve godlim and that is our custom. There is no upper limit concerning the length of the tzitzis. (If the strings are too long one is permitted to shorten them.) One of the strings should be longer than the rest so that it could be used to wrap around the other strings to make the twisted cord. (The necessary length of the strings refers to after the strings are tied together, besides what rests on the material of the garment.)

5. Tzitzis may not be made from wool taken from thorns or hairs pulled from the animal or leftover strings taken from a completed garment and the reason is that using these strings disgrace the mitzvah.

6. If tzitzis were made from stolen wool they are invalid since the pasuk indicates that one must own his tzitzis. This restriction is limited to where one stole threads but if one stole wool and manufactured it into tzitzis, they are valid but l’chatchila it is prohibited to make tzitzis from stolen wool. (With regard to the beracha see Siman 649.)

7. Borrowed strings are considered a loan, meaning that the borrowed strings are not returned and therefore they are considered the borrowers and may be used for the mitzvah.

8. If one bows in worship to an animal, its wool may not be used for making tzitzis. If one bows in worship to planted linen one may make tzitzis from that linen.

9. The hole into which the strings are placed may not be more than three fingers-lengths from the edge of the garment and no less than the distance from the top knuckle of one’s thumb to the end of the finger. The measurements are done measuring straight from the edge of the garment rather than on an angle.

10.If the hole was the proper distance from the edge of the garment and the material came off so that the hole is now too close to the edge, the tzitzis remain valid since when it was inserted it was the correct distance from the edge. There is a custom to sew a hem around the hole so that the tzitzis should not rip the material and fall too close to the edge. A hem is sewn on the edge of the garment for the same reason. Some say that there is no minimal distance from the edge of the width of the garment and some say that the minimum distances that apply to the length apply to the width as well.

11. If the orilaiza (threads that run in one direction and is eventually woven into the garment) is wide one should not insert the tzitzis into that material since it is not part of the garment but its space does count towards the calculation to determine the correct area in which the tzitzis should be inserted. The calculation of the “top of the thumb” should be measured without these extra threads but when calculating the threefinger length the extra threads should be included in the calculation.

12. The number of threads in every corner is four. Those four threads are folded in the corner and become eight. If one added additional strings the tzitzis become invalid. One should cut the thread into four pieces before inserting them into the hole.

13. One must be careful to cut the threads to make them eight strings before any windings. If one did even one set of windings followed by even a single knot and then cut the strings, the tzitzis are invalid.

14. The two sets of four strings are taken and tied with a double knot. The long string is wound around the other seven a few times and then another double knot is tied. Additional windings followed by double knots are added until one has five double knots with windings in between. There is no specific number of windings that are required but the length of the knots and windings should altogether be four godlim and the remaining length of the strings should be an additional eight godlim. If the strings are longer one should maintain the ratio of one-third knots and windings and two-thirds hanging string. The custom is to have seven windings in the first section, nine in the second section, eleven in the third section and thirteen in the fourth section. Added together the number of windings is thirty-nine plus one for Hashem equaling forty which is the numerical value of the words Hashem echad. There is a custom to tie the end of each string to assure that they do not unravel.

15. There are those who write that one should be careful that the tzitzis should extend to the length of the talis so that they will hang over the corner and if they extended to the width of the talis they would not hang over the corner. According to some, one should not put additional material over the hole into which the tzitzis are inserted and others permit the practice and the custom follows the latter opinion.

          Siman 12: Seifim 3

1. If the strings become severed they remain valid as long as they are long enough to tie a bow around the other strings. If even one string rips entirely it is invalid, therefore, since each string is folded into two if two tzitzis are severed it is invalid since the two tzitzis may be the same string. If one kept the different sides of the strings separate from one another as is customary then if two tzitzis on one side are severed the talis is valid since they are from two separate strings and the other side of each severed string remains intact. Rabbeinu Tam maintains that the talis is valid if some of the strings were severed leaving the length to tie a bow only if two of the strings (meaning four tzitzis) are intact for the length of twelve godlim. For this reason if three tzitzis are severed and one did not keep each side of the string separate the talis is invalid since one may not have two strings fully intact. If only two of the tzitzis were severed the talis is valid. The halacha follows the first opinion but one should make an effort to be stringent in accordance with Rabbeinu Tam’s position. The custom is to follow Rabbeinu Tam’s position. If one kept the two sides of the strings separate and three strings on one side became severed the talis is invalid and even if the three strings are from both sides one must be stringent since it may be three separate strings.

 2. In a circumstance in which one requires the length “to tie a bow,” if one cannot tie a bow due to the thickness of the strings but if the strings were thinner it would be possible to tie a bow the talis is valid. We calculate whether there is enough string to tie a bow based on medium thick strings.

3. The required length “to tie a bow” is measured, according to Rashi, from the fringes whereas according to R”I even if the fringe was severed completely but within the twisted cord there remains the length to “tie a bow” the tzitzis are valid. Common custom is like Rashi but when there is no alternative one may rely upon the position of R”I. 

          Siman 13: Seifim 3

1. The four tzitzis are essential to one another such that one who walks in a public domain on Shabbos without all four tzitzis being valid is liable to bring a Korban Chatas.  

2. If one’s tzitzis are valid it is permitted to go out into the public domain with either a talis gadol or a talis koton even in the absence of techeles. One may not go out with his talis resting on his shoulders. A talis is presumed to be valid and it is unnecessary for one to check his talis before going outside.

3. If one realizes on Shabbos while standing in a karmelis that his tzitzis are invalid he may wait until he reaches his house to remove the garment because maintaining human dignity is an important principle. One would not even be required to remove his talis koton from beneath his garment. Similarly, one would be permitted to put on a talis that is invalid without reciting the beracha to sit in shul based on the principle of human dignity. This allowance is limited to Shabbos since one is not permitted to tie new tzitzis but during the week this leniency does not apply.

3. If one realizes on Shabbos while standing in a karmelis that his tzitzis are invalid he may wait until he reaches his house to remove the garment because maintaining human dignity is an important principle. One would not even be required to remove his talis koton from beneath his garment. Similarly, one would be permitted to put on a talis that is invalid without reciting the beracha to sit in shul based on the principle of human dignity. This allowance is limited to Shabbos since one is not permitted to tie new tzitzis but during the week this leniency does not apply.

          Siman 14: Seifim 5

1. Tzitzis made by a gentile are invalid since the pasuk states בני ישרא ל to exclude gentiles. Women are fit to make tzitzis. There are those who are strict and require men to make tzitzis and one should, l’chatchila follow that opinion.

2. If a Jew made tzitzis without intent and a garment with tzitzis made with correct intent is not available one may rely on Rambam’s position that the tzitzis are valid but the beracha should not be recited.

3. One who borrows a garment from his friend that does not have tzitzis is exempt from putting on tzitzis for thirty days since the pasuk refers to one’s garment rather than the garment of others. After thirty days there is a Rabbinic requirement to put on tzitzis since it seems as though it is his. If the garment was returned within thirty days and then borrowed again the two periods of time do not combine; rather the thirty days must be consecutive. If one borrows a garment that already has tzitzis he recites the beracha immediately.

4. One is allowed to take a friend’s talis and even recite the beracha but he must refold it if it was folded when he took it. The same allowance applies to tefillin but it is prohibited to study from a friend’s sefarim without his permission since we are concerned that it may rip while he is studying.

5. A talis owned by partners is obligated in the mitzvah of tzitzis since the pasuk uses the plural term, “your garments.”

          Siman 15: Seifim 6

1. It is permitted to untie tzitzis from one garment and tie them to another garment but to not put them into another garment is not allowed. The restriction against untying tzitzis and not putting them onto another garment is limited to the talis of one who is obligated in the mitzvah but it is permitted to untie tzitzis from the talis of someone who is deceased.

2. It is not permitted to take the corner of a garment that has tzitzis and attach it to another garment. The basis of this restriction is that the pasuk states that tzitzis should be made on the “corner of your garments” and this corner was not part of the garment when the tzitzis were made.

3. A talis that had valid tzitzis and was divided into two parts and each part has enough material to be obligated in tzitzis, the tzitzis that remain on each half are not disqualified based on the principle that tzitzis must be made on a garment rather than made before the garment is fit for tzitzis

4. If one’s talis ripped within three fingerbreadths of the edge of the garment one is not permitted to sew it. Rashi explains that the concern is that a string may remain and one will incorporate that string into his tzitzis. According to this rationale one is not permitted to make even a minor repair. A woolen garment could be repaired within three fingerbreadths of the edge since nowadays it is not customary to sew with woolen threads. Rav Amram explains that the reason is that the part that is repaired is considered as though it is not there since it is too small. Even if one were to reattach the piece entirely it would be invalid and attaching tzitzis to that piece does not exempt the garment from tzitzis. According to this explanation as long as the torn piece does not detach entirely, the tzitzis remain valid. According to some opinions Rav Amram invalidates the tzitzis that remained in place when the piece was reattached but if one attached tzitzis after the garment was repaired it is valid. A G-d fearing person will fulfill all opinions when possible.

 5. If the hole into which the tzitzis are placed rips but the insertion of the tzitzis preceded the rip they remain valid. If the hole ripped leaving something intact, the rip was repaired and then one inserted tzitzis – if the garment is wool it is valid and if the garment is made from other materials one should not repair the garment with thread made of that same material. If the hole ripped through the seam, the tear was repaired and then the tzitzis inserted, it is unclear whether they are valid.

6. If one is sewing a patch onto the corner of a silk garment or reinforcing the hole one should not use silk thread within three fingerbreadths and the distance from the joint of the thumb until the nail from the edge of the garment since according to Rashi there is the concern that the extra thread will be incorporated into the tzitzis. The same concern exists whenever one sews to repair a garment with a thread that is the same material as the garment.

          Siman 16: Seif 1

1. The correct size of a garment that is obligated to have tzitzis is one that is large enough in its length and width to cover the head and majority of the body of a minor who is old enough to walk in the market without someone watching him. Such a garment is obligated in tzitzis if an adult would occasionally wear such a garment in the market.

          Siman 17: Seifim 3

1. Even though the pasuk indicates that one must see his tzitzis a blind man is obligated in the mitzvah and the phrase that references seeing the tzitzis excludes a night garment.

2. Women and slaves are exempt from tzitzis since it is a positive time bound mitzvah. Nevertheless, if they choose to wrap themselves and recite the beracha they are permitted to do so but it bespeaks of haughtiness. Therefore, they should not wear tzitzis since it is not an obligation incumbent upon a person (meaning one is not obligated to purchase a four-cornered garment to become obligated in the mitzvah). A tumtum and androgenus are obligated to wear tzitzis out of doubt but do not recite the beracha. (Since [according to Rema] women can recite the beracha, the tumtum and androgenus could also recite the beracha.

3. A father must purchase for his minor son who knows how to wrap himself in a talis. This applies only when the child knows to keep two tzitzis in front and two in back and also knows to hold his tzitzis during krias shema.

          Siman 18: Seifim 3

1. Night is not a time for tzitzis. According to Rambam this means that anything worn at night is exempt and anything worn during the day is obligated but according to Rosh night garments are exempt even if worn during the day and day garments or day/night garments are obligated even when worn at night. A beracha is made only when one wears a day garment during the day. After ma’ariv the beracha is not recited even if it is day. On Yom Kippur one should recite the beracha while it is still daytime.

2. We don’t put tzitzis on blankets even though a person sleeps with them during the day.

3. The earliest time to recite the beracha is when one can distinguish between one’s techeles strands and the white strands of his tzitzis. If one puts on his talis after alos hashachar there is an opinion that he could recite the beracha and custom follows that opinion. If one puts on his talis before alos hashachar he should not recite the beracha but should touch the tzitzis and make the beracha after day arrives.

          Siman 19: Seifim 2

1. Tzitzis is an obligation incumbent upon the person rather than the garment for as long as one does not wear the talis he is not obligated to put tzitzis on the garment. For this reason there is no beracha recited when making tzitzis since the mitzvah is to wear tzitzis.

2. If a talis was made for burial shrouds it is exempt from tzitzis even if it is worn occasionally while the person is alive.

          Siman 20: Seifim 2

1. A talis purchased from a Jew or a gentile merchant (who claims to have purchased it from a trustworthy Jew) is valid. As a merchant he would not risk his reputation and lie about having purchased it from a Jew. A talis purchased from a gentile who is not a merchant is invalid.

2. One may not sell a talis with tzitzis to a gentile out of concern that he will use it as a disguise to accompany a travelling Jew so that he could kill him. Even to give it to the gentile as collateral or a deposit is prohibited unless it is temporary in which case there is no concern.

          Siman 21: Seifim 4

1. Tzitzis strands that rip may be thrown in the garbage since they are a mitzvah object that does not possess sanctity. While the tzitzis are on the talis it is prohibited to use them, for example, to tie something, since it is disrespectful to the mitzvah. (There are those who maintain that even after the tzitzis were removed one should not treat them with disrespect and throw them in the garbage, it is just that it is not necessary to bury them. Some are careful to bury them and those that do so should be blessed.)

2. If a talis becomes worn one must restrain himself from using it. It may also not be used to wipe off dirt or some other degrading use. It should be thrown out and left to wear out on its own.

3. It is permitted to enter a bathroom while wearing tzitzis. It is certainly permitted to sleep with tzitzis. There are authorities who write that one should not sleep in a talis that has tzitzis nor should one give one’s talis to a gentile launderer so that mitzvos should not be disgraced in one’s eye but the custom is to be lenient regarding sleeping.

4. A person wearing a talis should be careful that the tzitzis do not drag on the ground.

        Siman 22: Seifim 1

1. When a person purchases a talis and makes tzitzis he should recite שהחיינו since a talis is no worse than other new garments. If שהחיינו was not recited when the tzitzis were made it should be recited the first time one wraps himself in the talis. 

          Siman 23: Seifim 3

1. It is permitted to enter a cemetery wearing tzitzis as long as they do not drag on the graves. This ruling applied when they put tzitzis on top of their regular garment but nowadays that we wear a garment specifically for the mitzvah it is prohibited even if the tzitzis do not drag on the graves. If, however, the tzitzis are concealed it is permitted.

2. Some have the custom to tie together tzitzis from two corners when entering a cemetery but such a practice accomplishes nothing.

3. One who stands within four amos of a corpse or a grave must follow the same guidelines as one who enters a cemetery. In places where the custom is to remove the tzitzis from the corpse in his house it is prohibited for those who carry the casket to wear tzitzis.

          Siman 24: Seifim 6

1. One who does not wear a four-cornered garment is not obligated to wear tzitzis. It is correct for a person to wear a talis koton all day in order to remember the mitzvos. The five knots represent the five books of the Torah and the four corners the four directions of the world. The garment should be worn on one’s clothing and at the very least one should wear a talis while reciting krias shema.

2. It is a mitzvah to hold one’s tzitzis in his left hand near his heart while reciting krias shema. 

3. One should look at his tzitzis while wrapping himself in his talis when reciting the beracha.

4. Some have the custom to look at their tzitzis when they reach the words וראיתם אותו and to put them on their eyes and it is an appropriate practice. There are also those who have the practice of kissing the tzitzis when looking at them.

5. When looking at one’s tzitzis he should look at the tzitzis in front which have multiple allusions to Hashem’s Name.

6. The punishment for one who nullifies the mitzvah of tzitzis is very great and one who is careful in his fulfillment of the mitzvah will merit to see the Divine Presence.



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