- Question: [Tuesday, 6th Marcheshvan 5782]
I check my Tzitzis every morning in the mikvah to make sure that they are kosher, as is required, and sometimes I find the top knot to be loose and tighten it. I have two questions relating to this: May one tighten it in the mikvah and must one say Lisheim Mitzvas Tzitzis upon doing so?
It is permitted for you to tighten them in the mikvah, and while in my opinion you are not required to say Lisheim Mitzvas Tzitzis prior to doing so, you may choose to say it even while you are still in the changing room of the Mikveh.
Explanation regarding if retightening the top knots require the saying of Lishma: The law requires that one check his Tzitzis each morning prior to wearing them to make sure that they are kosher and so that he does not say a blessing in vain. Now, the loops that are bound around the Tzitzis braid are not considered to be valid unless they are tightened with a double knot, which would mean that if the top knots are loose, as often occurs, then it is as if that the top number of loops are invalid. Nonetheless, this does not mean that the actual Tzizis becomes invalid, as in truth the top loops are not necessary at all to validate the Tzitzis, as from the letter of the law a single set of loops suffices. Accordingly, it is questionable whether at all the retightening of these knots require the saying of Lisheim Mitzvas Tzitzis, which is itself under debate even when initially making Tzitzis and practically although we rule that Tzitzis must be made Lishma and that it should initially be verbalized, we also rule that even if it was not verbalized that it is valid, and so used to be even the initial custom of many. Practically, regarding the retightening of the knots it seems the custom of the world is to be lenient and not recite Lisheim Mitzvas Tzitzis each time that one does so, as we rely on the fact that all Tzitzis today is only done for the sake of a mitzvah, and that this knot is not even a Halachically required, as stated above. I am also not aware of any Sefer which makes mention of a need to say Lesheim Mitzvas Tzitzis when retightening the top knots, which is a very common occurrence, and at the very least it is not recorded in the classical Poskim. Nonetheless certainly there’s nothing wrong with saying it even prior to retightening the knots, and it would be considered a Hiddur to do so.
Explanation regarding retightening the top knots require the saying of Lishma: I don’t see any issue with retightening the knots in the actual mikvah, as there is no issue in fulfilling mitzvah’s in a Mikveh, and hence we are accustomed to wear Tzitzis even in a bathroom or bathhouse. Now, regarding saying Lisheim Mitzvas Tzitzis in a bathhouse by the changing room, seemly this is permitted, as aside for the fact that one can rightfully argue that it is not even considered like words of Torah and is no different than fulfilling the mitzvah of Tzitzis itself while there, in truth in the changing room of the bathhouse you are allowed to give a Pesak Halacha and think words of Torah, and hence simply saying “Lisheim Mitzvas” should be allowed.
Sources: See regarding the requirement of Lishma: Admur 14:3; Michaber 14:2; Rambam Tzitzis 1:12; Rashi Sukkah 9a; Rosh Tzitzis 14; See regarding thinking Lishma: Admur 11:3; Siddur Admur; Michaber 11:1; Shulchan Hatahor 14:2; Chesed Lealafim 14:2; Ben Ish Chaiy Lech Lecha 3; M”B 11 and 14:8; Biur Halacha 14:2 “Belo Kavana” and “Lo Yivarech”; Kaf Hachaim 14:8; Ketzos Hashulchan 7:15; Meishiv Davar 3 in response to the Chofetz Chaim; Aruch Hashulchan 14:5; Minchas Shlomo 2:1; Kesav Sofer 2; Eretz Tzvi 1:2 Piskeiy Teshuvos 11:3; See regarding the validity of a single looped Tzitzis: Admur 11:25-32; M”A 11:19-20; Menachos 39a; See regarding the requirement of double knots: Admur 11:28; M”B 11:64; See regarding the allowance to perform a Mitzvah in a bathroom or bathhouse: Darkei Teshuvah 19:22; Piskeiy Teshuvos 76:1; Mishneh Halachos 5:18; Yeshuos Moshe 3:24; See regarding the allowance to think and even say a Pesak in the changing room of a bathhouse: Admur 84:1