Checking Tzitzis prior to wearing

To Purchase this Sefer [1]

*Regarding the obligation to untangle the Tzitzis strings prior to the blessing-see next Halacha!

 

A. The obligation:[2]

Each and every day, prior[3] to reciting the blessing upon wearing the Tzitzis, one is required[4] to look and examine the Tzitzis strings to ensure that they are still valid.[5] Even if one checked the Tzitzis the previous day, he is required to repeat the examination process the next day.[6] This applies even if one is not saying a blessing over the Tallis [such as he heard the blessing from another person and cases of the like].[7] [This applies for both the Tallis Gadol and the Tallis Katan.[8]]

 

B. Prayer said upon checking:[9]

While examining the validity of the Tzitzis [of the Tallis Gadol[10]] one is to recite the phrase of “Barchi Nafshi…” as printed in the Siddur.[11]

 

C. What part of the Tzitzis is one to check?[12]

One is to check if the [loose] strings [above the braid] have torn [in a way that invalidates the Tzitzis, as explained in Chapter 4 Halacha 12].[13] Likewise, one is to check if even one string has torn in the area of the Tzitzis that lies on the corner of the Tallis[14], as well as in the braided area [“Gedil”/knots and loops] of the Tzitzis[15] [as even one torn string invalidates the Tzitzis in those areas, as explained in Chapter 4 Halacha 12A]. [One is to also verify that the Tzitzis are lying on the side of the corner, as explained in Chapter 4 Halacha 10B, and have not fallen below the corner.[16]]

 

D. When is the examination required?

How many times a day must it be checked?[17] After the Tzitzis have been checked one time that day, one is not required to repeat the examination process again that day. This applies even if one removed the Tallis from his body without intent to wear again [that day] and then in the midst of the day he changed his mind and decided to wear it, nevertheless he is not required to re-examine the strings prior to doing so. This applies even on Shabbos; that it is permitted to wear this Tzitzis without re-examination even if one will be walking through a public domain.[18]

If one checked prior to folding for next day’s use:[19] If one checked the Tzitzis and [immediately afterwards] placed them in a specified area, then they do not need to be checked the next day prior to the blessing, if one found the Tzitzis exactly as how they were left the day before.[20]

Skipping the examination in a time of need:[21] If one is pressed for time to go to Shul, and if he waits until he finishes examining the Tzitzis he will be unable to pray with the Minyan, then it is permitted to wear the Tzitzis without examining it [or separating its strings[22]] beforehand.[23] Likewise, if one arrived to Shul and was called for an Aliyah to the Torah [or for another Mitzvah which a Tallis is worn], and he has still not worn his Tallis, then it is permitted to wear the Tzitzis without examining it [or separating its strings] beforehand.[24] [The same law applies in any case of time of need.[25] In such a case, one is not required to check the Tzitzis even after the time of need has passed, if it is still on him from the initial wearing.[26]]

Is one to check his Tallis on Shabbos?[27] One is required to check the validity of the Tzitzis also on Shabbos, and so is the widespread custom.[28] [Upon checking the Tzitzis strings on Shabbos, one is to hold the upper knot of the Tzitzis and then check each string, in order to prevent tightening that knot on Shabbos.[29]]

Wearing more than one Tallis at a time:[30] If one is planning to wear many pairs of Tzitzis, one on top of the other, he is required to examine the Tzitzis of each and every pair individually prior to wearing it.[31]  

 

Summary:

Every day upon wearing a pair of Tzitzis, one must examine the Tzitzis prior to the blessing, to verify its validity. Even in a case that for whatever reason one is not saying a blessing over the Tallis, he must examine the strings prior to wearing it. One is search for torn strings that invalidate the Tzitzis. In a time of need, it is permitted to skip the examination process. One is only required to examine the strings once a day. This applies even if one removed the Tallis and is now placing it back on.

 

Q&A

If one slept with his checked Tzitzis, must he check the strings in the morning upon awakening?

No.[32] If however he removes the Tzitzis and then puts it back on [such as upon changing, or upon showering or Mikveh] then he is to check the Tzitzis before re-wearing it.

 

 

If one owns only one pair of Tzitzis which he wears continuously throughout the night, is it required to be removed and re-checked in the morning?

This follows the same ruling as the previous Q&A!

 

If one checks his Tallis Gadol daily after Davening prior to replacing it in the Tallis bag, must it be checked again prior to Davening?[33]

No. [Nevertheless, it is best to do so in order to recite Barchi Nafshi, and untangle the strings.]

 

If one’s Tzitzis became tangled in an object and were then pulled out, must one examine them at that moment?[34]

Yes, as perhaps a string has torn and invalidated the Tzitzis.

 

If one is traveling and does not have another pair of Tzitzis available, is he still required to check the Tzitzis daily?[35]

Yes.[36]

 

Must one check the Tzitzis of a borrowed Tallis prior to wearing it?[37]

If one desires to recite a blessing over it, then the strings must be checked in all cases [if it was not yet checked that day by the owner]. If the Tallis was borrowed for the sake of performing the Mitzvah of Tzitzis then it must be checked prior to wearing it in all cases. If however it was borrowed for Kavod purposes, such as to be Chazan, then one is not required to check it if he does not plan to recite a blessing over it. A Shul’s Tallis must be checked even if one is wearing it for Kavod purposes, and is not saying a blessing [although the widespread custom is to be lenient[38]].

 

Segula for healthy teeth:[39] 

Checking the Tzitzis is a Segula to alleviate tooth pain.


[1] 8/13-16

[2] 8/13; Siddur Admur; Michaber 8/9; Rosh end of Hilchos Tzitzis

Other opinions: Some write that today one may be lenient to not check the Tzitzis daily, being it is difficult for the Tzitzis to tear. [Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 9/10; Imrei Yosher 1/16 in name of Chazon Ish; Yechaveh Daas 6/1]

[3] See Tehila Ledavid 8/4 [brought in Q&A] that this obligation is specifically prior to wearing the Tzitzis. If however one is already wearing the Tzitzis, there is no obligation to check them.

[4] Obligation or stringency: Some Poskim write that the examination of the Tzitzis is a mere stringency, and is not required from the letter of the law, being they have a Chezkas Kashrus. This explains why in previous times people were not careful to check the Tzitzis beforehand. [Rosh, brought in M”A 8/11; Taz 8/8; See Admur in Kuntrus Achron 8/2] Admur [8/13] however rules that doing so is a Rabbinical obligation and it was an institution of the Sages to check the Tzitzis daily.

[5] The reason: As perhaps a string has torn and the Tzitzis is no longer valid, and one will come to wear a four cornered garment without Tzitzis. [Admur 8/14; M”A 8/11; “Medakdikim” brought in Taz 8/8; Elya Raba 8/10; Bach 8; Levush 13/2; Machatzis Hashekel 8/11; Kaf Hachaim 8/38] Accordingly, one must examine the Tzitzis even in the event that a blessing will not be recited over it, as explained in 8/14!

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the reason one is required to check the Tzitzis prior to the blessing is in order so one does not recite a blessing in vain. [Michaber ibid; Tur 8; Taz 8/8; Sheivet Halevi 10/58; So concludes Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/20] However, in their opinion, one is not required to check the Tzitzis due to worry that it may be invalid, and hence one is wearing a four cornered garment without Tzitzis, as regarding this matter the Tallis retains its Chezkas Kashrus. It is only due to the severity of saying Hashem’s name in vain that we check before the blessing. [Taz ibid] Accordingly, one who is wearing many pairs of Tzitzis at the same time, is only required to check the first pair prior to the blessing. [Taz ibid] See M”B 8/22; Beis Shearim 6; Maharshag 1/28; Har Tzevi 1/8; Sheivet Halevi 10/58

[6] The reason the Tzitzis do not retain their Chazaka: We do not say that since the Tzitzis were verified the previous day to be valid, then it should retain its status quo [Chazaka] and assume to be valid also today just as it was a day or two before, as if the Tzitzis are not checked prior to the blessing, then they will never be checked. Certainly it is not possible to give the strings an unlimited Chezkas Kashrus being that it is common for the strings to rip through being stepped on, or due to other reasons. It is due to this that the Sages established for the Tzitzis to be checked daily. [Admur ibid; M”A 8/11; See Bach 8, brought in Kaf Hachaim 8/34]

[7] Admur 8/14; Elya Raba 8/10; M”A 8/11; Bach 8; Levush 13/2; Machatzis Hashekel 8/11; Kaf Hachaim 8/38; See Tehila Ledavid 8/4; See M”B 8/22 Biur Halacha “Yiayein” that when wearing without a blessing perhaps only the actual loose strings must be checked.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is not required to check the strings if he is not saying a blessing, and there is hence no worry o a blessing in vain. [Michaber ibid; Tur 8; Taz 8/8; Sheivet Halevi 10/58; So concludes Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/20]

[8] Ketzos Hashulchan 7/7; Igros Kodesh 6/202; 7/348

[9] Siddur Admur; Peri Eitz Chaim Tzitzis 6; Mishnes Chassidim; Kitzur Shelah; Kaf Hachaim 8/6; See Piskeiy Dinim 407; Glosses on Siddur Raskin 126

[10] So is the custom, and so is implied from the meaning of the verse which discusses “Atifa”.

[11] See glosses ibid of Rav Raskin that perhaps even if one is not checking the Tzitzis, the above phrase is to be recited upon wearing it again that day.

[12] 8/13; Siddur Admur; Taz 8/8 [regarding area by corner]; M”A 8/11 [regarding loose strings]

[13] This follows the final ruling in 12/2 that if even two of the 8 strings tear it is possible for the Tzitzis to be invalid. However according to the opinion that states even if four of the 8 strings tear it is still valid, it is not necessary to check the loose strings, as it is uncommon that four of them would tear. [M”A ibid]

[14] Admur ibid; Taz ibid; Olas Tamid 8/12; Elya Raba 8/2; Chesed Lealafim 8/9; Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 3; M”B 8/21; Kitzur SHU”A 9/7; Kaf Hachaim 8/37

The reason: The examination especially applies to the strings that are found in the hole, as it is common for it to tear in that area [Taz ibid]

Other Poskim: Some write that there is no need to check the Tzitzis in the area of the hole, as it is uncommon for it to tear in that area. [Ashel Avraham Butchach 8; See Igros Moshe 4/21]

[15] Siddur Admur; Shlah Chulin 112a

The reason: As according to Admur in the Siddur, and so rules Shelah ibid, even one torn string in this area invalidates the Tzitzis.

Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch and Other Poskim: Checking the “Braided area” is omitted by Admur 8/13 and Taz ibid. This is because according to the Shulchan Aruch, a single torn string within the Gedil does not invalidate the Tzitzis. Likewise, some write there is no need to suspect that a string will tear in the Gedil, being it is uncommon to occur. [Misgeres Hashulchan; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/20]

[16] Likkutei Maharich Tzitzis

[17] 8/13; M”A 8/11

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is required to check the Tzitzis prior to each time that he wears it, even if he already checked it that day. [Kaf Hachaim 8/34 in accordance to Bach 8]

[18] The reason: As the Tzitzis retains its status quo [Chezkas Kashrus] for the entire duration of that day, being that they were Kosher on that day when they were checked in the morning. [ibid; See Kaf Hachaim ibid] 

[19] 8/16; M”A 8/11 in name of Bach 17; M”B 8/22

[20] The reason: As certainly the Tzitzis have not become invalid in the interim. [ibid]

[21] 8/15; Siddur Admur; based on M”A 8/11 and Taz 13/3

[22] See next Halacha!

[23] The reason: As since one knows that the Tzitzis were valid the previous day, we establish the Tzitzis with their status quo [Chezkas Kashrus]. [Admur ibid]

If one did not check the Tzitzis the previous day: Tzaruch Iyun if one did not check the Tzitzis the previous day, such as also then there was a time of need, may one rely on the Chazaka of two days ago? See Ishkavta Direbbe footnote 16 who writes “yesterday or the day before”, and so writes Admur ibid in the reason to be stringent. Vetzaruch Iyun as to how many days this Chazaka can last? Seemingly however the Chazaka should last for as long as one needs, as certainly there will come a time that he is able to check the Tzitzis and will then be obligated to do so. [See Tehila Ledavid 8/5]

[24] The reason: As since the congregation is waiting for him, therefore due to Tircha Detzibur he may skip the examination process, hence relying on the Chazaka relayed above. [Admur ibid; Taz ibid]

[25] M”A ibid

[26] Sheivet Halevi 10/58; See Tehila Ledavid 8/5

[27] Admur 8/13 in Kuntrus Achron 2; See also 275/1; Bach 8; Implication of Rama 13/2; M”A 13/5; 275/3 in name of Mateh Moshe and Rashal; Mamar Mordechai 8/9; Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 3; Kaf Hachaim 8/36; M”B 8/20 and 13/7 that so is implied from M”A ibid; Daas Torah 8/9 that so is implied from Taz 13/3; Mate Efraim 584/17

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is not required to check the Tzitzis on Shabbos unless one has another Tallis available. [Beis Yaakov 84 as explained in Admur ibid; Koheles Shlomo brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid] As on Shabbos, if one does not have another Tallis available he will anyways be allowed to wear the Tallis. [Biur Halacha below] Admur in Kuntrus Achron ibid negates this opinion, as nevertheless one must check in order to save himself from a blessing in vain. Some Poskim record that the world is not accustomed to check the Tzitzis on Shabbos. [M”B ibid; Siach Yitzchak 4 that so was custom of Kesav Sofer; Rabbanim in Piskei Teshuvos 13 footnote 18] However Admur ibid records that the custom is to do so.

Ruling of M”B: In M”B 13/7 he writes that although from the Poskim ibid it is proven that one should check the Tzitzis even on Shabbos, nevertheless the custom is to not do so. The M”B in Biur Halacha 13/2 “Kodem Sheyeitzei” writes that one is to check the Tzitzis on Erev Shabbos for the sake of Shabbos. If one did not do so then he is to check it at home prior to going to Shul with the Tzitzis. If the Tzitzis is already in Shul then according to the M”A there is no longer a need to check, although according to the Taz one is still to check. [ibid]

[28] So writes Admur ibid in Kuntrus Achron; The M”B ibid however concludes that the custom of the world is not to check the Tzitzis on Shabbos. See Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 21

[29] Kovetz Oholei Lubavitch 3/5 that the Rebbe showed a young married student this order of checking on Shabbos. [printed in Shulchan Menachem 1/40]

[30] Admur 8/14; Elya Raba 8/10; Taz 8/8 concludes that it is proper to check each pair, despite it not being an obligation

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is only required to examine the first pair over which the blessing is recited. [Taz ibid in opinion of Tur and Michaber ibid; See Biur Halacha 8/9 “Yiayein”; See above]

[31] The reason: Although one only recites one blessing to cover all the pairs that he will wear, nevertheless the Tzitzis of each and every pair must be examined individually, as perhaps a string has torn and the Tzitzis is no longer valid, and one will come to wear a four cornered garment without Tzitzis. [Admur ibid; Elya Raba 8/10]

[32] Tehila Ledavid 8/4

The reason: As the Takana was to check the Tzitzis each day upon wearing it in order to prevent a situation that one will never check the Tzitzis. However, if one is already wearing the Tzitzis there is no need to check the Tzitzis [even if one did not yet do so that day] being that he will re-check it when he removes it and wears it the next time. [ibid]

[33] Torah Leshma 5

[34] Chemed Moshe 8/3; Miaseif Lechol Hamachanos 8/54

[35] Admur Kuntrus Achron 8/2; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/9; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/35

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is not required to check the Tzitzis upon traveling unless one has another Tallis available. [Beis Yaakov 84, brought in Elya Raba 8/10] Admur in Kuntrus Achron ibid negates this opinion, as nevertheless one must check in order to save himself from a blessing in vain.

[36] The reason: As if in truth the Tallis is invalid he gains nothing by wearing it, and in fact transgresses a blessing in vain and wearing a Tallis without Tzitzis. [Admur ibid]

[37] See Halacha 12 regarding the status of a borrowed Tallis

[38] Piskeiy Teshuvos 14/7

[39] Shulchan Menachem 5/253; see also Chesed Lealafim 24/3; Kaf Hachaim 24/12

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