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The Blessing on Tallit and Tzitzit

The Blessing on Tallit and Tzitzit

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A blessing is recited before donning the tallit or tzitzit (see Donning Tzitzit or a Tallit).

If one removes the tallit or tzitzit (for instance, if one needs to use the restroom during prayers1), with the intention of donning the same tallit or tzitzit afterwards, then it is not necessary to recite the blessing again when putting it back on. If, however, when taking it off he had no intention of putting it back on, or if a person wants to put on another tallit or tzitzit, the blessing must be repeated.2

If the tallit inadvertently slips off, then the blessing must be repeated when putting it back on, unless at least part of the tallit remained on the body (catching it with your hand doesn't count!). If the person is in the midst of a section of the prayers where he may not interrupt, then he should put the tallit back on without reciting the blessing, and when he reaches a point where it is permissible to talk he should take the fringes of the tallit in his hands and recite the blessing.

If one puts on tzitzit in the morning before the morning hand-washing, then the tzitzit blessing should be recited afterwards, while grasping the fringes with his hands.

Footnotes
1.

It is permitted to enter a restroom while wearing tzitzit – unlike tefillin or holy books, which may not be brought into a lavatory – for although a mitzvah is performed through wearing them, they themselves are not considered holy objects. However, it is customary to refrain from entering a bathroom while wearing a tallit (prayer shawl), in deference to the fact that it is a garment associated with prayer. The same is true for a kittel (white cloak worn on Yom Kippur) or gartel (prayer sash), which are designated for prayer.

2.

If when taking off the tallit the person had no intention – not to put it back on, and not not to put it back on – then it depends on whether the person is wearing a tallit kattan. If he is, then he does not recite a blessing when again putting on the tallit; if not, then he does recite the blessing.

Rabbi Naftali Silberberg is a writer, editor and director of the curriculum department at the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. Rabbi Silberberg resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Chaya Mushka, and their three children.
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This is no fringe mitzvah! The tallit and tzitzit serves as constant reminders of our obligations to G-d and our fellows.
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