SECTION 16 The [Minimum] Measure of a Tallis. (1–2)

סימן טז שִׁעוּר טַלִּית, וּבוֹ ב סְעִיפִים:

1 Our Sages1 calculated the minimum measure of a tallis that requires tzitzis as follows: that it be large enough to enable a child who has reached the age at which he can be educated to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzis, i.e., nine years old,2 to cover his head and the greater part of the height and width of his body with it, and [a youth past] majority, i.e., 13 years old, would not be embarrassed to wear it at times while going out to the marketplace. Such a tallis can be considered “a garment.”3 Hence it requires tzitzis, and may not be worn without tzitzis, even at home.

[The age of nine was chosen, because] by that age a child walks alone in the marketplace while wearing the garment, and there is no need to watch that he will not lose it.

If a nine-year-old child would not be able to cover his head and the greater part of his [body] with it, but [a lad] past majority, i.e., 13 years old, would wear it at times while going out to the marketplace, it is nonetheless not considered a garment at all.4 The intent [of the particular youth wearing the tallis]5 is inconsequential in light of the attitude of people at large. Therefore there is no obligation to attach tzitzis to it.

Some authorities maintain that if a nine-year-old child would be able to cover his head and the greater part of his [body] with it, even though [a lad] past majority, i.e., 13 years old, would not wear it at times while going out to the marketplace, it is called a garment — and it requires tzitzis.

The Halachah follows the first opinion. Therefore one should be careful not to make a tallis katan smaller than the measure dictated by the first opinion. If one desires to wear a tallis smaller than that, he should attach tzitzis to it in deference to the second opinion, but should not recite a blessing over it.6

א שִׁעוּר טַלִּית שֶׁחַיֶּבֶת בְּצִיצִית,א שִׁעֲרוּ חֲכָמִים,ב,1 אִם הִיא גְּדוֹלָה כָּל כָּךְ שֶׁקָּטָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לִכְלַל חִנּוּךְ מִצְוַת צִיצִית, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁהוּא בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים,ג,2 שֶׁאָז הוּא מִתְהַלֵּךְ לְבַדּוֹ בַּשּׁוּק וְטַלִּיתוֹ עָלָיו, וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לִשְׁמֹר טַלִּיתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יֹאבַד מִמֶּנּוּ,ד וְאִם הוּא מִתְכַּסֶּה בָּהּ רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֹב אֹרֶךְ גּוּפוֹ וְרֹב רָחְבּוֹ,ה וְגָדוֹל בֶּן י"ג שָׁנִים הַלּוֹבְשָׁהּ אֵינוֹ מִתְבַּיֵּשׁ לָצֵאת בָּהּ בְּאַקְרַאי לַשּׁוּקו – הִיא נִקְרֵאת כְּסוּתז,3 וְחַיֶּבֶת בְּצִיצִית, וְאָסוּר לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּהּ בְּלֹא צִיצִית אֲפִלּוּ בְּבֵיתוֹ.ח וְאִם אֵין הַקָּטָן בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים מִתְכַּסֶּה בָּהּ רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ,ט אַף־עַל־פִּי שֶׁהַגָּדוֹל בֶּן י"ג שָׁנִים יוֹצֵא בָּהּ בְּאַקְרַאי לַשּׁוּק – בְּטֵלָה דַּעְתּוֹ5 אֵצֶל כָּל אָדָם,י מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָהּ נִקְרֵאת כְּסוּת כְּלָל,יא,4 וְלָכֵן הִיא פְּטוּרָה מִן הַצִּיצִית.

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםיב שֶׁאִם הַקָּטָן בֶּן תֵּשַׁע מִתְכַּסֶּה בָּהּ רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ, אַף־עַל־פִּי שֶׁאֵין גָּדוֹל בֶּן י"ג שָׁנִים יוֹצֵא בָּהּ בְּאַקְרַאי לַשּׁוּק – הִיא נִקְרֵאת כְּסוּת וְחַיֶּבֶת בְּצִיצִית.

וַהֲלָכָה כַּסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה,יג לָכֵן צָרִיךְ [לִזָּהֵר] שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת טַלִּית קָטָן פָּחוֹת מִזֶּה הַשִּׁעוּר שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְפִי הַסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה. וְאִם רוֹצֶה לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּטַלִּית שֶׁהִיא פְּחוּתָה מִזֶּה הַשִּׁעוּר – יָטִיל בָּהּ צִיצִית, כְּדֵי לָחוּשׁ לַסְּבָרָא הָאַחֲרוֹנָה, אֲבָל לֹא יְבָרֵךְ עָלֶיהָ.יד,6

2 One should ensure that a tallis katan is made with wide shoulders; i.e., the part that rests on the shoulders should be wide, so that the open space on either side will not cause it to be considered insignificant.7

ב יִזָּהֲרוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּטַלִּיתוֹת קְטַנִּים הַכְּתֵפַיִם רְחָבִים,טו דְּהַיְנוּ הַחֲתִיכוֹת הַמֻּטָּלוֹת עַל הַכָּתֵף, כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלָא לֵיתֵי אֲוִירָא דְּהַאי גִּיסָא וַאֲוִירָא דְּהַאי גִּיסָא וּלְבַטֵּל לֵיהּ.7