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Thursday, 6 Cheshvan 5778 / October 26, 2017

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Tzitzit - Chapter One, Tzitzit - Chapter Two, Tzitzit - Chapter Three

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Tzitzit - Chapter One

Introduction to Hilchos Tzitzit

They contain one mitzvah, to make tzitzit on the corners of a garment.

This mitzvah is explained in the following chapters.

הלכות ציצית - הקדמה

הלכות ציצית מצות עשה אחת והיא לעשות ציצית על כנפי הכסות וביאור מצוה זו בפרקים אלו:

1

The tassel that is made on the fringes of a garment from the same fabric as the garment is called tzitzit, because it resembles the locks of the head, as [Ezekiel 8:3] relates, "And he took me by the locks of my head."

This tassel is called the white [strands], because we are not commanded to dye it. The Torah did not establish a fixed number of strands for this tassel.

א

ענף שעושין על כנף הבגד ממין הבגד הוא הנקרא ציצית מפני שהוא דומה לציצית של ראש שנאמר ויקחני בציצית ראשי וזה הענף הוא הנקרא לבן מפני שאין אנו מצווין לצובעו ואין לחוטי הענף מנין מן התורה:

The tassel that is made on the fringes of a garment - The word anaf, translated as "tassel," literally means "branch." Just as a branch is an extension of the tree, the tzitzit are extensions of the fringes.

from the same fabric as the garment - See Chapter 3, Halachah 5.

is called tzitzit - in Numbers 15:38-39. Deuteronomy 22:12 refers to these tassels as g'dilim (braids).

because it resembles the locks of the head, as [Ezekiel 8:3] relates, "And he took me by the locks of my head." - Note Halachah 8, which derives a halachic ruling from this comparison of terms.

This tassel is called the white [strands], because we are not commanded to dye it. - According to the Torah alone (מדאורייתא), we are obligated to place tzitzit only on fabrics of linen and wool (Chapter 3, Halachah 1). Both fabrics are white and need not be dyed.

The Torah did not establish a fixed number of strands for this tassel. - Though the Rabbis established a fixed practice, as explained in Halachah 6, according to the Torah alone (מדאורייתא) there is no fixed number of strands. Though there are some sources that appear to indicate that the Torah also fixed the number of strands required, Sanhedrin 88b concludes that the essence of the mitzvah of tzitzit is a Torah obligation; its explanation, however, is Rabbinic in origin.

Significantly, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 11:12) rules that if one includes more than eight strands in tzitzit, they are unacceptable. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 11:1 goes further and states that by doing so, one violates the prohibition forbidding adding to a Torah commandment. Note the Mishnah Berurah 11:60, which quotes other opinions that differ.

2

Then we take a strand of wool that is dyed a sky-like color and wind it around this tassel. This strand is called techelet. The Torah did not establish a fixed requirement for the number of times that this strand should be wound [around the tassel].

ב

ולוקחין חוט צמר שנצבע כעין הרקיע וכורכין אותו על הענף וחוט זה הוא הנקרא תכלת ואין למנין הכריכות שכורך חוט זה שיעור מן התורה:

Then we take a strand of wool that is dyed a sky-like color - i.e., sky-blue. Menachot 43b relates that this color is also reminiscent of God's throne.

and wind it around this tassel. This strand is called techelet. - The Rambam discusses the nature of this dye and its preparation in Chapter 2.

The Torah did not establish a fixed requirement for the number of times that this strand should be wound [around the tassel]. - Menachot 39a requires that the strand of techelet be wound at least seven times around the tassel, as explained in Halachah 8. This is a Rabbinic ordinance.

3

Thus, this mitzvah contains two commandments: to make a tassel on the fringe [of a garment], and to wind a strand of techelet around the tassel. [Both these dimensions are indicated by Numbers 15:38, which] states: "And you shall make tassels... and you shall place on the tassels of the corner a strand of techelet."

ג

נמצאו במצוה זו שני צווים שיעשה על הכנף ענף יוצא ממנה ושיכרוך על הענף חוט תכלת שנאמר ועשו להם ציצית ונתנו על ציצית הכנף פתיל תכלת:

4

The [absence of] techelet does not prevent [the mitzvah from being fulfilled with] the white strands, nor does the [absence of] the white strands prevent [the mitzvah from being fulfilled with] techelet.

What is implied? A person who does not have techelet should make [tzitzit] from white strands alone. Similarly, if [tzitzit] were made from both white strands and techelet, and afterwards, the white strands snapped and were reduced until [they did not extend beyond] the corner [of the garment], and thus only the techelet remained, it is acceptable.

ד

והתכלת אינו מעכב את הלבן והלבן אינו מעכב את התכלת כיצד הרי שאין לו תכלת עושה לבן לבדו וכן אם עשה לבן ותכלת ונפסק הלבן ונתמעט עד הכנף ונשאר התכלת לבדו כשר:

The [absence of] techelet does not prevent [the mitzvah from being fulfilled with] the white strands, nor does the [absence of] the white strands prevent [the mitzvah from being fulfilled with] techelet. - In this aspect, they resemble the arm tefillin and the head tefillin. (See Hilchot Tefillin 4:4.) As explained in the following halachah, however, unlike tefillin, they are counted as one mitzvah and not two.

What is implied? A person who does not have techelet should make [tzitzit] from white strands alone. - This is the practice in the present age, when we do not know how to obtain techelet. Even in Talmudic times, when techelet was available, it was very expensive, and many of the common people made their tzitzit without it.

Similarly, if [tzitzit] were made from both white strands and techelet, and afterwards, the white strands snapped and were reduced until [they did not extend beyond] the corner [of the garment] - The explanation of the Rambam's statements has been debated by the commentaries. Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Menachot 4:1.

and thus only the techelet remained, it is acceptable. - The Kessef Mishneh emphasizes that the Rambam does not accept tzitzit that were made from techelet without any white strands. Since the verse states, "and you shall place on the tassels of the corner a strand of techelet," there must be tassels of white strands around which to wind the techelet. Once this has been done, however, if the white strands are severed, one can still fulfill the mitzvah with the techelet alone.

5

Although the [absence of] one does not prevent [the mitzvah from being fulfilled with] the other, they are not considered as two mitzvot. Instead, they are a single mitzvah. Whether [the tzitzit] a person wears on his garment are white, techelet, or a combination of the two colors, he fulfills a single mitzvah.

The Sages of the early generations related: [Numbers 15:39 states:] "And they shall be tzitzit for you." This teaches that they are both one mitzvah.

The [presence of each of the] four tzitzit is necessary [for the mitzvah to be fulfilled], because all four are [elements] of a single mitzvah.

ה

אף על פי שאין אחד מהן מעכב את חבירו אינן שתי מצות אלא מצות עשה אחת אמרו חכמים הראשונים והיה לכם לציצית מלמד ששניהם מצוה אחת וארבע ציציות מעכבות זו את זו שארבעתן מצוה אחת והלובש טלית שיש בה לבן או תכלת או שניהם כאחד הרי קיים מצות עשה אחת:

Although the [absence of] one does not prevent [the mitzvah from being fulfilled with] the other, they are not considered as two mitzvot. - In General Principle 11 of Sefer HaMitzvot, the Rambam writes:

One might think that since neither is dependent on the other, they would be counted as two mitzvot.... [Nevertheless,] they are a single mitzvah... because they have a single objective, "that you remember all the mitzvot...." All the elements that bring about this remembrance are counted as a single mitzvah.

Instead, they are a single mitzvah. - See Sefer HaMitzvot (Positive Commandment 14) and Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 386).

Whether [the tzitzit] a person wears on his garment are white, techelet, or a combination of the two colors, he fulfills a single mitzvah.

The Sages of the early generations - Sifre Zuta, Mechilta D'Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

related: [Numbers 15:39 states:] "And they shall be tzitzit for you." This - the use of the singular form of the verb והיה

teaches that they are both one mitzvah.

The [presence of each of the] four tzitzit is necessary [for the mitzvah to be fulfilled] - i.e., although a garment has several tzitzit, the mitzvah is not fulfilled unless it has all four.

because all four are [elements] of a single mitzvah.

6

How are the tzitzit made? One begins from the corner of a garment - i.e., the end of its woven portion. One ascends upward no more than three fingerbreadths from the edge, but no less than the distance from the knuckle of the thumb to its end.

[A hole is made] and four strands inserted, [causing them] to be folded in half. Thus, there will be eight strands hanging down from the corner. These eight strands must be at least four fingerbreadths long. If they are longer - even if they are a cubit or two long - it is acceptable. The term "fingerbreadth" refers to a thumbbreadth.

One of the eight strands should be techelet; the other seven should be white.

ו

כיצד עושין את הציצית מתחיל מזוית של טלית שהיא סוף הארוג ומרחיק ממנה לא יותר על שלש אצבעות למעלה ולא פחות מקשר גודל ומכניס שם ארבעה חוטין וכופלן באמצע נמצאו שמונה חוטים משולשין תלויין מן הקרן ואורך החוטים השמונה אין פחות מארבע אצבעות ואם היו יותר על כן אפילו אמה או שתים כשרין וכל האצבעות בגודל ויהיה אחד משמנה החוטים חוט תכלת והשבעה לבנים:

How are the tzitzit made? One begins from the corner of a garment - i.e., the end of its woven portion. - The tzitzit must be placed at the "corners" or the "fringes" of the garment.

One ascends upward no more than three fingerbreadths from the edge - Any further distance upward would be considered part of the garment itself and not its "corner" or "fringe" (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 11:9).

but no less than the distance from the knuckle of the thumb to its end. - This is approximately two fingerbreadths. Any lower would be considered as "below the fringe" and not "on the fringe" (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 11:16).

Other opinions mention that these distances should also be applied in regard to the space between the hole and the side of the garment. It is customary to follow this view (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 11:10).

[A hole is made] and four strands inserted, [causing them] to be folded in half. Thus, there will be eight strands hanging down from the corner. - As mentioned in Halachah 1, the Torah does not explicitly mention the number of strands in the tzitzit. Although Menachot 39b derives this concept from the exegesis of Deuteronomy 22:12, the Rambam considers this process of derivation to be Rabbinic in origin (מדברי סופרים).

These eight strands must be at least four fingerbreadths long. - This decision is based on the Rambam's interpretation ofMenachot 39a and 41b. Based on the same sources, Rabbenu Tam requires that the strands be at least twelve fingerbreadths long. His opinion is accepted as halachah by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 11:4) and the later authorities.

If they are longer - even if they are a cubit or two long - it is acceptable. - It is common to make the strands slightly longer than twelve fingerbreadths, so that, even if they tear, they will still retain the desired length (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 11:9; Mishnah Berurah 11:21).

The term "fingerbreadth" refers to a thumbbreadth. - See Hilchot Sefer Torah 9:9. In contemporary measure, a thumbbreadth is approximately 2 centimeters according to Shiurei Torah, and 2.4 centimeters according to Chazon Ish.

One of the eight strands should be techelet - Though the eight strands come from folding four larger strands, only half of one of these strands should be dyed. The other half should retain its natural color, white.

The Ra'avad disagrees with this point and maintains that one of the larger strands should be dyed in its entirety, thus producing two smaller strands that are dyed techelet. The Tur (Orach Chayim 10) and other Ashkenazic authorities maintain that two of the four strands were techelet and two were white.

The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's position, noting that Numbers 15:39 states, "And you shall place on the tassels of the corner a strand (singular) of techelet." Note also the commentary of the Or Sameach.

Significantly, archaeological excavations have uncovered tzitzit belonging to bar Kochba's soldiers. Only one of the eight strands was dyed techelet.

the other seven should be white. - The dyed strand should be slightly longer than the others, so that, even after it has been wound around them, it will be the same length as the others.

7

Afterwards, one should take one of the white strands and wind it once around the other strands close to the edge of the garment and let it go. Then one takes the strand that was dyed techelet and winds it twice [around the other strands], next to the coil made by the white strand, and then ties the strands in a knot. These three coils are called a segment.

Afterwards, one should leave a slight space, and then make a second segment using only the strand that was dyed techelet. Again, one should leave a slight space, and then make a third segment [using only the strand that was dyed techelet for this segment as well]. One should continue in this manner until the final segment, which is made of two coils of techelet and a final coil using a white strand.1 Since one began with a white strand, one concludes with it, because one should always ascend to a higher level of holiness, but never descend.2

Why should one begin using a white strand? So that [the coil that is] next to the corner of the garment should be similar to [the garment itself].

The same pattern is followed regarding all four corners.

ז

ולוקח חוט אחד מן הלבן וכורך בו כריכה אחת על שאר החוטין בצד הבגד ומניחו ולוקח חוט התכלת וכורך בו שתי כריכות בצד כריכה של לבן וקושר ואלו השלש כריכות הם הנקראין חוליא ומרחיק מעט ועושה חוליא שניה בחוט של תכלת לבדו ומרחיק מעט ועושה חוליא שלישית וכן עד חוליא אחרונה שהוא כורך בה שתי כריכות של תכלת וכריכה אחרונה של לבן מפני שהתחיל בלבן מסיים בו שמעלין בקודש ולא מורידין ולמה יתחיל בלבן כדי שיהא סמוך לכנף מינה ועל דרך זה הוא עושה בארבע הכנפות:

8

How many segments should be made at every corner? No fewer than seven and no more than thirteen.3

[The above] represents the most preferable way of performing the mitzvah. If, however, one wound only one segment around the strands, it is acceptable.4 Should one wind the techelet around the majority of the [length of the] tzitzit, it is acceptable. For the techelet to be attractive, [however,] all the segments should be in the upper third of the strands, and the [remaining] two thirds should hang loose.5

One must separate the strands like the locks of one's hair.6

ח

כמה חוליות הוא עושה בכל כנף לא פחות משבע ולא יותר משלש עשרה וזו היא מצוה מן המובחר ואם לא כרך עליה אלא חוליא אחת כשרה ואם כרך התכלת על רוב הציצית כשרה ונוי התכלת שיהיו כל החוליות בשליש החוטין המשולשלין ושני שלישיהן ענף וצריך לפרדו עד שיהיה כציצית שיער הראש:

9

A person who makes [tzitzit using only] white threads without using techelet7 should take one of the eight strands and wind it around the others, covering one third of [the length of] the strands and leaving two thirds hanging loose.

When winding [this strand around the others], one may create segments as one does when winding the techelet, if one desires. This is our custom. If, however, one desires to wind [the strand around the others] without creating segments, one may.8

The general principle is that one should intend that one third of the tzitzit be bound, and two thirds hang loose.9 There are those, however, who are not precise about this matter when [making tzitzit] with white threads [alone].

Should one wind a white thread around the majority [of the length] of the strands or should one make only a single segment,10 [the tzitzit] are acceptable.

ט

העושה לבן בלא תכלת לוקח אחד משמונה החוטין וכורך אותו על שאר החוטין עד שלישן ומניח שני שלישיתן ענף וכריכה זו אם רצה לכרוך אותה חוליות חוליות כעין שכורך בתכלת הרשות בידו וזה הוא מנהגנו ואם רצה לכרוך בלא מנין חוליות עושה כללו של דבר יתכוין להיות הכרוך שליש והענף שני שלישים ויש מי שאינו מדקדק בדבר זה בלבן ואם כרך הלבן על רוב החוטין או שלא כרך אלא חוליא אחת כשרה:

10

Both the white strands and those dyed techelet may be made out of entwined strands.11 Even a strand that is made from eight threads entwined into a single strand is considered as only a single strand in this context.

י

אחד חוטי לבן ואחד חוטי תכלת אם רצה לעשות שזורין עושה אפי' היה החוט כפול משמנה חוטין ושזור עד שנעשה פתיל אחד אינו נחשב אלא חוט אחד:

11

Both the white strands of the tzitzit and those dyedtechelet must be spun for the sake of being used for [the mitzvah of] tzitzit.

[Tzitzit] may not be made from wool which becomes attached to thorns when sheep graze among them, nor from hairs which are pulled off the animal, and not from the leftover strands of the woof which the weaver leaves over when he completes a garment. Rather, they must be made from shorn wool or from flax.

[Tzitzit] may not be made from wool which was stolen, which came from an ir hanidachat, or which came from a consecrated animal. If such wool was used, it is unacceptable. If a person bows down to an animal, its wool is not acceptable for use for tzitzit. If, however, one bows down to flax which is planted, it is acceptable, because it has been changed.

יא

חוטי הציצית בין לבן בין תכלת צריכין טויה לשם ציצית ואין עושין אותן לא מן הצמר הנאחז בקוצים כשהצאן רובצין ביניהם ולא מן הנימין הנתלשין מן הבהמה ולא משיורי שתי שהאורג משייר בסוף הבגד אלא מן הגזה של צמר או מן הפשתן ואין עושין אותן מצמר הגזול ולא משל עיר הנדחת ולא משל קדשים ואם עשה פסול המשתחוה לבהמה צמרה פסול לציצית אבל המשתחוה לפשתן הנטוע הרי זה כשר שהרי נשתנה:

Both the white strands of the tzitzit and those dyed techelet must be spun for the sake of being used for [the mitzvah of] tzitzit. - i.e., before one begins spinning the strands, one must state that he is doing so for the sake of use for tzitzit.

As explained in Hilchot Tefillin 1:11, any time when an activity must be carried out lishmah, it cannot be performed by a gentile. Therefore, the strands may not be spun by a gentile alone (Ramah, Orach Chayim 11:1).

[Tzitzit] may not be made from wool which becomes attached to thorns when sheep graze among them, nor from hairs which are pulled off the animal, and not from the leftover strands of the woof which the weaver leaves over when he completes a garment. - Tzitzit must be made from the same fabric as that which was used for the garment to which they are attached. Since these three sorts of wool are of an inferior quality and are not suitable for use in a garment itself, they may not be used for tzitzit either (Sefer HaMaor, Sukkah).

Rather, they must be made from shorn wool or from flax.

[Tzitzit] may not be made from wool which was stolen - Numbers 15:38 states: "And you shall make tzitzit for yourselves." The latter term implies that the tzitzit must belong to their owner and may not be stolen.

One of the principles of Jewish law is that if the form of a stolen article is altered and its original owner gives up hope of its return, it is acquired by the thief, and he is required merely to return its worth, but not the article itself. Note Shulchan Aruch HaRav 11:12 and the Mishnah Berurah 11:30, which discuss the implications of this principle on the use of stolen wool for tzitzit.

which came from an ir hanidachat - An ir hanidachat is a city condemned to be destroyed because the majority of its inhabitants worshiped idols. All property contained within the city is condemned to be burned and is considered as if it does not exist. (See Hilchot Avodat Kochavim, Chapter 4.)

or which came from a consecrated animal - an animal designated to be offered as a sacrifice. Tzitzit can be made only from wool that belongs "to you." Once an animal is designated for sacrificial purposes, it is no longer considered as belonging to a private individual (Sefer HaKovetz).

If such wool was used, it is unacceptable.

If a person bows down to an animal, its wool is not acceptable for use for tzitzit. - In contrast to other objects worshiped as false deities, an animal does not become condemned and may be used for other purposes (Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 8:1). Nevertheless, wool of this nature is unfit to use for a ritual purpose. (See Hilchot Issurei HaMizbe'ach 3:6.)

If, however, one bows down to flax which is planted, it is acceptable - for use as tzitzit

because it has been changed - and no longer resembles the object which was worshiped. (See Hilchot Issurei Hamizbe'ach 3:14.)

12

Tzitzit that were made by a gentile are not acceptable, as [implied by Numbers 15:38, which] states: "Speak to the children of Israel... and you shall make tzitzit for yourselves." If, however, a Jew made tzitzit without the intention [that they be used for the mitzvah], they are acceptable.

Tzitzit that are made from those already existing are not acceptable.

יב

ציצית שעשה אותו כותי פסול שנאמר דבר אל בני ישראל ועשו להם ציצית אבל אם עשה אותה ישראל בלא כוונה כשרה וציצית שנעשה מן העשוי מקודם פסול:

Tzitzit that were made - i.e., attached to the garment and tied

by a gentile are not acceptable, as [implied by Numbers 15:38, which] states: "Speak to the children of Israel... and you shall make tzitzit for yourselves." - Menachot 42a relates that this verse serves as the source for the ruling that only a Jew may tie tzitzit.

The Hagahot Maimoniot state that since the phrase ישראל בני literally means "sons of Israel," tzitzit should not be made by women. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 14:1) does not accept this opinion. The Ramah, however, states that it is preferable for women not to tie tzitzit.

If, however, a Jew made tzitzit without the intention [that they be used for the mitzvah], they are acceptable. - This principle can be derived from the above concept. Were it necessary for the tzitzit to be tied with the intent that they be used for the mitzvah, there would be no need for a special verse from the Torah to teach that those made by a gentile are unacceptable. The concept would be self-explanatory. Whenever a deed must be performed with a specific intention, a gentile's acts are not acceptable (Kessef Mishneh).

The Ashkenazic authorities do not accept this premise and maintain that, at the very least, the strands must be attached to the garment with the intent that they be used for the mitzvah. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 14:2.)

Tzitzit that are made from those already existing are not acceptable. - This principle is explained and illustrated in detail in the following four halachot.

13

What is implied? Should a person bring the corner of a garment which has tzitzit attached to it and sew it onto another garment, it is not acceptable. [This applies] even if that corner of the garment is a square cubit in size.

[This concept is derived from Numbers 15:38, which] states: "And you shall make tzitzit for yourselves" - i.e., [you should make them] and not [use those] which were made previously,since this would be as if [the mitzvah] came about on its own accord.

It is permissible to remove strands [of tzitzit] - whether white or techelet - from one garment and tie them on another.

יג

כיצד הביא כנף שיש בה ציצית ותפרה על הבגד אפילו יש באותה הכנף אמה על אמה פסול שנאמר ועשו להם ציצית לא מן העשוי שהרי זה דומה למי שנעשית מאיליה ומותר להתיר ציצית מבגד זה ולתלותם בבגד אחר בין לבן בין תכלת:

14

Should one suspend the strands between two corners of the garment and tie [tzitzit on] each of the corners in the proper manner, and then separate them from each other,12 it is unacceptable.

[The rationale is] that, at the time they were tied, they were unacceptable, since the two corners were connected with each other through the strands. When the strands were cut, two tzitzit were made. This is considered as making tzitzit from those which already exist.13

יד

תלה החוטין בין שתי כנפים מזו לזו וקשר כנף זו כהלכתה וכנף זו כהלכתה ואח"כ חתכן באמצע ונפרדו זה מזה פסול שהרי בעת שקשרן היו פסולין לפי ששתי הכנפים מעורות זו בזו בחוטין שביניהן ובשעה שפסקן נעשו שתי ציציות נמצא עושה מן העשוי:

15

[The following rules apply when] a person ties tzitzit over existing tzitzit: Should [he tie the second set] with the intention of nullifying the first set, if he unties or cuts off the first set,14 the tzitzit are acceptable.15

Should, however, [he have tied the second set] with the intention of adding [a second tzitzit, the tzitzit] are not acceptable even though he cuts one of them off.16 When he added the second tzitzit, he disqualified both sets17, and when he unties or cuts off the additional one, the remaining one is [disqualified because it involves] making [tzitzit] from those which are already existing, since the manner in which it existed previously was not acceptable.

טו

הטיל ציצית על הציצית אם נתכוון לבטל את הראשונות מתיר הראשונה או חותכה וכשרה ואם נתכוון להוסיף אף על פי שחתך אחת משתיהן הרי זו פסולה שהרי כשהוסיף פסל את הכל וכשהתיר או חתך התוספת נמצא השאר נעשה מן העשוי שעשייתו הראשונה פסולה היתה:

16

Similarly, all the tzitzit of a garment are unacceptable18

[in the following instance]: A person placed tzitzit on a garment that had three corners.19 afterwards, he made the garment a fourth corner and placed tzitzit on it. [This is also excluded by the commandment, Deuteronomy 22:12:]20 "Make braids," [which implies that one may not use those] which were made previously.

טז

וכן המטיל לבעלת שלש ואחר כך השלימה לארבע והטיל לרביעית כולה פסולה שנאמר תעשה ולא מן העשוי:

17

A garment should not be folded in half, and then tzitzit hung on the four corners of the folded garment,21 unless one sews it along [one] side entirely. [It is sufficient, however, to sew it] on one side alone.22

יז

אין כופלין את הטלית לשנים ומטילין ציצית על ד' כנפיה כשהיא כפולה אלא אם כן תפרה כולה ואפילו מרוח אחת:

18

[The following rules apply] if the corner [of the garment] to which the tzitzit were attached is torn off the garment: If more than three fingerbreadths were torn, it may be sewed back in its place.23

If less than three fingerbreadths were torn off, it should not be sewn back.24

If the portion of the garment is between [the hole through which] the tzitzit [are attached] and the end of the garment, it is acceptable, even though only the smallest portion of the fabric remains.25

Similarly, if the [length of the] strands of the tzitzit was reduced,26 it is acceptable, as long as enough of the strand remains to tie a loop. Should, however, even a single strand be torn off [from the place to which it is attached to the garment], it is no longer acceptable.27

יח

נפסק הכנף שיש בה ציצית חוץ לשלש אצבעות תופרה במקומה בתוך שלש לא יתפור נתמעטה זוית של בגד שבין חוטי הציצית ובין סוף הארוג אפילו לא נשאר מן הארוג אלא כל שהוא כשר וכן אם נתמעטו חוטי הציצית אפילו לא נשתייר מהם אלא כדי עניבה כשר ואם נפסק החוט מעיקרו אפילו חוט אחד פסולה:

Footnotes
1.

The pattern of winding the techelet mentioned by the Rambam is based on his interpretation of Menachot 39a. As the Rambam mentions in Halachah 9, it must be followed only when the tzitzit include a strand of techelet. If they do not, as in the case of our tzitzit, different principles apply.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's approach and suggests a different manner of winding the coils of the tzitzit, which resembles the pattern we use today. The Rambam was aware of this approach and, in one of his responsa, explains that the method he mentioned has its source in the Talmud (Menachot, ibid.), while the other approach is of later origin.

2.

Rashi, Menachot, ibid., states that since the white strand was used first, not ending with it would appear to detract from its importance.

The principle, "one should always ascend to a higher level of holiness, but never descend," is applied in many other contexts within Torah law - e.g., Hilchot Tefillin 3:17.

3.

Menachot 39a explains that the techelet reminds one of the heavens. There are seven heavens and six spaces between them, thus resulting in a total of thirteen.

4.

This law also applies at present, as mentioned in the following halachah.

5.

Note the Zohar, Vol. III, p. 228b, which explains the mystical significance of the division of the tzitzit into three portions.

6.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 8:7) obligates one to separate the strands of the tzitzit before putting on one's garment. Note the Mishnah Berurah 8:18, which quotes the Ari zal as stating that the word ציצת is an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, "A righteous person constantly separates his tzitzit."

7.

As mentioned in Halachot 4-5, the absence of techelet does not prevent one from fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzit. Indeed, this is the manner in which most people fulfill the mitzvah at present.

8.

Significantly, besides the knot with which the tzitzit are attached to the garment (Halachah 7), the Rambam does not mention tying knots in the tzitzit at all. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 11:14) mentions the common practice in which five knots are tied on the strands, leaving four spaces, which are filled with coils in between them. There are certain authorities who combine the two opinions, tying the knots as mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch, but dividing the coils into segments as the Rambam mentions (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 11:27-28,31).

9.

If the tzitzit lack entirely strands which hang loose, they are unacceptable (Kessef Mishneh).

10.

This principle is also accepted by the opinions that do not require that the coils be divided into segments of three. Even so, for tzitzit to be acceptable, they must possess at least three coils (Mishnah Berurah 11:63,66).

11.

The Rambam leaves the use of entwined strands up to a person's choice. The Ra'avad objects, quoting a passage from the Sifre that requires that the strands of the tzitzit be made by entwining different threads together. Numbers 15:38 uses the expression, p'til techelet. The word p'til implies "twisted threads." See the Targum Yonaton to this verse. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 11:2) follows the Ra'avad's view and obligates the use of entwined strands. From Chapter 2, Halachah 7, it appears that the Rambam also considered this as the common practice.

11. The Rambam leaves the use of entwined strands up to a person's choice. The Ra'avad objects, quoting a passage from the Sifre that requires that the strands of the tzitzit be made by entwining different threads together. Numbers 15:38 uses the expression, p'til techelet. The word p'til implies "twisted threads." See the Targum Yonaton to this verse.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 11:2) follows the Ra'avad's view and obligates the use of entwined strands. From Chapter 2, Halachah 7, it appears that the Rambam also considered this as the common practice.

12.

The Rambam is speaking about the following instance: The person used long strands and placed one end of them through each of the two holes. Afterwards, using the strands from each corner that was not passed through the hole, he tied both tzitzit, and then separated them from each other.

13.

This law is based on the Rambam's interpretation of Sukkah 11a-b. Others (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 11:13) interpret that passage as speaking about the tzitzit of a single corner. If one inserts a single long strand in the hole several times, thus producing eight strands, ties the tzitzit, and then separates the strands from each other, the tzitzit are not acceptable. This is also considered as making tzitzit from those which are already existing.

14.

See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 11:24, which describes the manner in which tzitzit should be removed from a garment.

15.

Since he intended to remove the initial tzitzit, there is nothing wrong with attaching the second one (Menachot 40b).

16.

According to the Rambam, it does not matter which tzitzit he removes. For the tzitzit to be acceptable, both sets have to be removed, and then a single set retied.

17.

By adding the second set, he transgresses the prohibition against adding to the mitzvot of the Torah. Therefore, both sets of tzitzit are disqualified. The Ra'avad and the Ashkenazic authorities do not accept the Rambam's decision. They maintain that while both sets of tzitzit are hanging from the garment, their existence is not considered at all significant. It is as if they do not exist at all. Therefore, by removing the extra set, one is not making tzitzit from ones which previously exist. On the contrary, one is bringing an acceptable set of tzitzit into existence.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 10:6) accepts the Rambam's view. The Ramah, however, follows the other opinions.

18.

The Rambam's statements have raised questions. Though all commentaries agree that the three tzitzit made when the garment had only three corners are unacceptable, the question revolves around the fourth corner. Why is the tzitzit made upon it disqualified? When it was made, the garment already had four corners. On this basis, the Magen Avraham (10:6) rules that, indeed, the fourth tzitzit is not disqualified and may remain.

19.

Tzitzit are required only on a garment with four corners, as stated in the proof-text quoted from Deuteronomy and mentioned in Chapter 3, Halachah 1.

20.

There is a slight difficulty with the Rambam's statements: In this halachah he cites the verse from Deuteronomy as a proof-text, while in Halachah 13 he cited a verse from Numbers.

21.

Although in its present state, the garment has four corners, unless it is sewn it is possible that the folds will open and the position of the corners will change (Menachot 41a). Note the Ramah (Orach Chayim 10:6), who quotes a difference of opinion where the tzitzit should be placed during the time the garment is folded. Because of this difference of opinion, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 10:13 suggests not wearing such a garment unless it is sewn closed.

22.

Our translation follows the explanation of the Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 10). Note, however, the explanation of the Be'ur Halachah 10.

23.

When the torn portion is three fingerbreadths long, it is considered as the "corner" of the garment. Therefore, the tzitzit are considered to be attached to a significant portion of the garment and need not be untied before the corner can be sewn back on the garment (Nimukei Yosef, Menachot 40b). The commentaries note the apparent contradiction between this law and Halachah 13, which forbids one to sew a piece of a garment to which tzitzit are attached to another garment. The commentaries differentiate between these two laws, explaining that there is a difference between a piece of fabric from another garment (Halachah 13) and a portion of the original garment which was detached (the present halachah). The Turei Zahav 15:3 does not accept this distinction, and maintains that even attaching a piece of the original garment is unacceptable. The later authorities suggest following this stringency.

24.

A portion of a garment less than three fingerbreadths long is not considered significant. Therefore, the tzitzit are no longer considered to be attached to part of the garment. Accordingly, when this fragment is sewn back to the garment, the tzitzit attached to it will be disqualified, based on the principle that one must make tzitzit and not use those existing previously. If, however, one untied the tzitzit, one may sew the detached corner back onto the garment, and then attach new tzitzit to it (Rav David Arameah).

The Kessef Mishneh quotes Rav Amram Gaon as stating that, if such a small portion was detached from the garment, tzitzit may never be attached to the garment again. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 15:4) suggests following this more stringent view if possible.

25.

Although initially the tzitzit had to be positioned a certain distance above the end of the garment, as mentioned in Halachah 6, after they were attached to the garment in the proper manner, there is greater leniency (Menachot 42a). The Ramah (Orach Chayim 11:10) suggests sewing a border around the hole through which the strands are placed so that it will not tear.

26.

For example, they became torn. Based on Menachot 38b, the Rabbis have offered two interpretations of "enough to tie a loop":

a) enough to tie a loop around all the strands of the tzitzit;
b) enough to tie a loop around the strand itself.
The grammatical construction of the Rambam's statements indicates - albeit not definitely - that he favors the latter view.

(Note the Be'ur Halachah 12, which states that the measure "to tie a loop" surely does not exceed four centimeters.)

The Rambam maintains that even if the majority of all the strands of the tzitzit were cut off, as long as "enough to tie a loop remains," the tzitzit are acceptable. If, however, both ends of one long strand are cut off entirely, the tzitzit are not acceptable. Rabbenu Tam does not accept this decision and requires that at least two entire strands remain their full length. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 12:1.) The later authorities, particularly in the Ashkenazi community, suggest following Rabbenu Tam's view.

27.

See Turei Zahav 12:3.

Tzitzit - Chapter Two

1

The term techelet mentioned throughout the Torah refers to wool dyed light blue - i.e., the color of the sky which appears opposite the sun when there is a clear sky.

The term techelet when used regarding tzitzit refers to a specific dye that remains beautiful without changing. [If the techelet] is not dyed with this dye, it is unfit to be used as tzitzit even though it is sky blue in color. For example, using isatis, black dye, or other dark dyes, is unacceptable for tzitzit.

The wool of a ewe that a goat gave birth to is unacceptable for use as tzitzit.

א

תכלת האמורה בתורה בכל מקום היא הצמר הצבוע כפתוך שבכחול וזו היא דמות הרקיע הנראית לעין השמש בטהרו של רקיע והתכלת האמורה בציצית צריך שתהיה צביעתה צביעה ידועה שעומדת ביופיה ולא תשתנה וכל שלא נצבע באותה צביעה פסול לציצית אע"פ שהוא כעין הרקיע כגון שצבעו באסטיס או בשחור או בשאר המשחירין הרי זה פסול לציצית רחל בת עז צמרה פסול לציצית:

2

How is the techelet of tzitzit dyed? Wool is taken and soaked in lime. Afterwards, it is taken and washed until it is clean and then boiled with bleach and the like, as is the dyers' practice, to prepare it to accept the dye. A chilazon is a fish whose color is like the color of the sea and whose blood is black like ink.1 It is found in the Mediterranean Sea.2
The blood is placed in a pot together with herbs - e.g., chamomile - as is the dyers' practice. It is boiled and then the wool is inserted. [It is left there] until it becomes sky-blue. This is the manner in which the techelet of tzitzit [is made].

ב

כיצד צובעין תכלת של ציצית לוקחין הצמר ושורין אותו בסיד ואחר כך מכבסין אותו עד שיהיה נקי ומרתיחים אותו באהלא וכיוצא בו כדרך שהצבעין עושין כדי שיקלוט את העין ואח"כ מביאין דם חלזון והוא דג שדומה עינו לעין התכלת ודמו שחור כדיו ובים המלח הוא מצוי ונותנין את הדם ליורה ונותנין עמו סממנין כמו הקמוניא וכיוצא בהן כדרך שהצבעין עושין ומרתיחין אותו ונותנין בו הצמר עד שיעשה כעין רקיע וזו היא התכלת של ציצית:

3

One must dye tzitzit techelet with the intention that it be used for the mitzvah. If one did not have such an intention, it is unacceptable.

When one places some wool in the pot in which the dye was placed, to check whether the dye is good or not, the entire pot may no longer be used [for tzitzit].3 [If so,] how should one check [the dye]? He should take some dye from the pot in a small container and place the wool he uses to check in it. Afterwards, he should burn the wool used to check - for it was dyed for the purpose of checking4 - and pour out the dye used to check it, since using it for an experiment disqualified it. Afterwards, he should dye [the wool] techelet with the remainder of the dye which was not used.

ג

התכלת של ציצית צריכה צביעה לשמה ואם צבעה שלא לשמה פסולה והיורה שיש בה הצבע אם צבע בה מעט צמר לבדקו אם הוא יפה אם לאו נפסלה היורה כולה אלא כיצד יעשה לוקח הצבע מן היורה בכלי קטן ומניח בו צמר שבודק בו ושורף את שבדק שהרי נצבע לבדיקה ושופך הצבע שבכלי שבדק בו שהרי טעמו ופסלו וצובע התכלת בשאר הצבע שלא נפגם:

4

Techelet should only be purchased from a recognized dealer because we are concerned that perhaps it was not dyed with the intention that it be used for the mitzvah. Even though it was purchased from a recognized dealer, if it was checked,5 and it was discovered that it was dyed with another dark dye which is not of a permanent nature, it is not acceptable.6

ד

התכלת אינה נלקחת אלא מן המומחה חוששין שמא נצבעה שלא לשמה אף על פי שנלקחה מן המומחה אם נבדקה ונודעה שנצבעה באחד משאר צבעונין המשחירים שאינן עומדין פסולה:

5

How can techelet be checked to see whether it has been dyed properly or not? One takes straw, the secretion of a snail, and urine that had been left standing for forty days and leaves thetechelet in this mixture for an entire day. If the color of thetechelet remained unchanged, without becoming weaker, it is acceptable.

If it became weaker, we place the techelet which changed color inside a dough of barley meal that was left to sour for fish brine. The dough is baked in an oven, and then the techelet is removed. If it became even weaker than it was previously, it is unacceptable. If this strengthened the color and it became darker than it was before being baked, it is acceptable.7

ה

כיצד בודקין אותה עד שיודע אם נצבעה כהלכתה אם לאו לוקחין תבן וריר של שבלול ומי רגלים שנתחמצו ארבעים יום ושורין התכלת בכולן מעת לעת אם עמדה בעינה ולא כהתה כשרה ואם כהתה לוקחין בצק של שעורין שמעפשין אותו למורייס ונותנין את זו התכלת שנשתנית בתוכו ואופה הבצק בתנור ומוציאים התכלת מן הפת ורואין אותה אם כהתה ממה שהיתה פסולה ואם הוסיף עינה והושחרה יותר ממה שהיתה קודם האפייה כשרה:

6

One may purchase techelet from an outlet which has established a reputation for authenticity without question. It need not be checked. One may continue to rely [on its reputation] until a reason for suspicion arises.

Should one entrust techelet to a gentile for safekeeping, it is no longer fit for use, [because] we fear that he exchanged it. If it was in a container and closed with two seals, one seal inside the other,8 it is acceptable. If, however, it had only a single seal, it may not be used.

ו

חצר שמוכרין בה תכלת והיו מוחזקין בכשרות לוקחין ממנה סתם ואין צריך בדיקה והרי היא בחזקתה עד שתחשד המפקיד תכלת אצל הכותי הרי זה פסולה שמא החליפה ואם היתה בכלי והיה חתום בשני חותמות חותם בתוך חותם כשרה בחותם אחד פסולה:

7

If a person found techelet in the marketplace - even strands which were cut - it is not fit for use.9If they were twisted together, however, they are acceptable.10

[The following rules apply when] a person purchases a garment to which tzitzit are attached in the marketplace. When he purchases it from a Jew, he may presume [that it is acceptable]. If he purchases it from a gentile merchant, it is [presumed to be] acceptable;11
from a non-Jew who is a private person, it is not acceptable.

ז

המוצא תכלת בשוק אפילו מצא חוטין פסוקין פסולה שזורין כשרה הלוקח טלית מצוייצת מן השוק מישראל הרי היא בחזקתה מן הכותי התגר כשרה מן ההדיוט פסולה:

8

When a garment is entirely red, green, or any other color [besides white], its white strands should be made from the same color as the garment itself. If it is green, they should be green. If it is red, they should be red.12

Should the garment itself be techelet, its white strands should be made from any color other than black,13
for it resembles techelet. He should wind one strand of techelet around all the strands, as one does with other tzitzit that are not colored.

ח

טלית שהיא כולה אדומה או ירוקה או משאר צבעונין עושה חוטי לבן שלה כעין צבעה אם ירוקה ירוקין אם אדומה אדומין היתה כולה תכלת עושה לבן שלה משאר צבעונין חוץ מן השחור מפני שהוא נראה כתכלת וכורך על הכל חוט אחד תכלת כדרך שעושין בשאר ציציות שאינן צבועין:

9

The punishment given someone who does not wear [tzitzit of white strands] is more severe than that given one who does not wear techelet, because the white strands are easily accessible while techelet is not available in every time and in every era, because of the [unique] dye mentioned above.14

ט

קשה עונש מי שאינו מניח לבן יותר מעונש שלא הניח תכלת לפי שהלבן מצוי לכל והתכלת אינו מצויה בכ"מ ולא בכל זמן מפני הצבע שאמרנו:



Footnotes
1.

The identity of the chilazon is a matter of question. Menachot 44a states that it would be visible only once in seventy years. From Bechorot 6:2, one can infer that it was a long snakelike fish. From other sources, it appears to be a snaillike animal. In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Menachot 4:1), the Rambam writes that techelet is no longer available. Similarly, Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi (who lived two generations before the Rambam) writes that "we do not have techelet."

Approximately one hundred years ago, Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner attempted to reintroduce a dye which he determined to betechelet. Similarly, Rabbi Herzog, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, attempted to locate the chilazon. Although, from a theoretical perspective, the Torah community appreciated the value of their research, in practice, their decisions were not accepted by the majority of Torah scholars.

2.

Though ים המלח generally refers to the Dead Sea, there are times when the Rambam uses this term to refer to the Mediterranean. See the conclusion of his Commentary on the Mishnah.

3.

Menachot 42b interprets the phrase, "totally techelet" (Exodus 28:31), to mean that the entire dye must be intended for a ritual purpose.

4.

Thus, it is unfit to be used for tzitzit. This wool should be burned lest it be discovered by someone else and unknowingly used for tzitzit.

5.
Since it was purchased from a recognized dealer, there is no obligation to check it. Nevertheless, if it was checked, it can be disqualified. See Halachah 6.
6.

The Rambam's statements appear to imply that the blood of the chilazon must be used for tzitzit, not because of a Torah decree, but because it was the only lasting dye they had (Kinat Eliyahu).

7.

These processes are mentioned in Menachot 42b-43a.

8.

The concept of two seals is explained in the laws of kashrut. See Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 13:8.

9.

Even if it proves to be techelet, we assume that it was not dyed for the purpose of being used for tzitzit.

10.

We assume that twisted strands of techelet were made to be used for tzitzit. It is unlikely that someone would go to the trouble of twisting strands of techelet for any other purpose. (See the Ra'avad.)

Our text follows the standard published versions of the Mishneh Torah, which is supported by a responsum purported to have been written by the Rambam. The original printings and many authoritative editions of the Mishneh Torah state that even twisted strands of techelet are not acceptable when found in the marketplace. This version appears to be supported by the Rambam's ruling, Hilchot Shabbat 19:24, which is based on the same Talmudic passage, Eruvin 96b.

11.

We assume that a merchant will not risk tarnishing his reputation by misrepresenting an article.

12.

The rationale for this decision is that tzitzit must be "of the same type of fabric as the fringe of the garment." This also implies that they should share the same color as the fringe (Rashi, Menachot 43b).

This decision is not shared by Tosafot, Menachot 41b, which rules that white strands are appropriate even when the garment itself is of another color. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 9:5) mentions that those who are precise in their performance of mitzvot follow the Rambam's view. The Ramah, however, maintains that one should use white tzitziot for all garments.

13.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that the Rambam's statements are not an exact quote from his source, Menachot, ibid., which substitutes the word kelah ilan instead of black. Kelah ilan is a dye which looks almost exactly the same as techelet except that it is not made from the blood of the chilazon. The Kessef Mishneh suggests that the Rambam meant that any dark color is unacceptable although lighter colors would be acceptable. It is necessary that there be a contrast between the color of the strands of tzitzit, just as there is a contrast between white and techelet.

14.

Even in Talmudic times, techelet was very expensive and difficult to obtain. As mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 1, according to most authorities, techelet is not available in the present era, nor has it been available for at least 1000 years.
144

Tzitzit - Chapter Three

1

A garment to which the Torah obligates a person to attach tzitzit [must meet the following requirements]:
a) it must have four - or more than four - corners;
b) it must be large enough to cover both the head and the majority of the body of a child who is able to walk on his own in the marketplace without having someone else accompany him and watch him;
c) it must be made of either wool or linen alone.

א

כסות שחייב אדם לעשות בה ציצית מן התורה היא כסות שיש לה ארבע כנפים או יותר על ארבע ותהיה מדתה כדי שיתכסה בה ראשו ורובו של קטן המתהלך לבדו בשוק ואינו צריך אחר לשומרו ולילך עמו ותהיה הכסות של צמר או של פשתן בלבד:

A garment to which the Torah obligates a person to attach tzitzit - With this expression, the Rambam could be alluding to the concept that a person is not obligated to wear tzitzit. Should a person desire to wear a garment of the type that requires tzitzit, then he has the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah. See Halachot 10-11.

[must meet the following requirements]: a) it must have four - Deuteronomy 22:12 states: "Make braids on the four corners of your garments." As explained in Halachah 3, this excludes a garment with fewer than four corners.

or more than four - corners; - See Halachah 3.

b) it must be large enough to cover both the head and the majority of the body of a child - Menachot 41a adds that the garment must be large enough for an adult to use it occasionally.

This requirement is particularly significant regarding a tallit katan. Note the Mishnah Berurah 16:4, which requires that a tallit katan be at least 0.75 of a cubit long and 0.75 of a cubit wide on each side, without including the area of the hole where one's head is inserted. Preferably, the tallit katan should be a cubit by a cubit on each side.

who is able to walk on his own in the marketplace without having someone else accompany him and watch him; - The Tur (Orach Chayim 16) defines this as referring to a child who is at least nine years old.

c) it must be made of either wool or linen alone. - as explained in the following halachah.

2

In contrast, a garment made of other fabrics - for example, clothes of silk, cotton, camels' wool, hares' wool, goats' wool, and the like - are required to have tzitzit only because of Rabbinic decree, in order to show regard for the mitzvah of tzitzit.

[These garments require tzitzit only] when they are four-cornered - or have more than four corners - and are of the measure mentioned above.

[The motivating principle for this law] is that all the garments mentioned in the Torah without any further explanation refer to those made of either wool or linen alone.

ב

אבל טלית של שאר מינין כגון בגדי משי ובגדי צמר גפן ובגדי צמר גמלים וצמר ארנבים ונוצה של עזים וכיוצא בהן אין חייבין במצות ציצית אלא מדברי חכמים כדי להזהר במצות ציצית והוא שתהיה מרובעת או יותר על ארבע ויהיה שיעורה כשיעור שאמרנו שכל הבגדים האמורים בתורה סתם אינם אלא צמר ופשתים בלבד:

In contrast, a garment made of other fabrics - for example, clothes of silk, cotton, camels' wool, hares' wool, goats' wool, - The term "wool" when used without any modifier refers to wool from sheep or rams alone.

and the like - are required to have tzitzit only because of Rabbinic decree - The Rambam's opinion is quoted as halachah by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 9:1). The Ashkenazic authorities, however (see the Ramah), disagree and maintain that all four-cornered garments require tzitzit regardless of the fabric they are made of. This difference of opinion results from the interpretation of a debate between Amoraim (Menachot 39b).

Because of this difference of opinion, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 9:6) suggests that everyone wear a tallit of wool, so that he will fulfill the mitzvah as required by the Torah according to all opinions. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 9:4 and the Mishnah Berurah 9:5 suggest that a God-fearing person should have both his tallit gadol and his tallit katan made of wool. See also the commentary on Halachah 5.

in order to show regard for the mitzvah of tzitzit. - Were tzitzit not required to be attached to these garments, people might not attach them to the garments which do require them.

[These garments require tzitzit only] when they are four-cornered - or have more than four corners - and are of the measure mentioned above. - Even when extending the scope of the mitzvah, the Rabbis maintained these criteria, which are explained in the previous halachah.

[The motivating principle for this law] - as explained in Menachot, ibid.

is that all the garments mentioned in the Torah without any further explanation - This includes the garments to which tzitzit are attached, as Numbers 15:38 states: "On the corners of their garments."

refer to those made of either wool or linen alone. - Since, regarding the prohibition against mixing fabrics (sha'atnez, Hilchot Kilayim 10:1) and the laws of tzara'at (leprosy, Hilchot Tumat Tzara'at 13:1), the Torah mentions garments of wool and linen, we can assume that any place in the Torah which mentions the word "garment" is referring to one made from wool or linen unless another fabric is explicitly mentioned.

3

"On the four corners of your garments" (Deuteronomy 22:12): This applies to a garment which possesses four corners, but not to one which possesses only three. Perhaps, [it comes to include] a four-cornered garment and [to exclude] a five-cornered garment? The Torah continues: "with which you cover yourself." This includes even a five- (or more) cornered garment.

Why do I obligate a garment of five corners and exempt a garment of three corners? Neither has four corners [as required by the above verse]. Because a five-cornered garment has four corners.

Accordingly, when one attaches tzitzit to a garment with five or six corners, one should attach the tzitzit only to the four corners which are farthest apart from each other from among these five or six corners, as [implied by the phrase,] "On the four corners of your garments."

ג

על ארבע כנפות כסותך בעלת ארבע ולא בעלת שלש אם כן בעלת ארבע ולא בעלת חמש תלמוד לומר אשר תכסה בה אפילו בעלת חמש או יותר על זה ולמה אני מחייב בעלת חמש ופוטר בעלת שלש ושתיהן אינן בעלי ארבע כנפות מפני שיש בכלל החמש ארבע לפיכך כשהוא עושה ציצית לבעלת חמש או שש אינו עושה אלא לארבע כנפים המרוחקות זו מזו מאותן החמש או השש בלבד שנאמר על ארבע כנפות כסותך:

"On the four corners of your garments" (Deuteronomy 22:12): - In this halachah, the Rambam departs from his usual pattern of stating a law tersely without explanation, and quotes the entire passage (Menachot 43b), from which these laws are derived.

This - The Torah's command to attach tzitzit

applies to a garment which possesses four corners, but not to one which possesses only three - since the mention of a specific number of corners obviously is intended to exclude garments which do not meet this requirement.

Perhaps, [it - this phrase

comes to include] a four-cornered garment and [to exclude] a five-cornered garment? - i.e., why restrict the scope of the exclusion?

The Torah continues: "with which you cover yourself." This - extra phrase, which has no apparent purpose was added to

includes even a five- (or more) cornered garment. - One also "covers himself" with such garments.

The Talmud continues, asking

Why do I obligate a garment of five corners and exempt a garment of three corners? - Why is the inclusion applied to a five-cornered garment and the exclusion to a three-cornered garment? Perhaps they should be reversed, after all,

Neither - a three- or five-cornered garment

has four corners [as required by the above verse]. - The Talmud answers:

Because a five-cornered garment has four corners. - Therefore, it is logical to assume that the inclusion applies to it. This concludes the quotation from the Talmud.

Accordingly, - Since the reason tzitzit are placed on a five-cornered garment is that it possesses four corners

when one attaches tzitzit to a garment with five or six corners, one should attach the tzitzit only to the four corners - Indeed, if one attaches tzitzit to more than four corners of the garment, one transgresses the prohibition against adding to a Torah commandment (Magen Avraham 10:2).

which are farthest apart from each other - for, in this way, the tzitzit will be more noticeable (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 10:3).

from among these five or six corners, as [implied by the phrase,] "On the four corners of your garments." - There are other opinions, which maintain that a garment with more than four corners does not require tzitzit. In consideration of these opinions, it is preferable not to wear such garments at all (Magen Avraham 10:1).

4

If a garment is made of cloth and its corners of leather, it requires tzitzit. If the garment is of leather and its corners are of cloth, it does not require tzitzit. The determining factor is the makeup of the garment itself.

A garment belonging to two partners requires [tzitzit], as [implied by Numbers 15:38]: "On the corners of their garments." The term "your garments" [(Deuteronomy 22:12), which is interpreted as an exclusion,] excludes only a borrowed garment, since a borrowed garment does not require tzitzit for thirty days. Afterwards, it does require them.

ד

כסות של בגד וכנפיה של עור חייבת היא של עור וכנפיה של בגד פטורה שאין הולכין אלא אחר עיקר הכסות כסות של שני שותפין חייבת שנאמר על כנפי בגדיהם לא נאמר כסותך אלא למעט שאולה שהטלית השאולה פטורה מן הציצית שלשים יום מכאן ואילך חייבת:

13A garment made of leather does not require tzitzit. Deuteronomy 15:38 states that tzitzit must be attached to בגדיהם, "their garments." The word בגד implies a woven garment and not one of leather (Levush, Orach Chayim 10:4). Thus, a leather garment does not require tzitzit.

If a garment is made of cloth - any cloth, not only wool or linen

and its corners of leather, it requires tzitzit. - The same law applies when not only the corners, but also a portion of the garment itself, is leather. As long as the majority of the garment is cloth, it requires tzitzit (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 10:8; Mishnah Berurah 10:10).

If the garment is of leather and its corners are of cloth - In this case as well, as long as the majority of the garment is leather

it does not require tzitzit. The determining factor is the makeup of the garment itself. - This is derived from the conclusion of the verse from Deuteronomy, "with which you cover yourself." A person covers himself with the major portion of the garment (Rabbenu Manoach).

A garment belonging to two partners requires [tzitzit], as [implied by Numbers 15:38]: "On the corners of their garments." - Here, the usage of a plural term implies an inclusion of garments which belong to many owners.

In contrast,

The term "your garments" - In this verse, the singular form of the word "your" is used.

[(Deuteronomy 22:12), which is interpreted as an exclusion], excludes only a borrowed garment, since a borrowed garment does not require tzitzit for thirty days. - Nevertheless, one is allowed to attach tzitzit to the garment if one chooses. Furthermore, one is allowed to borrow a colleague's tallit and recite a blessing over it - even without his knowledge (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 14:3-4).

Afterwards, it does require them. - Note the Hagahot Maimoniot, which explain that, even after thirty days, the Torah does not require a person to attach tzitzit to a garment which is not his own. The Sages, however, imposed this obligation because the garment appears to be his.

5

For a garment of wool, the white strands should be made of wool. For a garment of linen, the white strands should be made of linen. For garments of other [fabrics], the white strands should be made from the same fabric as the garment itself. For example, silk strands should be used for a silk garment, strands of goats' wool should be used for garments of goats' wool.

If one desired to make white strands of wool or linen for [garments of] any type [of fabric], one may, because [strands of] wool and linen can fulfill the obligation [of tzitzit] for garments made of their own fabric or for garments made of other fabrics. In contrast, [strands made] from other fabrics can fulfill the obligation [of tzitzit] only for garments made of their own fabric.

ה

כסות של צמר עושין לבן שלה חוטי צמר וכסות של פשתן עושין לבן שלה חוטי פשתן ממינה ושאר בגדים עושין לבן של כל מין ומין ממינו כגון חוטי משי לכסות משי וחוטי נוצה לכסות נוצה ואם רצה לעשות לבן לכל שאר מינים מצמר או מפשתים עושה מפני שהצמר והפשתן פוטרין בין במינן בין שלא במינן ושאר מינין במינן פוטרין שלא במינן אין פוטרין:

For a garment of wool, the white strands should be made of wool - alone.

For a garment of linen, the white strands should be made of linen - alone. Note the explanation in the following halachah.

For garments of other [fabrics] - As mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 2, there is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis whether garments made from fabrics other than wool or linen require tzitzit or not. According to the opinions which maintain that they do, the concepts that follow are derived from the exegesis of a Biblical verse. (See Menachot 39b.) According to the Rambam, who maintains that the requirement of tzitzit on these garments is Rabbinic in origin, we must assume that these concepts were part of the Rabbinic ordinance requiring tzitzit for these garments (Kessef Mishneh).

the white strands should be made from the same fabric as the garment itself. - The authorities who consider the obligation to attach tzitzit to such garments as stemming from the Torah explain that, in the commandment to attach tzitzit, the Torah mentions the word "corner" an extra time, to teach that the tzitzit should be made of the same fabric as the corners.

For example, silk strands should be used for a silk garment, strands of goats' wool should be used for garments of goats' wool. - If one chooses to make tzitzit from these fabrics, one should use them for all four tzitzit. It is questionable whether it is acceptable to make some of the tzitzit of a specific garment from wool and others from the fabric of which the garment is made (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 9:4).

If one desired to make white strands of wool or of linen - The Ramah (Orach Chayim 9:2) states that at present it is customary not to make linen tzitzit at all.

for [garments of] any type [of fabric], one may - Menachot, ibid., derives this concept from the fact that Deuteronomy 22:12 mentions the mitzvah to attach tzitzit to our garments directly after the mention of the prohibition of making garments of wool and linen. Our Sages explain, that although mixtures of wool and linen are forbidden in general, such a mixture is required in tzitzit. (See the following two halachot.) Therefore, whenever tzitzit are made, either of these two fabrics may be used.

because [strands of] wool and linen can fulfill the obligation [of tzitzit] for garments made of their own fabric or for garments made of other fabrics. - Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg maintains, however, that wool and linen strands alone are not sufficient, and only a combination of wool and linen including strands of techelet can be used to fulfill the obligation of tzitzit for garments made from other fabrics. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 9:4 suggests considering this opinion.

In contrast, [strands made] from other fabrics can fulfill the obligation [of tzitzit] only for garments made of their own fabric. - Note Shulchan Aruch HaRav 9:5 and the Mishnah Berurah 9:10,13 which discuss a situation where the garment is woven from both wool and another fabric.

6

What is the ruling regarding making woolen strands for a garment of linen or linen strands for a garment of wool - even though we are speaking only of the white strands without techelet?

One might think that it should be permitted, because sha'atnez is permitted to be used for tzitzit, as evident from the fact that techelet is made using woolen strands, and yet it should be placed on a linen garment. Nevertheless, this is not done.

Why? Because it is possible to make the white strands from the same fabric as [the garment]. Whenever [a conflict exists] between the observance of a positive commandment and the adherence to a negative commandment, [the following rules apply]: If it is possible to observe both of them, one should. If not, the observance of the positive commandment supersedes the negative commandment. In the present instance, however, it is possible to observe both of them.

ו

ומה הוא לעשות חוטי צמר בכסות של פשתן או חוטי פשתן בכסות של צמר אע"פ שהוא לבן לבדו בלא תכלת בדין הוא שיהא מותר שהשעטנז מותר לענין ציצית שהרי התכלת צמר הוא ומטילין אותה לפשתן ומפני מה אין עושין כן מפני שאפשר לעשות הלבן שלה ממינה וכל מקום שאתה מוצא עשה ולא תעשה אם יכול אתה לקיים את שתיהן הרי מוטב ואם לאו יבא עשה וידחה את לא תעשה וכאן אפשר לקיים את שתיהן:

What is the ruling regarding making woolen strands for a garment of linen or linen strands for a garment of wool - even though we are speaking only of the white strands without techelet? - It appears that the Rambam is asking about attaching tzitzit that have only white strands, without attaching techelet. Thus, one can conclude that when attaching tzitzit to a linen garment, it is forbidden to make the white strands of wool even though one includes a woolen strand oftechelet. Though the prohibition against sha'atnez is lifted for this garment, it is lifted only when there is no alternative but to do so (Kessef Mishneh).

One might think that it should be permitted, because sha'atnez - a mixture of wool and linen which is forbidden. (See Deuteronomy 22:11 and Hilchot Kilayim, Chapter 10.)

is permitted to be used for tzitzit, as evident from the fact that techelet is made using woolen strands - Chapter 2, Halachot 1- 2.

and yet it should be placed on a linen garment - according to Torah law. See, however, the following halachah.

Neverthless, this - Using linen strands for a woolen garment or vice versa

is not done.Why? Because it is possible to make the white strands from the same fabric as [the garment]. - Woolen strands for a woolen garment, linen strands for a linen garment, and thus skirt the prohibition entirely.

Whenever [a conflict exists] between the observance of a positive commandment and the adherence to a negative commandment, [the following rules apply:] - The following are general rules which apply, not only regarding tzitzit, but in other circumstances as well: for example, Hilchot Milah 1:9.

If it is possible to observe both of them - by fulfilling the positive commandment without breaking the prohibition

one should. If not, the observance of the positive commandment supersedes the negative commandment. - Rav Nissim Gaon explains that although the violation of a negative commandment receives a more severe punishment than the failure to observe a positive commandment, when God originally gave the negative commandments, He prescribed that they do not apply when adherence to them causes the performance of a positive commandment to be nullified.

The Tanya (Iggeret HaTeshuvah, Chapter 1) explains the rationale for this principle. Man's purpose in this world is to spread Godly light through the observance of mitzvot. Accordingly, the observance of these mitzvot is always given preference when there is such a conflict.

It must be emphasized that one must fulfill the mitzvah at the time one is violating the transgression. It is forbidden, however, in order to break a commandment to later perform a mitzvah.

In the present instance, however, it is possible to observe both of them - as explained above.

144
7

Techelet should not be attached to a linen garment. Rather, one should [make the tzitzit] from white threads of linen alone. This is not because [the prohibition against] sha'atnez supersedes [the mitzvah of] tzitzit, but rather it is a Rabbinical decree [imposed] lest one wear the garment at night, when one is not required to wear tzitzit, and thus violate a negative commandment when the performance of a positive commandment is not involved.

[This is because] the obligation to wear tzitzit applies during the day, but not at night [as can be inferred from Numbers 15:39]: "And you shall see them." [The mitzvah applies only] during a time when one can see. [Nevertheless,] a blind man is obligated to wear tzitzit. Even though he does not see them, others see him [wearing them].

ז

כסות של פשתן אין מטילין בה תכלת אלא עושין הלבן בלבד של חוטי פשתן לא מפני שהציצית נדחית מפני השעטנז אלא גזירה מדבריהם שמא יתכסה בה בלילה שאינה זמן חיוב ציצית ונמצא עובר על לא תעשה בעת שאין שם מצות עשה שחובת הציצית ביום ולא בלילה שנאמר וראיתם אותו בשעת ראייה וסומא חייב בציצית אף על פי שאינו רואה אחרים רואין אותו:

Techelet should not be attached to a linen garment. - This decree was imposed even when techelet was available.

Rather, one should [make the tzitzit] from white threads of linen alone - even though by doing so, one does not fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit to the fullest degree.

This is not because [the prohibition against] sha'atnez supersedes [the mitzvah of] tzitzit, but rather it is a Rabbinical decree - The Rabbis have the power to ordain that a person bypass the performance of a Torah commandment. Surely this applies in the present instance, when the mitzvah of tzitzit is not nullified entirely.

[imposed] lest one wear the garment at night - Significantly, the Rambam does not quote his apparent source (Menachot 40b) exactly. The Talmud states "lest one wear a garment of the night." The Rambam's change of phraseology teaches two concepts. First, that not only a garment which is generally worn at night, but even one which is worn primarily during the day, should not have techelet attached to it, lest one wear it during the night.

This also sheds light on a more involved issue. There is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis if the exclusion of wearing tzitzit at night applies to all tzitzit, or if it applies only to garments which are worn primarily at night. According to the latter opinion, garments worn primarily at night do not require tzitzit, even when worn during the day. In contrast, a garment which is worn primarily during the day requires tzitzit, even during the night and one does not transgress the prohibition against sha'atnez when wearing it at that time.

By altering the terminology used by the Talmud, the Rambam indicates his acceptance of the first perspective. Rabbenu Asher is the primary exponent of the second position. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 18:1) mentions both views without reaching a conclusion.

when one is not required to wear tzitzit, and thus violate a negative commandment when the performance of a positive commandment is not involved. - See Hilchot Kilayim 10:32, which mentions a similar concept regarding the priestly garments. The sash worn by the priests was made from sha'atnez. Therefore, the priests were allowed to wear it only when they were actually involved in the Temple service. Wearing it at other times constitutes a transgression, and not a mitzvah.

Significantly, Rabbenu Tam differs with the Rambam and allows the sash and tzitzit to be worn even during the times when doing so does not fulfill a mitzvah.

[This is because] the obligation to wear tzitzit applies during the day, but not at night [as can be inferred from Numbers 15:39]: "And you shall see them." - Note the Magen Avraham 8:13, which states that this verse also implies that one should wear tzitzit in a manner in which the strands can be seen.

[The mitzvah applies only] during a time when one can see. - i.e., the daytime hours. Note the Chatam Sofer and Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Orach Chayim 18), who mention opinions that maintain that the mitzvah is not limited by the times of day and night, but rather by situations when one can see the tzitzit. During a daytime eclipse, one would not be obligated.

[Nevertheless,] a blind man is obligated to wear tzitzit. Even though he does not see them, others see him [wearing them]. - There is no question concerning a blind man's obligation. He is required to wear tzitzit and may recite a blessing beforehand (Mishnah Berurah 17:1).

8

A person is permitted to wear tzitzit at night, both during the weekdays and on the Sabbath, even though this is not the time when the mitzvah should be fulfilled, provided he does not recite a blessing.

When should the blessing over tzitzit be recited in the morning? When [the sun has risen so] that one can differentiate between the strands of techelet and those which are white.

Which blessing should be recited upon it? "Blessed are you, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves with tzitzit." Whenever a person wraps himself in tzitzit during the day, he should recite the blessing before doing so.

No blessing should be recited on the tzitzit when making them, because the ultimate purpose of the mitzvah is that one should wrap oneself in [a tallit].

ח

מותר לאדם ללבוש ציצית בלילה בין בחול בין בשבת ואע"פ שאינו זמנה ובלבד שלא יברך ומאימתי יברך על הציצית בשחר משיכיר בין תכלת שבה ללבן שבה וכיצד מברך עליה ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להתעטף בציצית וכל זמן שמתעטף בה ביום מברך עליה קודם שיתעטף ואינו מברך על הציצית בשעת עשייתה מפני שסוף המצוה הוא שיתעטף בה:

A person is permitted to wear tzitzit at night - i.e., doing so is not a transgression of the prohibition against adding to the performance of a mitzvah.

The Mishnah Berurah 21:15 quotes the Ari zal, as advising one to sleep in a tallit katan at night.

both during the weekdays - Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav maintains that this law applies even to tzitzit containing techelet. Based on the previous halachah, however, most authorities do not accept this opinion.

and on the Sabbath - On the Sabbath, it is forbidden to carry in the public domain. Therefore, one might think that it is forbidden to wear a garment with tzitzit at night, for it would be considered as if one is carrying them. The Rambam is teaching us that the tzitzit are not considered to be a burden, but rather an adornment of the garment to which they are attached (Hilchot Shabbat 19:20).

even though this is not the time when the mitzvah should be fulfilled, provided he does not recite a blessing. - Therefore, when a tallit is put on during the night - e.g., before the Selichot prayers - a blessing should not be recited (Ramah, Orach Chayim 18:3).

When should the blessing over tzitzit be recited in the morning? - According to the Rambam, this question applies whether one wears his tallit at night or not. Nevertheless, because of Rabbenu Asher's opinion mentioned in the previous halachah, if someone slept in his tallit katan, he should not recite a blessing upon it in the morning. Instead, it is preferable that he recite the blessing over his tallit gadol with the intention of including the tallit katan (Mishneh Berurah 8:24).

When [the sun has risen so] that one can differentiate between the strands of techelet and those which are white. - This time is slightly more than midway between dawn (עלות השחר) and sunrise (הנץ החמה).

Note the Ramah (Orach Chayim 18:3), who allows the blessing to be recited from dawn onwards.

Which blessing should be recited upon it? "Blessed are you, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves with tzitzit." - This is the blessing recited over the tallit gadol. For a tallit katan, most authorities suggest concluding al mitzvat tzitzit, "concerning the mitzvah of tzitzit."

Whenever a person wraps himself in tzitzit during the day, he should recite the blessing before doing so. - Note the difference of opinion between the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 8:14) and the Ramah, whether a person who removes his tallit with the intention of putting it on again in the near future is obligated to recite a blessing or not.

No blessing should be recited on the tzitzit when making them - Note Hilchot Berachot 11:9, which states that one should recite the blessing, shehecheyanu, when one acquires or makes tzitzit. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 22:1.)

because - making the tzitzit or even attaching them to the garment is only a preparatory act

the ultimate purpose of the mitzvah is that one should wrap oneself in [a tallit]. - See Hilchot Mezuzah 5:7; Hilchot Berachot 11:8.

9

It is permissible to enter a lavatory or a bathhouse [wearing] tzitzit. If one of the strands of white or techelet becomes torn, it may be discarded in a garbage dump, because tzitzit is a mitzvah which does not confer sanctity on the article itself.

It is forbidden to sell a garment with tzitzit to a gentile until he removes the tzitzit, not because the garment possesses a measure of holiness, but because we are concerned that he will dress in it, and [unknowingly,] a Jew will accompany him, thinking that he is a fellow Jew, and the gentile may kill him.

Women, servants, and minors are not required by the Torah to wear tzitzit. It is, however, a Rabbinical obligation for every child who knows how to dress himself to wear tzitzit in order to educate him to fulfill mitzvot.

Women and servants who wish to wrap themselves in tzitzit may do so without reciting a blessing. Similarly, regarding the other positive commandments which women are not required to fulfill, if they desire to fulfill them without reciting a blessing, they should not be prevented from doing so.

A tumtum and an androgynous are obligated in all positive commandments because of the doubt [about their status]. Therefore, they fulfill [all these positive commandments] without reciting a blessing.

ט

ומותר להכנס בציצית לבית הכסא ולבית המרחץ נפסקו לו חוטי לבן או תכלת זורקו באשפה מפני שהיא מצוה שאין בגופה קדושה ואסור למכור טלית מצוייצת לכותי עד שיתיר ציציותיה לא מפני שיש בגופה קדושה אלא שמא יתעטף בה ויתלוה עמו ישראל וידמה שהוא ישראל ויהרגנו נשים ועבדים וקטנים פטורין מן הציצית מן התורה ומדברי סופרים שכל קטן שיודע להתעטף חייב בציצית כדי לחנכו במצות ונשים ועבדי' שרצו להתעטף בציצית מתעטפים בלא ברכה וכן שאר מצות עשה שהנשים פטורות מהן אם רצו לעשות אותן בלא ברכה אין ממחין בידן טומטום ואנדרוגינוס חייבין בכולן מספק לפיכך אין מברכין אלא עושין בלא ברכה:

In contrast to tefillin (see Hilchot Tefillin 4:17-20) and a Torah scroll (see Hilchot Sefer Torah 10:6), which are themselves sacred articles,

It is permissible to enter a lavatory or a bathhouse [wearing] tzitzit - since the tzitzit themselves are not considered sacred articles. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 21:3 and the Mishnah Berurah 21:14 state that it is improper to enter a lavatory wearing a tallit gadol. Since this garment is worn exclusively at the times of prayer, it is not fitting to wear it in a lavatory.

If one of the strands of white or techelet becomes torn, it may be discarded in a garbage dump - in contrast to sacred articles that have become worn, which must be entombed. (See Hilchot Sefer Torah 10:3-4.)

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 21:1) differs and maintains that even after tzitzit have been removed from a garment, they should not be treated with disrespect.

because tzitzit is a mitzvah which does not confer sanctity on the article itself. - Though the tzitzit are used to perform a mitzvah, they, themselves, do not become sacred.

It is forbidden to sell a garment with tzitzit to a gentile until he removes the tzitzit, not because the garment possesses a measure of holiness - and we are afraid that he will deface it. (See Hilchot Mezuzah 5:11.)

but because we are concerned that he will dress in it, and [unknowingly,] a Jew will accompany him, thinking that he is a fellow Jew, and the gentile may kill him. - Note Hilchot Rotzeach UShemirat HaNefesh 12:7, which forbids traveling together with a gentile.

Women - Women are not required to fulfill any mitzvot whose observance is linked to a specific time. (See Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:3.) Since tzitzit are worn only during the day, women are not obligated to wear them.

servants - i.e., gentile servants, who are required to fulfill only the mitzvot for which women are obligated. (See Hilchot Tefilah 1:2 and Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 12:11, 14:9.) A Jew sold as a slave is required to fulfill all the mitzvot.

and minors are not required by the Torah to wear tzitzit. - The Torah does not place any obligations on minors.

It is, however, a Rabbinical obligation for every child -Likkutei Sichot (Vol. 17) notes that the Rambam's choice of phraseology appears to indicate that the requirement to become trained in the performance of mitzvot obligates the child himself. Generally, it is understood that the obligation is on the child's parents, who are required to train him in Torah observance.

The contention that the obligation is on the child himself is supported by Hilchot Berachot 5:15-16, which states that an adult who has eaten only a small meal can fulfill his obligation to recite the grace by answering "Amen" to the blessings recited by a child who has reached the age of education. This ruling is based on the rationale that both the child and the adult share the same degree of obligation, a Rabbinical decree. This appears to indicate that the Sages placed the obligation to recite grace on the child himself.

who knows how to dress himself - The Ramah (Orach Chayim 17:3) interprets this to mean, "knows how to wrap himself in tzitzit in the ritual manner."

to wear tzitzit in order to educate him to fulfill mitzvot. - In many communities, it is customary to begin training a child to wear a tallit katan from the time he is toilet trained. In other communities, a child begins to wear tzitzit from the age of 6.

Women and servants who wish to wrap themselves in tzitzit may do so - The Ramah (Orach Chayim 17:1), however, advises against women wearing tzitzit, explaining that doing so would be a sign of conceit.

without reciting a blessing. Similarly, regarding the other positive commandments which women are not required to fulfill, if they desire to fulfill them without reciting a blessing, they should not be prevented from doing so. - Since they are not obligated to fulfill these commandments, it is improper for them to say the blessing which praises God "who has commanded us" to perform the mitzvot.

This perspective is not accepted by Ashkenazic authorities. TheMagen Avraham 17:1 explains that the fact that, as our Sages relate, women are given some measure of reward for the fulfillment of these commandments indicates that the commandment applies - albeit not completely - to them as well.

A tumtum - The word tumtum has its roots in the word atum, which means "a solid block." It refers to a person whose genitalia are covered by skin, so that it is impossible to determine whether he is male or female. (See also Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:4, Hilchot Ishut 2:25.)

Should a tumtum undergo an operation and it be revealed that he is either male or female, he is bound by the laws which apply to that gender.

and an androgynous - Androgynous is a combination of the Greek words meaning "man" and "woman." It refers to a person who possesses the sexual organs of both genders. (See also Hilchot Ishut 2:24.)

are obligated in all positive commandments because of the doubt [about their status]. - i.e., it is doubtful whether they are governed by the laws applying to a man or those applying to a woman. The doubts are, however, different in nature. With regard to a tumtum, we are uncertain what is his true gender. With regard to an androgynous, however, the question revolves around the Sages' failure to define his status.

Therefore, they fulfill [all these positive commandments] - lest they be considered men.

without reciting a blessing. - lest they be considered women. Needless to say, according to Ashkenazic practice, they would be required to recite blessings as well.

10

What is the nature of the obligation of the commandment of tzitzit? Every person who is obligated to fulfill this mitzvah, if he wears a garment requiring tzitzit, should attach tzitzit to it and then wear it. If he wears it without attaching tzitzit to it, he has negated [this] positive commandment.

There is, however, no obligation to attach tzitzit to a garment which requires tzitzit, as long as it remains folded in its place, without a person wearing it. It is not that a garment requires [tzitzit]. Rather, the requirement is incumbent on the person [wearing] the garment.

י

היאך חיוב מצות הציצית כל אדם שחייב לעשות מצוה זו אם יתכסה בכסות הראוי לציצית יטיל לה ציצית ואח"כ יתכסה בה ואם נתכסה בה בלא ציצית הרי ביטל מצות עשה אבל בגדים הראויים לציצית כל זמן שלא יתכסה בהן אדם אלא מקופלים ומונחים פטורין מן הציצית שאינה חובת הטלית אלא חובת האיש שיש לו טלית:

What is the nature of the obligation of the commandment of tzitzit? Every person who is obligated to fulfill this mitzvah - i.e., adult males, as explained in the previous halachah

if he wears a garment requiring tzitzit - See Halachot 1-4.

should attach tzitzit to it and then wear it - if he desires to do so.

If he wears it without attaching tzitzit to it, he has negated [this] positive commandment.

There is, however, no obligation to attach tzitzit to a garment which requires tzitzit, as long as it remains folded in its place, without a person wearing it. - 13The Rambam wants to emphasize that

It is not that a garment requires [tzitzit]. - The Rambam's statements in this halachah revolve around a difference of opinion of our Sages, Menachot 42b. There are Sages who maintain that tzitzit is an obligation that depends on the garment - i.e., the mitzvah is completed by placing tzitzit on every garment which requires them. The other opinion states that tzitzit are an obligation incumbent on a person, that a person is required to attach tzitzit to his garments. The Rambam rephrases the latter opinion as follows:

Rather, the requirement is incumbent on the person [wearing] the garment. - With this choice of phraseology, he desires to indicate that - in contrast to other mitzvot (e.g., tefillin) - there is no obligation from the Torah to wear tzitzit every day. Only when a person desires to wear a garment that requires tzitzit is he obligated to fulfill the mitzvah.

This conception represents a change of position for the Rambam. Rav Yitzchak Alfasi, whose decisions the Rambam frequently followed, maintains that each person is obligated to wear tzitzit, apparently indicating that tzitzit, like tefillin, are an obligation which a person is required to fulfill.

The Rambam apparently held this view himself at one time. Therefore, in Sefer HaMitzvot, at the conclusion of the listing of the positive commandments, he lists tzitzit (together with tefillin) as one of the positive commandments whose observance we must pursue. Here, his choice of phraseology indicates that, although the mitzvah is incumbent on the person, it does relate to the garment. Only when a person wears a garment which requires tzitzit is he obligated to fulfill the mitzvah.

11

Even though a person is not obligated to purchase a tallit and wrap himself in it so that he must attach tzitzit to it, it is not proper for a person to release himself from this commandment. Instead, he should always try to be wrapped in a garment which requires tzitzit so that he will fulfill this mitzvah.

In particular, care should be taken regarding this matter during prayer. It is very shameful for a Torah scholar to pray without being wrapped [in a tallit].

יא

אף על פי שאין אדם מחוייב לקנות לו טלית ולהתעטף בה כדי שיעשה בה ציצית אין ראוי לאדם חסיד שיפטור עצמו ממצוה זו אלא לעולם ישתדל להיות עטוף בכסות המחוייבת כציצית כדי שיקיים מצוה זו ובשעת התפלה צריך להזהר ביותר גנאי גדול הוא לתלמידי חכמים שיתפללו והם אינם עטופים:

Even though a person is not obligated to purchase a tallit and wrap himself in it so that he must attach tzitzit to it - as explained in the previous halachah.

it is not proper for a person to release himself from this commandment. Instead, he should always try to be wrapped in a garment which requires tzitzit so that he will fulfill this mitzvah - because of the importance of this mitzvah, as mentioned in the following halachah.

The Rambam mentions being "wrapped in a garment requiring tzitzit," an expression which appears to refer to a tallit gadol, a garment of the size and cut appropriate for "wrapping oneself." Significantly, throughout these halachot, he has used that term and never makes any reference to a tallit katan, the smaller garment which is colloquially called "tzitzit" today.

In Talmudic times, draping oneself with a garment that resembled our tallitot gedolot was common, but in different lands and different eras, the style of dress changed and, except for sages who would spend their day involved in study, it was rare that a person would wear a tallit gadol throughout the day. Accordingly, the people took to wearing the smaller tallit katan, which could be accommodated to other styles of dress more easily.

There is no explicit mention of a tallit katan in the Talmud, although a story related in Menachot 44a appears to indicate that such garments were worn in that era as well. The writings of the early Ashkenazic and later Sephardic rabbis of the Middle Ages mention the wearing of a tallit katan as an accepted practice.

In particular, care should be taken regarding this matter during prayer. - The Rambam does not specify the morning service. Perhaps he refers to the afternoon service as well.

It is very shameful for a Torah scholar to pray without being wrapped [in a tallit]. - See Rosh HaShanah 17b, which relates that when God revealed the thirteen qualities of mercy to Moses, "He wrapped Himself [in a tallit] like a leader of prayer and taught him the order of prayer."

12

A person should always be careful regarding the mitzvah of tzitzit, because the Torah considered it equal to all the mitzvot and considered them all as dependent on it, as [implied by Numbers 15:39]: "And you shall see them and remember all the mitzvot of God."

יב

לעולם יהא אדם זהיר במצות ציצית שהרי הכתוב שקלה ותלה בה כל המצות כולן שנאמר וראיתם אותו וזכרתם את כל מצות יי':

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