Subscribe to a Weekly Series

By | Series: | Level:

15:1. It is permitted to remove tzitzis from one talis (1) and put them (2) on another talis, but if not to put them (3) on another garment, then it is not [permitted]. {RAMAH: And this is only regarding the talis of (4) one who is obligated in tzitzis, but it is permitted to remove the tzitzis from the talis of a deceased person.

MB 1: And put them, etc. – Even from a new talis to a new talis, and all the more so from an old talis it is permitted to remove the tzitzis and put them on a new talis which he wants to wear and fulfill with it the mitzvah. And even from a talis gadol to a talis katan [is permitted] because a talis gadol and a talis katan are considered equal, but one should not remove the tzitzis from the talis of a grown-up [bar-mitzvah] and put them on the talis of a minor [before bar-mitzvah], as the minor’s obligation is only by Rabbinic law. And the Pri Megadim had a doubt whether it is permitted to put the tzitzis from a wool talis on a talis of another material, according to those to rule above in 9.1 that other materials are obligated in tzitzis only by Rabbinic law, and the Artzos HaHayyim was lenient in this [to permit it].

MB 2: On another talis – See in the Pri Megadim who wrote that if he can obtain other tzitzis, it is proper to be stringent and not to remove its tzitzis except in one of the cases mentioned in MB 3.

MB 3: On another garment, then it is not – Because there is a prohibition that he abases a talis which was used for a mitzvah for nothing, unless the talis wore out, then it is permitted to remove its tzitzis in any case, or if he wants to sell the talis to a non-Jew or to make from the talis a garment which will not have four corners, then it is permitted to take off the tzitzis, but if he wants to sell it to another Jew, then it is forbidden to take the tzitzis even if the second Jew will be able to put on tzitzis himself, even so it is forbidden. And it is permitted to remove the tzitzis and attach in their place nicer ones because of ‘hidur mitzvah’ [‘glorification of the mitzvah’, honoring the mitzvah, performing the mitzvah in a nicer way], or when they are old and he removes them in order to renew them or when one of the threads broke off and only remains from it the length needed to make a loop, then even though the tzitzis are still valid, it is nevertheless permitted to remove it and attach a whole one in its place. And you should know that where the tzitzis are whole and fitting to be put on another garment [which excludes the case where only the length of a loop remains][,which is kosher only after the fact], some of the later authorities wrote that he should be careful to undo the knots and the coilings whole and not to snap them off and tear them in order not to destroy them. And our sages of blessed memory already said that one should not spill his well-water when others are in need of water. And the Hayye Adam wrote that where the trouble required to remove the tzitzis nicely is difficult for him, then it is permitted to break them off and it is not forbidden due to the prohibition against purposeless destruction, since he does not do it in the manner of destruction. See there.

MB 4: One who is obligated – Even one who is obligated only by Rabbinic law.

15:2. (5) One may not take a corner (of a garment) along (6) with the tzitzis (already attached) and sew it onto (7) another garment. (This is) because the law requires that (the tzitzis be put) onto the corners of their garments. This corner (taken from one garment (tzitzis included) and sewn onto another garment) was not (a part of) this new garment at the time (the tzitzis) were made.

MB 5: One may not – (One should) see the Magen Avraham (the text) paragraph 3. It is proven from his words (there) that this refers only to a corner that is too small to be able to wrap oneself (in it). Even though the Gemara forbade (this practice of taking a corner of one garment with tzitzis already attached, and sewing it onto another garment) even if it were the size of one ama [cubit] by one ama*, this still is not the measurement for wrapping oneself [which requires an ama in front and an ama in back – basically 2 amos * 1 ama]. However, if (the corner) cut from the first garment is a size which would be large enough to wrap oneself, it is permissible to join it to another garment even with tzitzis already attached. The Taz in paragraph 3 disagrees with this and forbids it, and the same is implied in the Levush and the Derech HaChaim.

* [An ama is a measurement. Different poskim (law decide) differ as to the exact length of an ama – ranging from just over 18 inches to just over 24 inches. This measurement of one ama by one ama is the size used for the small tallis (tallis katan) that men wear under their shirts.]

MB 6: With its tzitzis. But without tzitzis (taking a corner from one garment (without tzitzis)) one is permitted to sew (this corner to another garment) if the corner is at least the size of 3 (average) finger-widths by 3 finger-widths, and after [completing the sewing] he may place tzitzis into this corner. Regarding the rest of the garment (the other corners), one would not have to remove the tzitzis from them at all. This is true only if the garment which was being added onto was already obligated to have tzitzis on it (meaning that it had 4 corners already) – for example, a corner was not torn from it in the shape of a circle. However, if a piece was torn from the garment in a circular pattern, rendering it a 3 cornered garment – thereby leaving it exempt from the obligation of tzitzis – then one must remove the tzitzis and replace them after making it [once again] a four-cornered garment, for if not, it falls into the problem of using pre-made tzitzis [as described earlier, tzitzis must always be a part of a garment that requires them – which is the reasoning behind much of this Mishna Brura].

MB 7: Another garment. But if one wants to sew (back) the corner of the same garment (which tore), even if it tore completely off – and nothing remained to connect the two pieces, there isn’t a need to remove the tzitzis (from this corner). This doesn’t fall into the category of “pre-fab tzitzis” because the start of their manufacture on this garment was Kosher [even though now the tzitzis are on a tiny piece that does not require them]. This is all so if the garment was not rendered a 3-cornered garment when torn, as described in MB 6. Also, the corner must fulfill the 3 finger x 3 finger requirement spoken about (above and) nearby – in paragraph 4. This is all the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch and the Magen Avraham sub-paragraph 3, but the Taz in sub-paragraph 3 decides that there isn’t a difference if it (the corner) is to be joined to the same garment or a totally different one, this is all in the category of “doing and not from that which was done already” (“pre-fab tzitzis”). It is good to be strict in this situation, and so rules the Derech HaChaim.

15:3: A garment with tzitzis (made) according to the law, which was then divided into two, (8) and in each part there is enough material in which to wrap oneself [i.e. each part is large enough to be a tallis (requiring tzitzis) in its own right], and one or two corners with tzitzis remains with each section, (9) there is no problem here of using “pre-made tzitzis” [again, tzitzis not found on a kosher garment] (even when the two sections are sewn back together).

[One requirement for tzitzis is that the fringes must be made for that garment and not patched together. In other words, there is a requirement that I make the tzitzis for a garment which has four corners and is large enough to wrap someone. I would not be able to take 2 half size garments (tzitzis already attached) and sew them together to make one larger garment and use the original tzitzis – In Hebrew, this is called “You will make and not take from that which has been made” (“ta’asey v’lo min ha’asuyi”).]

MB 8: In each part. But if there isn’t a sufficient measurement to wrap oneself in each part, like is common with our small tallis [T-shirt type of garment made of cotton or wool, usually worn between a T-shirt and the regular shirt], that when they are divided into 2 parts there isn’t (enough material) to wrap (oneself) in them, then [the two new garments are] immediately exempt from the mitzvah of tzitzis [meaning the requirement to put tzitzis on these new garments doesn’t exist, because neither of them is large enough to require them]. If a person wants to sew the two pieces either to each other or to another garment, one would need to remove all of the tzitzis. If one of the pieces (has enough material) to wrap oneself and the other piece doesn’t (have enough material to wrap oneself), one would only have to remove the tzitzis from the piece which is too small, and afterwards (after sewing) retie them.

MB 9. There is no problem here etc. For the tzitzis which remain (from the original garment) are not invalid since there is enough material remaining to wrap oneself, and therefore, if he wants, a person may join another piece of material to this piece and tie tzitzis only to the new part of the garment. This is all the more true for the one piece of material (which remained large enough to wrap oneself) — a person could just add tzitzis to the two corners (which were created when the garment was torn into two pieces). If one wanted to reattach the two pieces which were separated, there are those who say that one should remove the tzitzis from one section, sew the two pieces and then retie the tzitzis, for if one would not untie it at all, it would be in the category of making the tzitzis from that which was made already (ta’asey v’lo min ha’asuyi”). Most Achronim (later legal decisors) are lenient, and believe that this does not fall into this category of “you will make and not from which has been made”, but nevertheless one should be strict if possible.

15:4. If the garment tears (10) within (the width of) 3 fingers near the edge of the corner, it is not permitted to sew it back. Rashi explains that we are suspect that there may be leftover thread from the sewing, and one would leave it there and add 7 more strings for the purpose of tzitzis [and a string already attached to the garment is invalid]. For this reason, even if the garment is torn only a little (near the corner), do not sew it back. According to this, a garment of wool which tears within 3 (fingers width), is permissible to sew back because it is unusual to sew (11) with threads of wool. Rav Amram explains that the reason (of not sewing the corner if it tore so close to the edge) (12) is since it tore within 3 (fingers width), this little piece is no longer “a garment” and even though he sewed it back, it still has the same status as when it tore off. So (13) if one made tzitzis in this corner, they would not help to fulfill the requirement of having tzitzis on the garment. According to this explanation, if it tore and (14) it remained even slightly attached, it would remain kosher (usable). (15) There are those who say that according to Rav Amram, only tzitzis which were on the corner when it was sewn onto the garment are invalid, but if after the sewing, one put kosher tzitzis on it, they would be good. One who fears Heaven (a Yirey Shamiyim) (16) will fulfill all of the different opinions (17) where possible.

MB 10: Within 3 fingers. But (if it tore with) more than 3 fingers width, one may sew it back according to everyone. According to the explanation of Rashi, more than 3 finger-widths from the corner is not the place to put on tzitzis – as was written above in Section 11 – and therefore there is no suspicion that one might take (the loose string) to make tzitzis. According to the explanation of Rav Amram Gaon, (the loose piece) does have the necessary size to form a garment (and one will be able to put tzitzis on it. Even if this large corner were to completely tear off of the garment, with its tzitzis still attached, one would be allowed to sew it back on and the tzitzis would be kosher. The Taz differs and says that one needs to remove the tzitzis from the (torn) corner and retie it anew after it is sewn on. It is good to be strict as we said in MB 7.

MB 11: With threads of wool. But rather, people sew with other types of strings, and everyone knows that other strings will not fulfill the requirement for tzitzis [on a wool garment]. It is the law that one may be lenient also with garments of other materials [than wool], if they are sewn with thread of a different material than that of the garment.

MB 12: Since it tore. So too this is the law if when first making the garment, a piece of cloth was sewn on less than three fingers-breadths from the edge – whether along the length or the width of the garment – and tzitzis were tied to this piece, it would be invalid in his opinion – because it would remain as if it were detached, even though it has been sewn to the garment. If one tied the tzitzis higher than this sewn-on piece, the tzitzis would be too far from the edge of the garment – a distance greater than 3 fingers breadth and this would (also) be invalid. [Tzitzis must be within 3 fingers breadth of the edges of the garment, as we saw above.] Therefore, we should sew under the corner a piece of material that is 3 by 3 fingers breadths [to be able to put tzitzis there]. And see later in MB 15.

MB 13: And if (he) made. Meaning to say that even if he made new tzitzis on this piece of the corner after it was sewn to the garment, even this wouldn’t fulfill the requirement for tzitzis on this garment, because sewing is not considered to fully join the two pieces for the requirement of tzitzis. So it is still considered as a separate piece, if it was torn completely from the garment.

MB 14: Any of it (remained), kosher. Meaning to say that even the tzitzis which were on it at the time it tore (are still kosher). There are those who are strict on this and they believe that the old (tzitzis) become invalid and one must put new (tzitzis) on anew after it is sewn. See the Bi’ur Halacha.

MB 15: There are those who say that according to Rav Amram. They believe that the sewing is considered attaching, and only the tzitzis which were on the piece at the time it was detached and sewn back on are invalid because of “ta’asey v’lo min ha’asuyi” (“pre-fab tzitzis”). See the Taz who disagrees with the Shulchan Aruch, and writes that everyone admits that if after the sewing if one ties on tzitzis, it is kosher. The Bach writes this as well, and so does the Gra, the Artzos HaChaim, and others. Nevertheless, in order to fulfill the first opinion, one should sew under the corner of the garment a piece that is 3 fingers by 3 fingers.

MB 16: Fulfill all opinions. Therefore, we have a custom to sew on each corner of the garment a piece of material which measures 3 by 3 finger breadths, because in some garments, it is found that even in new garments there is sewing within the 3 fingers, and Rav Amram, according to the first opinion, would invalidate them (as we saw above in MB 12).

MB 17: Where possible. And when it is not possible (to fulfill all opinions), then we follow the opinion of Rav Amram, and also say that sewing is considered attaching.