What is Tallit and Tzitzit?

What does the meaning of the word tzitzit? The term tzitzit is often referred to as the term strings or fringes. The strings of the tzitzit are being affixed to every corner of the tallit, which refers to the shawl prayer of the Jewish people. The tallit also refers to the mini-tallit that is poncho like and is usually being worn by the Jewish people all day long. You can see this tallit or the mini tallit under the clothing of the Jewish person. The following are the steps on how to make a mini tallit.

Tzitzit: The Mini-Tallit

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man puts on tefillin

The Lord God told His Jewish people to use the strings of the tzitzit under the clothing of the Jewish people for them to be able to remember the commandments of the Lord God and of course the Lord. During the ancient periods of the Jewish people, the only garment that was being used by the Jewish people is just a single piece of a simple fabric, and the so-called mitzvah of the Jewish people is being affixed to every corner of the tallit. But after the past centuries, the style of the garments of the Jewish people had changed. The only sheet of fabric by the Jewish people on that time has been replaced by the attractive and decorative shirts, trousers, jackets, and robes. But the question is, what will the Jewish people do to the mini tallit? The male Jewish started to fulfill their obligations to the mitzvah using the two different ways, and these will be the;

•    The male Jewish are wearing a poncho-like tzitzit and the small tallit which is also called as the small tallit. The fringes or the strings must be placed on the arbakanfot or the four corners of the tallit. It is recommended for all the Jewish people to place their tallit under their clean garment or shirt.

•    During the prayer for the mitzvah, the male Jewish will drape themselves in the big tallit or what they called the tallit gadol, where the tallit gadol was still the same until today’s generation.

Tzitzit: The Tassles

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Tzitzis Threads

The strings that were being attached on the mini tallit with different size is being called as the tzitzit. The tzitzit are usually made up of wool that has the color of plain white and is being required to be spun by the intention that is used to be sacred and is being used for praying the mitzvah prayers. So if you want to change a thread that was snapped, keep in your mind that you will buy the tzitzit threads that are special and important.

In every corner of the tallit, the four fringes of the tzitzit were being threaded and looped over into a hole, for the remaining eight fringes will hang down to the tallit. The different groups of coils and double knots are being combined with the first inches of every corner of the tassle in every cord of the tallit. The rest of the eight strings that hang down will remain hung.

What Does The Tzitzit Mean?

The Hebrew Bible or the so-called Torah by the Jewish people have a total of 613 mitzvahs. Then the representation of the 613 mitzvahs of the Torah or the Hebrew Bible is the five knots and the eight strings of the tzitzit. Why does the Hebrew Bible or the Torah have a total of 613 mitzvahs? It is because of these: every letter of the alphabet of the Hebrew has their numeric value or the so-called gematria. The term tzitzit is composed of five Hebrew letters in the Hebrew alphabet that will add to the sum of the Hebrew alphabet which is 600. You are now in need to add the five knots and the remaining eight fringes of every tassel, and the total number will be 613.

Miscellaneous Tzitzit Laws and Customs

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Big Tallit

If an individual Jewish person has been assigned to become the aliya, the whole of the congregation will wait for that person to ascend to the reading table of the Hebrew Bible and to don the tallit, the inspection o the fringes of the tzitzit must be delayed until the day that the aliya has been finished. Waiting for the congregation of the Jewish people is a sign of respect, and the tzitzit was in need to be checked.

To fold the clothing or fabric of a particular Jewish person during the day of Sabbath is very restricted. Thus, the mini-tallit that already had the folded lines that are well defined on the garment may also not be folded according to its folded lines after the morning prayers of the Sabbath holiday. And folding the tallit randomly is also permitted by the Jewish cultures.

When the fringes of the tzitzit are not being looped in the tallit of the certain Jewish people, it is restricted for them to watch the dead body of the Jewish individual. By avoiding this, it will be the subtle mockery by the dead Jewish person that can’t do the mitzvah. A specific Jewish person must tuck in his or her pants the tzitzit he or she owns when;

•    The certain Jewish person is inside the cemetery.

•    When the certain Jewish people are inside the house where the dead body of a Jewish person is placed, even if the dead body is in the adjacent room of him or her.

•    If the certain Jewish person is standing inside the six feet space or four cubits from the grave of the dead Jewish person unless there is a fence or an outdoor wall that will separate the Jewish individual from the grave of the dead Jewish person.

If the owner of the tzitzit is absent, it is okay for a certain Jewish person to use the tzitzit of that person without asking for his permission, unless you already knew that the owner of the tzitzit would be displeased if another Jewish person will use his tzitzit without his permission. But there are also some Jewish people that will be pleased if he knew that another Jewish person had used his tzitzit for the fulfillment of the mitzvah. The tallit that you want to borrow should not be placed outside of the place where it was found initially, and it is required for the Jewish person to left his borrowed tallit in a similar condition when it was originally found. The tallit of a certain Jewish person must not be folded during the celebration of the Sabbath holiday, even if the tallit was folded neatly once you searched it.

One of the cultures of the Jewish people for the bride’s family is to buy a tallit that will be given to her groom. And it is essential for a certain Jewish person to own for about two tallits that they will be used during the celebration of the Sabbath holiday and every weekday. It is a sign of disrespect if you deface a certain tzitzit or tallit. But it is okay for the Jewish people to dispose of the old tzitzit or tallit of theirs. But if you disposed of the old tzitzit and tallit of yours, it is considered as not holy anymore, but after all, these old tzitzit and tallit of yours can still be used for any mitzvah purposes. Most importantly, the old tzitzit and tallits must be stored in one place with the old books and articles that are considered as holy things. Some Jewish people are using their old tzitzit strings as their bookmarks on reading their favorite books that are considered holy. The old tzitzit are used to fulfill their obligations for the mitzvah, and it is the time for the tzitzit strings to fulfill their new obligations.

When is Tallit Worn?

As the Hebrew Bible of the Jewish people stated these words, “You will see the tzitzit and therefore remember all the commandments of God.” You can see from this verse from the Torah that the tallit must be worn every day during the day time, where morning is considered as the time of seeing. The tzitzit is being exempted during the nighttime.

The tzitzit is not being precluded from attaching it to the Jewish person’s nighttime clothing, but you can perform the mitzvah during the morning with your morning garment, and the blessing prayer for the tzitzit must be recited only if it is daytime. Almost all of the communities in Ashkenazi, the male people living there will only start wearing their tallit after their wedding with their bride and will continue to wear their tallit even they are already divorced or widowed. As stated by the traditions of the Sephardic, the male people should start wearing their tallit at the age of thirteen or lower which is considered as the age of bar mitzvah.

Definition of Terms

The word nighttime clothing and daytime clothing used in this article refer to the subject of dispute between the scholars of medieval halachic. The only opinion of the Jewish people is that, whatever type of clothing you wear during morning hours, you should wear tzitzit and it is also exempted to worn the tzitzit under your clothing during the nighttime hours. Other people have their culture that the only garment the tzitzit can be exempted for use is their nighttime clothing just like their pajamas and vice versa. Conversely, some people have their beliefs that certain clothing you usually use during morning hours is required to wear the tzitzit and similar to the clothing they use during nighttime hours.

A certain person may start to recite the tzitzit blessings or tallit prayers and wear their tallit when the time they can determine the blue strings and white strings of the tzitzit. During sunset, a certain Jewish person can start wearing their tallit and reciting its prayers and blessings.

Wearing Tzitzit at Night

Despite all the words stated above, there are still lots of people who carefully wear their tzitzit even in the nighttime hours, and even while they are going to sleep. And these kinds of practice have similar reasons. First, if you wake up after daylight, a certain person is required to perform the mitzvah and the tzitzit prayers and blessings every daytime hours which will be elapsed before the time of his awakening. Second, this reason is already mentioned above, where according to the opinions of other people about the right time of wearing the tzitzit, the mitzvah of the tzitzit can be fulfilled ever nighttime if a certain person wore his or her day time clothing. Third, as stated by the Kabbalah, the tzitzit can guard its user even if it is daytime or nighttime.

If certain Jewish people wear is or her tzitzit while he or she is going to sleep, night tzitzit is preferable for him or her to have. Otherwise, if a certain Jewish person worn his or her tzitzit for both nighttime and daytime, it will be problematic for him or her to recite the tzitzit prayers and blessings during the daytime, for you’ll not be able to perform the new mitzvah prayer, it will just be considered as a mere continuation beforehand of the mitzvah. However, when you put another pair of the mitzvah in the daytime, there will be no problem for reciting the prayer and blessing for the new mitzvah or the new pair of tzitzit.

What is Techelet or Tekhelet?

In previous times, there are two types of strings that are being attached to every corner of the tallit. These are the blue wool and the white wool, or any material that certain clothing it was made of. The techelet or tekhelet is the blue wool, it is the representation of the nobility of a certain person, and the line of the tallit is the representation of keeping the Jewish people reminded upon the commandments of God, and he is being considered as the member of the Kingdom of Priests by our Lord God.

There is a verse in the Hebrew Bible saying these words, “Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make for themselves fringes (tzitzit) on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they shall affix a thread of tekhelet on the fringe of each corner.”

The said verse from the Hebrew Bible consists of two different commandments. The first commandment is to hang or affix the white strings in every corner of the certain clothing that has four corners, and the second one is to add a string of the techelet to every corner. The two mentioned commandments are considered to each other as an independent. If the techelet is available at your place, you will be able to combine the strings of the techelet to the strings of the tzitzit, or it the techelet is unavailable at your place, you can fulfill the mitzvah of the tzitzit through the use of the plain strings that has the color of white.

The chilazon is one of the creatures in the sea that creates the unique blue dye of the techelet and tzitzit strings. This kind of sea creature can be found in the Mediterranean Sea. So the question is, why it is not ordinary in this generation to have the techelet while wearing the tzitzit or tallit? At the particular time in history, with 1000 years ago approximately, the sea creature in the Mediterranean Sea which is the chilazon, which is considered as the sea creature that is hard to find, it tells that the Talmud has the surface that becomes unavailable together for about every seventy years. After a couple of times, the exact identity of the chilazon was unknown until now.

The Quest of Techelet or Tekhelet

Lots of researchers try to discover the history of the chilazon. The most known researchers among them were Israeli Chief Rabbi Y. I. Herzog (1888–1959), Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner (1839–1891), and Radziner rebbe.

According to the research of Rabbi Leiner, the cuttlefish he discovered is the so-called chilazon that has been lost for a longer period. And he is also the one who leads the processing of the chilazon to make a blue dye that has been used as the string in the tallit and tzitzit until now. After the research of Rabbi Leiner, he then again discovered a Murex trunculus that is a marine snail creature. The said marine snail creature is also identified as the possible chilazon that was lost and also used its dye to color the strings of the tzitzit and tallit.

Many people considered this research as uncertain. Furthermore, the groups of kabbalists wrote down and stated that the techelet which is one of the current lacks has a consisitent connection with the spiritual state that has been diminished by many people. In connection with this, many people are still wearing the white strings of their tallit and tzitzit and wait for the Moshiach to come. And the people also think that Elijah will be their ruler to find the uncovering history of the sea creature which is the chilazon. And the research of the fifth Rebbe of the Lubavitch, Rabbi SholomDovBer came and stated that the history of the chilazon, a sea creature will remain unknown until the Messiah come.

Purchasing a Kosher Tallit

As the verse you can read at the Exodus 15:2 says, “This is my G d, and I will beautify Him.” And then this verse says that the Jewish people are required to beautify the Lord God through fulfilling their obligations to God through attractively following His commandments. This will include the extra dollar spending that will enable you to buy a tzitzit and tallit that are in a high quality. In today’s generation, the market of the community has been decorated by many tallitot with an attractive design, and one of the designs is the so-called halachically. Many people have their belief to adorn the headpiece of the tallit with attarah in silver. The word attarach is a Hebrew term which means crown.

Because creating a tzitzit and a tallit involves several Jewish laws, the tallit and the tzitzit must be bought in a certain person that is trustworthy and God-fearing vend.

Wool Tallit Kattan

Some people ask this kind of question, why do some people wear customarily a tallit katan that is made up of wool under their tzitzit clothing? Some people also as if this kind of custom is right and proper?

And these questions were answered by this as the Menanchot 39b in the Gemara stated that “It was taught in the study hall of Rabbi Yishmael: Any unspecified garment in the Torah refers to a garment made out of either wool or linen.”  And the Hebrew Bible of the Jewish people stated these words, “And they shall make for themselves Tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations.”And the length of the two has been discussed by the Poskim and Gemara.

Rav Nachman and Rav Yehuda disagree about the verses you can read at the Gemara. They also disagree about the topic of the blessings and prayers of the tzitzit regarding applying the mitzvah of the tzitzit only to the clothing that is made up of wool or any other materials. The commandments of God subjected their perception about the mitzvah of the tzitzit that you will read in the Hebrew Bible. As a point of reference, it has a verse that states, “On the Tzitzit of the corner.” That verse is interpreted which means, the particular material of the tzitzit and other clothing must be tied up the tzitzit strings in every corner of the garment they wear.

What is Tzitzit?

The so-called tzitzit are strings that are being hung down in every four corners of a garment that has a rectangular shape. And you can read the verse in the Torah saying, “You shall put fringes on the corners of your garments.” Some people are also asking about the benefits that you can get from wearing a tzitzit. The Hebrew Bible answers this kind of question through the certain verse of it saying, “You will see it and remember all the mitzvot.”

What is the way of the tzitzit strings to help us remember about the mitzvot? The only answer will go like this. The strings in the tzitzit will serve as the thing that will remind us always about the mitzvot. As a certain person doing his or her daily works, whether, at home or in your workplace, the tzitzit strings will serve as the anchor of that person to the spiritual world of him. In addition, 600 is the tzitzit’s numerical value. You will get the total number of 613 by adding the five knots and eight strings of every corner of the rectangularly shaped clothing. Then the total number of 613 is the total number of mitzvot you can find in the Hebrew Bible.

Let us think deeply about the verse of the Torah says: “You will see it and remember all the mitzvot.” Why does the Hebrew Bible use the word on describing the four different fringes on every corner of your rectangular garment? The word it defines to the blue string of the tzitzit that has been attached to every corner of the rectangular garment of yours. It is described that the blue color refers to the sea, which is also considered as the similar color of the sky which is also similar to the Heavenly Throne of the Lord God.

The strings of the tzitzit are also considered as the metaphysical way of the Lord God to guard His people against the evil spirits and temptations. One of the verses of the Hebrew Bible by the Jewish people saying these words: “And you will see them, and remember not to follow after your heart and eyes, that you stray after them.” Through the help of the tzitzit strings, the children of God will always be reminded that in every decision and action they make, God is always with them, watching them and guiding them to the right path.

One of the fables that God stated in the Torah is a certain male Jewish who become addicted to any temptations and wasting his money to make his desires satisfied. One day, he decided to travel the world, and at the same time, before he makes his desired decision, the tzitzit of a certain man has been slapped right onto his face. Some of the expert researchers of the Hebrew Bible explain this scenario as the strings of the tzitzit not literally slapped the man onto his face, but it is considered as being slapped emotionally and psychologically but not physically.

Every string of the tzitzit are being looped onto the hole, and create a knot for both edges of the strings, that will give the eight tassels appearing in each corner. There are a group of five double-knots on the one third higher from the tassels, one of the strings out of the four strings are being separated. Below the knots in the bottom of the strings, there are two-thirds of strings that remain hanging loosely. Every section of the windings and knots must have 2.5 cm or one inch long that will give a total number of 4 inches of the windings and knots, and the remaining strings that are hanging loosely have 8 inches long. The hole of every corner of the rectangular garment must have two inches long from the edge of the strings. The corners of the Jewish person’s clothing can fulfill the requirements of the Hebrew Bible or the Torah. If one of the corners of the garment has been damaged, the user of the garment can repair it easily.

The fringes of the tzitzit must be made up of wool or any raw materials that were also used to create the clothing. Every string of the tzitzit contains two different strings that are looped together and must be spun by the pure intention before using. Thus, a certain Jewish person must purchase his or her tzitzit to the store that has the right rabbinic supervision. Once you already bought your tzitzit, it will be easier for you to attach it to your garment. The process of attaching it to your garment is meaningful and fun. The following are the steps that you should do to put your purchased tzitzit strings to your garments.

Steps to Do to Attach your Tzitzit Strings

•    Use the four strings of the tzitzit, use one string that is longer than the remaining three strings. This will be used to wrap the garment.

•    You are in need to tie the very end of the four strings together to ensure that every thread of the tzitzit will have one end on both edges.

•    Put the thread into the hole of your clothing, and while putting the tread into the hole, make sure that you will say the words: “Le’shemmitzvat Tzitzit.”

•    Make a double knot tie on each thread.

•    You need the longer thread to wind for about seven times.

•    The double knot you made must be winded with the longer strings and wrap it for about eight times.

•    The double knot you made must be winded with the longer strings and wrap it around for 11 more times.

•    The double knot you made must be winded with the longer strings and wrap it around for 13 more times.

•    Make the fifth and last double knot, and you’re done.

Although the tallit Kattan that is made up of wool must be worn under the clothing of a certain Jewish person, there are several beliefs as to either the tassels are okay to left visible and hanging or not. The main purpose of the tzitzit is to remind its wearer about the commandments of God. Thus the tzitzit is preferable to wear untucked for its wearer is able to look at it anytime and be reminded on his or her obligation to the Lord God. But if a certain Jewish person is living in a place with the non-Jewish people and brings dissent or embarrassment to him or her, it is also acceptable if you will tuck the strings of the tzitzit in.

Broken Tzitzit Strings

For instance, one of the strings of your tzitzit had been damaged, what is the proper thing that you can do? The custom of the Jewish people is to have the proper length of each thread of the tzitzit which is 24-28.8 cm long. If you have a certain string that has been cut or damaged, then it will always depend upon the following:

•    The strings of the tzitzit will be invalid once it has been damaged within the area of windings and knots. This is according to the opinions of the Jewish people who use the tzitzit strings.

•    If the damage is within the threads that are loosely hanging, then it will still consider as a valid tzitzit strings even the damage is up to the windings of the strings.

•    If the tzitzit strings have been damaged twice, the, you should distinguish whether the broken string is the string that has been damaged for the second time, given that every string of the tzitzit has been inserted initially to the hole of the garment and create a double knot on top of it.

How can you determine whether the two ends of the string is the end of the same thread?

First, when you are trying to tie a knot on the strings of your tzitzit, that person must make sure that the two edges of the strings must always be on the counterpart sides of the double knot. Furthermore, in many cases when the two threads of the strings will break;

•    If the broken strings of the tzitzit thread are on the same edges of the double knot, the user of the tzitzit strings might think that it comes from two different threads. Thus, it will still be considered as a valid tzitzit strings, even if both of the threads are damaged up to its windings.

•    If the damaged strings of the tzitzit are on the opposite edges, then the first string that had been damaged must have enough length of ki’dayaniva- meaning the right length of the string that can be tied up. The ki’dayaniva has a length of 4-4.8 cm.

•    If three of your tzitzit strings had been damaged, then having enough length of the string to be tied up is not enough. But rather you will be required to purchase a new tzitzit thread, since tying the tzitzit will need for at least two long strings, and the three strings must come from the three different tzitzit threads that will only leave a single full-length string.

The Clothing of the Jewish Person

It is required for a Jewish person to have a four-cornered type of clothing to attach the tzitzit threads. A mini tallit will also require in attaching the tzitzit strings. But a certain dress that has button-down is not required to have the tzitzit threads, because that regular dress only contains two different corners which are in the front and the back. And a simple shirt will also not require placing a tzitzit string, for it contains no corner. However, if the Jewish person will cut a slit to both sides of the shirt, for the entire shirt become open, through that, your shirt will have four corners, and you can now attach the tzitzit strings on it.

In this generation that the four-cornered clothing is no longer common, you can still create your way to have four-cornered clothing for you to attach your tzitzit treads on it. You can prefer to use the large cloak or the tallit gadol and the little cloak or the tallit katan.

The Tallit Gadol

You can use the word tallit on describing the large cloak or the tallit gadol. The tallit gadol is a big plain white garment that contains no hole. The tallit gadol is designed for the Jewish people to wear it every morning hourly prayers. It is imperative to wear the tallit gadol during the conducting of morning hourly prayers of the Jewish people. The morning prayer of the Jewish people is the so-called Shema prayer. Through reciting the Shema prayer, you will be able to thank the Lord God for the blessings He gave to you every day.

The large cloak is a garment that has blue, white and black stripes. And the tallit gadol must be made up of pure wool. The Jewish people usually wear the said type of tallit over their shoulders. 4×6 feet is the minimum size of the tallit gadol or the large cloak.

The Tallit Katan

The so-called tallit katan contains the plain white rectangular-shaped simple clothing that has a hole for the head of the user. If the wearer of this tallit gadol is adult, the size of the length of the sides of the tallit gadol must have 18 inches long approximately, for instance, a little cloak that has 18 x 36 size when it is not folded. The Jewish person must keep the tallit gadol for all the time and is usually worn under the shirt of the Jewish person. It should be kept during nighttime and prevent it from being worn. When a certain Jewish male kid reached his age of three, his family is required to give him his little cloak or tallit katan. Through doing this, the boy Jewish will be accustomed to the critical role of the mitzvah on his life.

If you think a scarf is required to have a tzitzit thread, then you are wrong. It is the same as the small stringed scarves that most people usually wear to wrapped their necks are not qualified to attach the tzitzit strings. And it is not considered to have the ability to fulfill the obligations to the mitzvah. If you wear both of your tallit and tefillin, make sure that you will put your tallit first followed by your tefillin.

Before using the large cloak or the tallit gadol, you should look at the threads first to check if the strings are not torn and tangled.

Conclusion

To sum it up, it is imperative for you to have your tallit and tzitzit because it will help you to be always reminded about your obligations to the Lord God. Through the use of the tallit and tzitzit, you will always be reminded that you need to fulfill all your obligations to the mitzvah. Having your tallit and tzitzit will help you to take the path that was taken by God.

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