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Part I: Orach Chayim


A garment that has four or more square corners on opposite sides (10:1-3,5-9,12) requires fringes (TZITZIS), provided it is big enough to cover most of the body (see 16:1), is primarily used for that purpose (10:10-11;19:1-2), and is owned by Jews (see 14:3,5). TZITZIS are required when the garment is worn during the day, or when it is worn at night if it is normally worn during the day; see 18:1-2. The requirement of TZITZIS applies only to garments made of cloth (see 10:4), and is only rabbinical unless they are made of linen or sheep's wool (9:1); according to some opinions, the garment or the TZITZIS should not be of linen (9:2,6). The TZITZIS may be made either of wool or of the same material as the garment (9:2-4); they may be white or of the same color as the garment (9:5).

The threads used for TZITZIS should be spun and twisted for that purpose by a Jew (11:1-2), and the TZITZIS themselves should be made by a (preferably male) Jew (see 20:1), preferably for that purpose (14:1-2). They should be made of material that is permitted and of good quality; see 11:5-8. They should be at least 12 inches long (11:4, and see the next paragraph). If they become untwisted they remain valid provided they remain partly twisted (see 11:3), but they should be knotted at the ends so they do not become untwisted (11:14). On what to do if some of them break see 12:1-3.

The TZITZIS are passed through holes near the four corners of the garment (see 11:9-11,15) that are farthest apart (10:1). Four TZITZIS are passed through each hole (11:12-13), and the two groups of four ends are double-knotted to each other at the edge of the garment near the hole (11:14,15). One of the TZITZIS is made longer than the others (11:4); the long end of that one is wound around the other seven ends and double- knotted; this is done repeatedly so as to make a total of five double knots separated by four sections of winding, with a total length of at least four inches, leaving free-hanging ends that are twice that long (11:14).

TZITZIS should not be removed from a garment that is used by a person except to insert them in another garment; see 15:1. If a piece of a garment that has TZITZIS in it is attached to another garment, the TZITZIS are not valid (15:2); but if the piece is big enough to wear, TZITZIS may be inserted into its other corners (15:3). On cases where a garment is torn, or a piece is added to it, near a corner see 15:4-6. TZITZIS should be treated with respect even if they are no longer in a garment (see 21:1,4), and so should a garment that has (had) TZITZIS in it (see 21:2-3), but it is permitted to sleep in such a garment or to wear it in the toilet (21:3) or in a cemetery (see 23:1-3).

It is not mandatory to wear a garment that requires TZITZIS, but if a person wears such a garment, he is required to put TZITZIS in it (see 8:17), and it is proper to wear such a garment every day, preferably all day, but especially at prayer times (24:1,6). On borrowing such a garment (or other religious objects) without permission see 14:4. It is proper to wear the garment on top of one's other clothes (8:11;24:1) and to hold the TZITZIS and look at them while reciting SHEMA (see 24:2,4-5 and Ch.6). A blind man should wear TZITZIS even though he cannot see them (17:1), but it is not proper for a woman to wear them (see 17:2). A child should start wearing them when he is old enough to do it properly (17:3), as described in the next paragraph. On giving a garment with TZITZIS to a non-Jew see 20:2.

A garment that has TZITZIS should be put on while standing (8:1). It should be put on the upper body, and preferably (at least briefly) over the head (see 8:2-3); the TZITZIS should hang down in front and back (8:4). Each time such a garment is put on (see 8:12-15), the blessing "...Who commanded us about TZITZIS" is recited (if the garment is big enough: " cover ourselves with TZITZIS"); see 8:5-6. [This blessing is not recited when making TZITZIS (19:2), but the blessing "...Who kept us alive..." is recited then or when putting them on for the first time (22:1).] The blessing may be recited after dawn, but preferably when it is light enough to distinguish light from dark threads (18:3). It is recited in the morning even if the TZITZIS were worn all night or put on before dawn (8:16). Before reciting the blessing, a person should look at the TZITZIS (24:3), separate them (8:7), examine them closely to ensure they are intact (8:9), and remember that he is wearing them to be reminded of all the Commandments (8:8).

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.



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