Importance of Knowing Hilchos Tzitzis

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Importance of Knowing Hilchos Tzitzis #226

  1. New tzitzis. When buying tzitzis with an excellent hechsher from a
    store, one can assume they are kosher and there is not so much of a
    need to know the halachos. Even so, when buying tzitzis one should
    be aware of certain details and hiddurim in the mitzvah of tzitzis that
    he can fulfill. For example, although the minhag is to be meikel
    some (, רמ”א סי’ י”א ס”א ) lishmah] fibers the beating [niputz regarding
    say one should be machmir lechatchilah to get tzitzis that had niputz
    .(פרישה בשם מהר”ל מפראג הובא במ”ב סק”ג ) lishmah done
  2. Old tzitzis. Shailos regarding tzitzis usually come up after some time
    passes and they have already been used. The knots, coils, and
    segments can open, the strings can rip, and the beged can rip by the
    neck or the corner where the tzitzis are attached. Thus, we saw it fit
    to set forth these halachos in a clear way, with a focus on common
    cases. [This topic will be continued in the next issue, be”H.]

“גדילים תעשה לך ”

  1. To understand what is absolutely necessary and what is kosher
    lechatchilah, we will first discuss what is deoraisa versus derabanan.
    We will start with a description of some terms.
  2. Coils [ כריכות ] are the loops made by one string around the others.
    Knots[ קשר] refer to the double knots at the top and bottom of each
    segment which hold the coils in place so that they do not open. A
    gedil is the entire length of the section of tzitzis containing knots and
    coils. A segment [ חוליא[is one group of coils between two knots. The
    anaf refers to the tzitzis strings below the final knot.
    Deoraisa
  3. Gedil and tzitzis. Mideoraisa, tzitzis must have two parts: the gedil –
    i.e., the upper part consisting of the knots and coils –as the posuk says,
    “ לך תעשה גדילים ;“and the section called the “anaf,” i.e., the individual
    strings that are not tied or wound, as the posuk says, “ ציצית“.
  4. Minimum deoraisa size of the gedil. Mideoraisa, there is no
    minimum length for the gedil. As long as there is one segment
    consisting of three coils, i.e., one string is wound around the others
    three times, followed by a double knot, the deoraisa requirement is
    fulfilled. Some say there also needs to be a double knot at the top,
    i.e., at the end of the beged. This is the minimum to be yotzei
    .(מ”ב סי’ י”א סקס”ו ) deoraisa
  5. Minimum deoraisa length of the tzitzis. Mideoraisa, there is no
    minimum length for the tzitzis. As long as the gedil and the tzitzis –
    the individual strings – are present, even in the smallest size, one is
    yotzei deoraisa ( ר”א, לבוש .(Some say the strings must have the length
    of “kedei anivah,” which means long enough that they can be made
    .(חיי אדם, באור הלכה סי’ י”א ס”ד ד”ה אין פחות ) loops into
    Derabanan
  6. Length of the tzitzis and gedil. Some poskim say the tzitzis and gedil
    after it is tied needs to be a total of 4 gudalim [thumb breadths]
    12 of total a be must it say Others). דיעה ראשון בשו”ע סי’ י”א ס”ד )
    gudalim. This is the accepted minhag ( לבוש, שם ע”שו (and it is treated
    as the absolute minimum ( שם ל”ביאה .(This comes out to 24 cm [Rav
    Chaim Na’eh] or 28.8 cm [Chazon Ish].
  7. Since some poskim hold that the minimum length is 4 gudalim, and
    this requirement is only derabanan, as mentioned above, if
    necessary one may rely on Rav Chaim Na’eh’s measurement of 24
    the that considering so especially is This). שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”ח סי’ ג’) cm
    Chazon Ish himself held the measurement of 12 gudalim is only for
    the lechatchilah mitzvah but not an absolute minimum ( ח”או א”חזו
    .(סי’ ג’ סק”ז
    One-Third Gedil, Two-Thirds Anaf
  8. Miderabanan, one should lechatchilah made sure that
    one-third of the length of the tzitzis consists of gedil and
    two-thirds of anaf [the individual strings], as that makes
    it look nice. Since the main measurement for the length
    of the tzitzis and gedil is 12 gudalim, lechatchilah the
    gedil should be 4 gudalim and the tzitzis, 8 ( א”י’ סי ע”שו
    ו”סקס ב”ומ ד”סי .(One does not need to be exacting with
    these numbers; as long as it appears to be
    approximately one-third and two-thirds, that is enough
    since this whole matter is just for beauty and not an
    הגר”ח נאה, שיעורין של תורה סי’ ה אות ) requirement absolute
    ‘ה] .(Illustrations copied with permission from the sefer פאר
    הלכה on Mishnah Berurah hilchos tzitzis, written by our friend,
    Rav Dovid Hirsch; much credit to him.]
  9. Specific, or just a minimum? Some hold that
    lechatchilah, the gedil should specifically be one-third
    of the length and the anaf should specifically be two-thirds.
    Accordingly, if the strings are more than two-thirds of the total
    length, they should be cut to make them two-thirds, provided that
    the total length of the gedil and anaf is 12 gudalim ( ל”ביאה משמעות
    be can anaf the that hold others, However). סי’ י”א ס”ד ד”ה יכול לקצרו
    longer than two-thirds and the recommendation of two-thirds is
    really just that the anaf be no less than two-thirds ( י”סק’ ג’ סי א”חזו.(
    Number of Coils and Knots
  10. Five knots. The recommended numbers of coils and segments are only for doing the mitzvah in the best way, not absolute requirements. Lechatchilah, there should be a total of five double knots with four spaces between them containing the coils. The five knots allude to the five chumashim (שו”ע סי’ כ”ד ס” א). The total of ten knots [five double knots] alludes to the ten sefiros of Hashem. .(שו”ע סי’ י”א סי”ד ומ”ב סקס” ה)
  11. Coils. The minhag is to make a different number of coils for each
    segment, in the following order: 7, 9, 11, 13. Altogether this adds
    up to 40, the gematria of ד”אח’ ק’ו’ק’י] 39] plus one for Hashem
    .(שו”ע סי’ י”א סי”ד )
    1. Some have the following minhag: 7, 8 [which together is the
      gematria of ה”י ,[11 [to get to 26, ‘ק’ו’ק’י ,[13 [the gematria of ד”אח .[
      Together this indicates that Hashem is One ( ועוד בכוונות, ל”אריז
      ע”סק ב”במ הובא, אחרונים .(This is the minhag in most communities in
      Klal Yisroel.
  12. Some have the minhag to make the coils according to the Name
    .(הוזכר במג”א ובמ”ב שם ) 5, 6, 5, 10., e.i, י’ק’ו’ק’
  1. If the bottom knot and some of the coils on the bottom segment
    became undone, or even if several knots and coils became undone,
    as long as one segment consisting of three coils with knots above
    and below them remains, it is kosher deoraisa. Miderabanan, one
    should fix it so that there is one-third gedil and two-thirds anaf, such
    that the gedil and anaf together are 12 gudalim (above, 8). However,
    the numbers of segments and coils are not essential; they are just
    based on minhag.
    Tightening a Loose Knot on Shabbos
  2. If one notices on Shabbos that the bottom knot of his tzitzis is loose,
    it is an issur of kosheir to tighten it on Shabbos since before
    tightening it, it is not considered a professional knot, and tightening
    it makes it into a professional, strong knot ( ש”בדה ג”קכ’ סי השלחן קצות
    .(סק”ד, הגרשז”א שלחן שלמה סק”א אות ה’, חוט שני שבת ח”ב פל”ד סוף סק”ב
    Tightening Tzitzis in the Bathroom
  3. Strictly speaking, one may tighten a tzitzis knot in the bathroom
    since doing so does not involve speaking or thinking about a matter
    of kedushah. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to avoid this if possible
    .(שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”י סי’ ט”ו אות ב’)
    Strings Ripped
  4. Due to the many halachic details involved in the case of ripped
    strings, we must give some introductions to best understand the
    halachos. We will focus on common cases.
    Same Four Strings on Each Side
  5. The eight strings of tzitzis are really the ends of four strings doubled
    over. When tying tzitzis, one must make sure that the same four
    strings stay on their side throughout the whole length of the gedil,
    i.e., the coils and knots. This has significant ramifications with
    respect to a ripped string/strings. In practice, the minhag is to be
    careful about this ( א”ס ב”י’ סי ע”שו ,(and this is the widespread minhag
    when tying tzitzis. Therefore, we will only discuss here halachos that
    apply when each group of four strings did, in fact, stay on its side.
  6. To make sure this happens, after inserting the four strings into the
    hole in the beged, tie them with a temporary knot when they are
    lined up evenly, or slide a bobby pin onto them. The long string that
    the coils are wound with – called the shamash – should be on the
    side that is not tied. After the tzitzis are finished, untie the knot or
    remove the pin.
    “Kedei Anivah”
  7. Spot of the measurement. The measurement
    of “kedei anivah” is specified with respect to
    ripped strings, as will be explained. The Ri
    holds that this is measured from the corner of
    the beged, i.e., on the gedil section. However,
    Rashi holds that it is measured on the anaf,
    i.e., the section of strings after the bottom
    knot; the prevalent minhag follows Rashi. If
    one is in a pressing situation and has no other
    ,(שו”ע סי’ י”ב ס”ב ) Ri the on rely may he, tzitzis
    but he should not make a brachah on the
    .(מ”ב סקי”ג ) tzitzis
  8. Size of kedei anivah. The measurement of kedei anivah is the length
    needed tomake a loop [“ שלייף [“around all the ripped strings together
    ( א”סק שם ב”מ .(This is 4 cm [Rav Chaim Na’eh] or 4.8 cm [Chazon Ish].
    Number of Strings that Ripped
  9. Rabbeinu Tam holds that if tzitzisripped after they were tied, two of
    the doubled strings must always remain whole along their entire
    length on both sides, with a length of 12 gudalim ( ה”ד ב”י’ סי ל”ביאה
    ונוהגין] (according to the Chazon Ish, the minimum is a tefach ( א”חזו
    ואף ה”ד ו”סק’ ג’ סי .[(The only way to be sure this is the case is if six of
    the eight strings are whole and 12 gudalim long. Only then are the
    tzitzis still kosher even though the other two ripped. This is the
    second opinion in the Shulchan Aruch ( א”ס ב”י’ סי ,(and the Rama
    writes that the minhag follows this opinion.
  10. The Rosh holds that even if the strings on one side ripped all the way
    until the gedil, as long as the four strings on the other side have the
    length of kedei anivah, it is kosher ( שם ע”בשו ראשונה דיעה .(The
    Mechaber concludes that the halacha follows this opinion ( שם.(
  11. In practice. The Mechaber favors the Rosh’s opinion. Still, it is proper
    to satisfy Rabbeinu Tam’s opinion if possible. It is clear that one may
    make a brachah on tzitzis that are only kosher according to the Rosh
    ( א”סקי שם ב”מ .(The Ramawrites that the minhag follows Rabbeinu Tam.

Strings Ripped

  1. Two strings on one side ripped completely. If two strings on one
    side of the four ripped completely but the others are whole and 12
    gudalim long, even if the ripped ones do not even have kedei anivah,
    everyone agrees they are kosher ( ט”סק ב”מ .(This is certainly the case
    if only one string ripped.
  2. Two strings, two sides. If one string on one side and
    a second on the other side ripped [ ב in the picture]
    and neither one was left with kedei anivah,
    everyone agrees they are posul ( ג”סק ב”מ .(If one has
    no other tzitzis, he may be meikel since he does not
    know that the two torn strings are two ends of the
    same long string. Still, he should not make a
    brachah.
  3. Three strings ripped. If 3 strings ripped and are now
    less than 12 gudalim, they are posul according to
    kosher and) ביאה”ל ד”ה ונוהגין ) Tam Rabbeinu
    according to the Rosh.
  4. All the strings on one side ripped. If all the strings
    on one side ripped and all that is left of the four on the other side is
    kedei anivah, they are posul according to Rabbeinu Tam and kosher
    according to the Rosh ( ז”סק ב”מ ;(still, one can even make a brachah
    .(מ”ב סקי”א וביאה”ל ד”ה והלכה ) them on
  5. Ripped at the spot of attachment to the corner. If
    one string ripped at the spot where it attaches to
    the corner, i.e., where the strings are attached to
    the corner above the top knot, it is posul ( ד”סק ב”מ.(
    Twisting of the Strings
    Twisted Strings
Talit tzitzit
cukai chaim.com
  1. Each of the eight tzitzis strings must be twisted. This means it must
    me made up of two thin strandstwisted together. The twisting must
    .(שו”ע סי’ י”א ס”א ) [לשמה ] mitzvah the of sake the for done be
  2. Eightfold. The minhag today is to make each string out of eight
    extremely thin strands twisted together; this is the best way to do
    .(ארצות החיים הובא בביאה”ל סי’ י”א ס”ב ד”ה וצריכין שזירה ) mitzvah the
    Perhaps the reason is so that the tzitzis resemble the bigdei
    kehunah: the threads of the bigdei kehunah called “ משזר] “which
    means twisted] were made of eight strands ( א”סק ש”ערוה.(
    Unraveled
  3. If the strings’ twisting unraveled, the halacha is the same as if the
    strings ripped. Thus, if a string made up of two strands unraveled,
    we view the unraveled part as if it were ripped and apply the halacha
    accordingly. Thus, as long as kedei anivah of the strings stayed
    twisted, they are kosher ( ב”ס א”י’ סי ע”שו (if the minimum number of
    strings remained, as described above regarding ripped strings ( ב”מ
    ז”סקט .(When it comes to the twisting, one can rely on the first
    .(מ”ב סקי”ז ) (25 (above mentioned opinion
  4. Eightfold. Nowadays that people usually have strings made from
    eight strands, even if no part of the string remained fully twisted for
    kedei anivah, it is still kosher. This is because even if the string
    unraveled into two or four strands, each strand usually still consists
    of at least two thinner strands twisted together and that is enough
    for it to be a kosher string ( ז”סקי ב”מ.(
    Keeping Them from Unraveling
  5. Some say it is advisable to make a knot at the end of each string so
    say Others). שו”ע סי’ י”א סי”ד, רמ”א שם ס”ג ) twisted stay strings the that
    the opposite: it is better not to make knots at the ends of the strings
    so as not to add to the knots of the tzitzis ( ג”סקכ א”מג (because the
    knots remind us of the five chumashim (above, 12) ( ג”סקכ א”א ג”פמ.(
  6. Therefore, if the strings are twisted well, it is best to be machmir not
    to make knots at the ends. However, if they begin to unravel, it is
    better to make knots at the ends to prevent them from unraveling
    .(מ”ב סי’ י”א סקח”י ) more

Glue. Some suggest applying a drop of glue at the end of each string, beyond the minimum length (‘הלכה ברורה, בירור הלכה אות ד), to keep the strings intact without making a knot (, א ”א, בוטשאטש סי”ד’מו”ר בשו”ת שבט הקהתי ח”ו סי’ ט). Others prefer the traditional method of making a knot when necessary (שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”י ס” ח).

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