How to wear Tallis

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How to wear the Tallis on the body [1]

The Mitzvah of Tzitzis is held very precious amongst all Jewry and is performed by them daily. However, not all are informed that the proper wearing of a Tallis is dependent on numerous aspects of Halacha, some of which can even invalidate the Mitzvah all together, while others add the extra Hiddur that G-d Fearing Jews are meant to abide by. The following aspects relate to the proper wearing of a Tallis Gadol/Katan:

  1. How much of the body must the Tallis Gadol/Katan cover for it to be valid, and be considered that one is fulfilling the Mitzvah? [Halacha A and D]
  2. How is the Tallis Gadol worn during the blessing and how should it be worn throughout Davening? [Halacha B-C]
  3. How should the strings of the Tzitzis be positioned on the corners of the Tallis? [Halacha E]
  4. Should the Tzitzis strings hang out or be tucked in ones pants? [Halacha F]
  5. May a Tallis be worn inside out or upside down? [Halacha G-H]
  6. Must one check the strings and separate the Tzitzis prior to wearing it?

 

A. Tallis Gadol:

Covering the body:[2] The Tallis Gadol must be worn in a way that it covers one’s actual body. Those that cover with their Tallis only their head and around their neck, and are not particular to cover their body, are to be protested.[3] [One who says a blessing on such a wearing is saying a blessing in vain.[4] Likewise, those that wear the Tallis in a way that it is folded and draped over ones shoulders, with the strings of the two right corners resting on ones right chest, and the two left corner strings resting on one’s left chest, do not fulfill the Mitzvah and are to be protested.[5]]

How much of the body must the Tallis cover:[6] The Tallis Gadol[7] must be worn in a way that the width of at least one Ama [49 cm] of material, and the total length of at least two Amos [98 cm] is spread open and covers the person’s body.[8] The folded areas of the Tallis are not included in the above size. [Thus, those that role the sides of the Tallis Gadol in a way that the Tallis does not cover 49 cm of the width of the body, or 98 cm of the length of the body, are mistaken.[9]]

Covering the head-Yishmaeli wrap:[10] It is disputed whether one must also cover his head with the Tallis, in addition to covering the body. Some Poskim[11] rule that the Tallis must be large enough for one to perform the Yishmaeli wrap[12], for it to be obligated in Tzitzis.[13] According to this opinion one must wear his Tallis in a Yishmaeli wrap for it to be considered that he is fulfilling the Mitzvah.[14] However according to those opinions[15] which disregard this size requirement for the Tallis, there is no need to wear it in a Yishmaeli wrap, and rather one is to simply cover his head with the Tallis at the time of the blessing.[16] Practically, we rule like the latter opinion [and hence one is not obligated to wrap himself with the Tallis in a Yishmaeli wrap even during the blessing, and is not even required to cover his head at all with the Tallis, with exception to the time of the blessing.[17] Nevertheless, see end of this Halacha that the scrupulous are careful to cover their head with the Tallis throughout Davening.]

During the blessing:[18] Despite the above ruling, in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis in its highest standard[19] it is proper to wrap oneself in the Yishmaeli wrap while one is saying the blessing. One is to stand in this position of wrapping for the period of time it takes to walk four Amos.[20] By doing so one fulfills his obligation even according to the first opinion.[21] The following is how the Yishmaeli wrap is performed during the blessing:

 

Q&A

May one wear a small Tallis [shawl] which only covers the head or neck?[22]

One does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis by wearing the Tallis in such a way, as explained above in Halacha A.

 

If one is not performing the Yishmaeli wrap with the Tallis Gadol, what blessing is he to recite?[23]

If one does not plan to perform the Yishmaeli wrap [such as due to lack of knowledge], and rather plans to simply wear the Tallis over his head and shoulders, he is nevertheless to recite the blessing of Lehisatef Betzitzis.[24]

 

B. How to perform the Yishmaeli wrap of the Tallis Gadol during the blessing:

Checking and separating the Tzitzis prior to wearing: See Chapter 2 Halacha 5-6!

Standing while putting on the Tallis: See Chapter 2 Halacha 8!

When to say the blessing?[25] When one begins to wrap the Tallis, prior to completely wrapping it, one recites the blessing of Lehisatef Betzitzis.[26] [The Chabad custom is as follows: After checking the Tzitzis, the Tallis is unfolded and opened wide. One then kisses its upper edge[27], and swings it around from the position in which it was held in front of him, until it is hanging behind him. At this point, while the Tallis is behind him, the blessing of Lehisatef is begun. The blessing is recited slowly and is only concluded in proximity to wrapping the two right corners around the neck, over the shoulder of his left side.[28]]

How to do the wrap:[29] The Yishmaeli wrapping is performed in the following method: [After the Tallis hangs from behind] one lifts the top[30] and bottom corner of the right side of the Tallis in one’s right hand and wraps it around one’s neck towards his left. The fringes of the right side are to rest behind ones neck/shoulder of the left hand side.[31] [Many Chabad Chassidim are accustomed, as was the Rebbe Rashab[32], to even out both sides of the Tallis prior to swinging the right Tzitzis over the neck.[33] The widespread Chabad custom today is to grab the actual corners with the right hand, and then swing the Tzitzis over the shoulder.[34] However in the tradition of Reb Shilem one swings the entire right fold over the shoulder, and not just the Tzitzis.[35] Whatever the case, it is inappropriate to throw the Tallis over one’s entire head in a way that it prevents him from seeing, as explained below.[36]] The two corners of the left hand side remain in front of him [by the left hand side], in the direction of the face. [The widespread Chabad custom today is to lift the two corners of the left hand side with the left hand and then proximate the Tzitzis near the chest. However, according to the tradition of Reb Shilem, as is implied from the Halachic sources, one is to leave the left Tzitzis hanging on the front left side, pointing slightly to the right, without lifting it.[37] See Picture 5!] Thus in total, all four corners of Tzitzis are on the left side, the two of his left side by his front left, and the two of his right side by his back left.[38] The material of the Tallis must cover his front and back until [below[39]] his chest [for a total of one Ama on each side[40]]. If the Tallis does not cover his body, and simply covers his neck, according to all it is not considered the Yishmaeli wrap at all and does not contain any Mitzvah according to any opinion.[41] The [upper edge of the Tallis[42], which covers one’s head during the blessing[43]] does not need to cover one’s face up until below one’s mouth.[44] However it is to cover one’s face until slight below one’s eyes.[45] [However it is inappropriate for the Tallis to cover one’s eyes in a way that it prevents him from seeing.[46]] One is to stand in this position of wrapping for the period of time it takes to walk four Amos and he is then to wear the Tallis according to the community custom.[47]   

The statement of Mah Yakar:[48] After the blessing, while one is still wrapped in the above form of Yishmaeli wrap, one is to recite the verses of “Mah Yakar Chasdech…” [Tehillim 36:8-11] as printed in the Siddur.[49]

Looking at the Tzitzis during the wrapping:[50] It is proper to look at the Tzitzis upon one wrapping it over him, while saying the blessing.[51] [According to Kabala, one is to look at the Tzitzis of the Tallis Gadol also after the Tallis has been positioned to rest over the shoulders.[52]]

Miscellaneous laws relating to the blessing over a Tallis Gadol: See Chapter 2 Halacha 2!

 

Practical summary of wearing Tallis Gadol according to Chabad custom:[53]

  1. The folded Tallis Gadol is placed on the right shoulder, and one checks and separates its Tzitzis while reciting the two verses beginning, Barchi Nafshi.
  2. The Tallis is then unfolded and opened wide; one kisses its upper edge, and it is swung around from the position in which it is held in front of the person until it is hanging behind him.
  3. The upper edge of the Tallis is placed on one’s head and is stretched forward over one’s face until it loosely covers the eyes.
  4. At this point, the blessing is slowly begun and is only completed at the end of the wrapping when one is about to bring the two right hand corners of the Tallis in front of the neck and over the left shoulder, as explained in the next steps.
  5. Many Chabad Chassidim are accustomed to even out both sides of the Tallis prior to swinging the right Tzitzis over the neck.
  6. One lifts the top and bottom corner of the right side of the Tallis in one’s right hand and wraps it around one’s neck towards his left. The fringes of the right side are to rest behind ones neck/shoulder of the left hand side. [The widespread Chabad custom today is to grab the actual corners with the right hand, and swing the Tzitzis over the shoulder. However in the tradition of Reb Shilem and the Rebbe Rashab one evens out the sides of the Tallis prior to swinging it over the neck, and then swings the entire right side over the shoulder, and not just the Tzitzis.] It is inappropriate however to throw the Tallis over one’s entire head in a way that it prevents one from seeing.
  7. The Tzitzis of the left side are to remain positioned on the left side thus having in total all four corners of Tzitzis on the left side; the two of his left side by his front left, and the two of his right side by his back left. [The widespread Chabad custom today is to lift the two corners of the left hand side with the left hand and then proximate the Tzitzis near the chest. However according to the tradition of Reb Shilem, as well as according to most sources, one is to leave the left Tzitzis hanging on the front left side, pointing slightly to the right, without lifting it.]
  8. The material of the Tallis must cover one’s front and back until below his chest for a total of one Ama on each side. There however is no need to draw its upper edge so far forward over one’s head that it will cover the face down to the mouth; rather, only far enough to cover the eyes.
  9. One is to stand in this position of wrapping for the period of time it takes to walk four Amos.
  10. One is then to undo the wrap and roll the right side of the Tallis over his right shoulder and the left side over the left shoulder

 

Chabad tradition of wrapping the Tallis received from the Mashpia Reb Shilem:[54]

After placing the Tallis around one’s back and head, just past the eyes, one then evens out and folds the two sides of the Tallis so that the corners parallel each other. This means that the right side is evened and folded in a way that its bottom and top corner are now opposite each other. [See picture 1] The same is done for the left side. [See picture 2] This was the custom of the Rebbe Rashab.[55] One then throws the right side around the neck, over the left shoulder, as written in Admur in the Siddur. [See picture 3] One then stretches the ends of the folded right area until it reaches the back of the right shoulder, although having its Tzitzis hang on the back left side. [See picture 4] One then verifies that the front of the right side is covering one Ama of one’s chest. [See picture 6] One does not hold the left corners in his hand and simply leaves it to hang loose. [See picture 5]

 

Q&A

May one speak during the wrapping?[56]

It is forbidden to speak, or even answer for Kaddish or Kedusha, until the blessing and the wrapping is complete. Once the wrapping is complete [step 7 above] one may talk. Due to this, one is not to begin saying the statement of Mah Yakar until the wrapping is complete [step 7].

 

How long is one to stand in the wrapped position? What is the definition of four Amos?[57]

Approximately three seconds.

 

How is a lefty to wrap the Tallis?[58]

In the same method and directions as a right handed person.

 

Is one to perform the Yishmaeli wrap each time he wears the Tallis Gadol, even if it is the same day?[59]

Each time that one recites a blessing over the Tallis Gadol he is to perform the Yishmaeli wrap.

 

Tradition of Reb Shilem

 

    1. Right side is folded    2. Both sides are folded     3. Throwing right side over

   

  

 4. Back view of the right fold  5. Position of Left side   6. Right side covers Ama of chest

       

 

C. How should the Tallis Gadol be worn during prayer, after the blessing?

Having two pairs of Tzitzis on each side:[60] One is to place two sets of Tzitzis by ones front side, and two sets of Tzitzis by ones back side, in order to be surrounded by Mitzvos.  [In the event that one wore that Tallis in a way that all four Tzitzis are either in font or in back, he nevertheless fulfills the Mitzvah.[61] Furthermore, some are even initially accustomed to do so, as brought in the worldly custom below. Regarding if one is to have two sets of Tzitzis by one’s right side and two sets by ones left side, see next that in the past the custom was to have all the Tzitzis by one’s left side, while today the custom is to have two by the left and two by the right.]

Old Kabalistic custom:[62] It is a proper and good custom based on both the revealed[63] and esoteric parts of our Torah to wear the Tallis throughout the entire prayer as did the Arizal, in a way that it covers one’s head and body both in front as well as in back, around one’s arms, thus having the right side resting on the left side.[64] It is to be worn in a similar method to the Yishmaeli wrap, with half of the left side of the Tallis folded and wrapped over ones head, having the top left corner rest on his chest, or near it. Half of the right side of the Tallis is to be wrapped in front of him until it reaches below the chest, having the width of an Ama. The top right corner of the Tallis is to be thrown over his left shoulder.[65] This custom was followed in the times of the Gemara and was still accustomed in the times of the Rama. [In the past, many used to wear the Tallis in this method throughout Davening, however in later generations this form of wearing has completely ceased. The Rebbe Maharash was witnessed to not wear the Tallis in the above mentioned method.[66]]

The custom today:[67] The Chabad custom[68] [as well as the custom today in most communities[69]] is to place the sides of the Tallis on ones shoulder in order to have the Tzitzis strings of the right and left corner of the Tallis hang on both ones front and back. This is done in order so one has two sets of Tzitzis by ones front side, and two sets of Tzitzis by ones back side, in order to be surrounded in Mitzvos.

Old worldly custom:[70] The worldly custom however [in times of Admur, and so is the custom today in some Chassidic and Yemenite communities[71]] is not to place the sides of the Tallis on their shoulders [and they rather hover the Tallis over their arms and body [thus having all four Tzitzis on their front side]. [Those that follow this custom are also accustomed to tuck the bottom Tzitzis into their belt in order to prevent it from touching the ground.[72]]

 

Covering the body:[73]

No matter which custom one follows, one must beware that the Tallis covers his body properly, which is one Ama of his back.[74] Those who role the Tallis in a way that it does not cover an Ama in width of the back do not fulfill the Mitzvah.

 

Covering the head with the Tallis Gadol during Davening:

It is the custom of those particular in Mitzvos, and of all the Chassidim[75], to cover their head with the Tallis Gadol throughout the entire period of time that they are wearing it, in order so their head is not uncovered for even one moment.[76] Doing so humbles ones heart and leads to fear of heaven.[77] One who removes his Tallis from his head is like one who passes over the chance to perform a Mitzvah.[78] One is not to uncover his head from the Tallis even if he is very hot.[79] The Tallis is to remain on one’s head from the beginning of Davening until the end.[80]

 

Is the Tallis to also cover the head Tefillin during Davening?

The Mekubalim[81] write that the head Tefillin is to be completely covered by the Tallis Gadol. However the Poskim[82] rule that one is not to completely cover the head Tefillin, and so is the ruling of Admur.[83] Some[84] explain that the Tallis is to cover the head Tefillin like a tent. The Rebbe was not accustomed to cover the head Tefillin at all with the Tallis, as seen for example in this picture:

 

 

D. How to wear a Tallis Katan:[85]

How much of the body must the Tallis Katan cover? The Tallis Katan does not have to be large enough to cover the body in the form of a Yishmaeli wrap.[86] The Tallis Katan must be worn in a way that the width of the Tallis covers at least one Ama [49 cm] of the body, and the length of the Tallis covers at least two Amos [98 cm] of the body, [one Ama in front and one Ama in back]. The folded areas of the Tallis are not included in the above size. Thus, all those which are careful to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis the entire day must be careful to constantly beware and supervise that at least one Ama of the width and length of the Tallis Katan is spread open and not folded [in both the front and back].[87] Due to this requirement, those that manufacture the Tallis Katan are to beware to make the width of the Tallis a littler wider than the minimum width of one Ama, as it is difficult to achieve that the entire width of the Tallis remain flatly opened and not contain any folds.[88]

Covering the chest:[89] Based on Kabala[90], the Tallis Katan is to cover the entire chest area [up until the neck]. Hence if one has a V neck Tallis Katan he is to sew or button the sides. [If one has a Tallis Katan with a hole in the middle he must be careful that it does not slide down below the chest. Due to this reason, the custom is not to make the neck hole very large, and it is rather made large enough to simply enter the head, in order to ensure that the chest remain covered.[91] Seemingly, due to this requirement to cover the chest, the Chabad custom is not to wear a V neck Tallis Katan but rather to make a small neck hole as described above.]

How is one to wear the Tallis Katan during the blessing?[92] [In previous times when the Tallis Katan was large enough to perform the Yishmaeli wrap[93]] if one desired to recite a blessing of “Lehisatef Betzitzis” over the wearing of the Tallis Katan he would initially wear it in a Yishmaeli wrap at the time of the blessing.[94] One would stand in this position of wrapping for at least the amount of time it takes to walk four Amos. Afterwards one would remove it from ones head and wear it regularly on his body.[95] In the event that one is unable to do a Yishmaeli wrap with the Tallis Katan, or one desires to wear it without performing the Yishmaeli wrap, then he cannot recite the blessing of “Lehisatef Betzitzis”. Rather one is to say the blessing of “Al Mitzvas Tzitzis“.[96] [Others[97] however argue that one cannot recite the blessing of “Lehisatef” on a Tallis Katan even if it is large enough to perform the Yishmaeli wrap. Practically, in today’s times due to the small size of the Tallis Katan, we do not perform the Yishmaeli wrap with the Tallis Katan upon saying the blessing. For this reason the wording of the blessing is “Al Mitzvahs Tzitzis” as opposed to “Lehisateif Betzitzis“.[98]]

The laws of reciting a blessing over a Tallis Katan: See Chapter 2 Halacha 3!

 

Summary:

The Tallis Katan is worn in a way that it covers at least 49 cm by 49 cm of one’s front and 49 cm by 49 cm of one’s back. It is to cover the chest. We do not perform the Yishmaeli wrap when wearing a Tallis Katan, and hence the blessing of Al Mitzvas Tzitzis is recited upon wearing it.

 

Q&A

Why do some Chassidim wear a bindle over their Tallis Katan?

This is done in order to prevent the Tallis from folding over and losing the measurement of an Ama in width. This is especially pertinent when sleeping at night with a Tallis Katan, in order to ensure that the Tallis remains spread open even when one turns in his sleep.

 

May one fold his top half of the Tzitzis over his neck while playing ball?

Based on the above ruling in the Siddur, one may not do so, as by doing so he loses the Shiur of the Tallis.

 

If one wears a V-Neck Tallis Katan, does the area where it is cut count within the measurement that is required to cover the body?

Any area of the body that is not actually covered by the Tallis is not included in the required measurement of covering. Thus, if the V area of the Tallis Katan is folded, all that area is considered not covered and it may jeopardize having a 1×1 Ama covered area on one’s front side of his body. Perhaps this is an additional reason for why according to Chabad custom we do not wear V neck Tallis Katan. In the event that one purchased a V neck Tallis Katan and he desires to be careful in this matter, he can sew the edges of the V neck, hence leaving only the neck hole open, as brought above from Admur in the Siddur.

 

E. Verifying that the Tzitzis hits the corner of the Tallis:[99]

The Tzitzis of a Tallis Gadol/Katan is to be tied to the corner in a way that a) the first knot rests 4 cm above the corner, and b) the Tzitzis hits the corner when it is worn, and does not hover over the ground. Due to this, one must beware upon tying the Tzitzis to the corner, to tie it in accordance to the way one wears the Tallis, in the way that will assure that the braid hits the corner and does not dangle straight over the ground when he wears it. By a two hole Tallis Katan this is automatically accomplished by tying the first knots onto the two holes. In order to accomplish this by a single hole Tallis one must tie the first knot of the Tzitzis very tight on the side of the corner, hence preventing the knot from falling below the 4cm mark. The Chabad custom by the Tallis Gadol is to make a side hole into which the Shamash is fastened after making the two knots, hence preventing the knots from falling below the 4 cm mark. See Chapter 3 Halacha 12G and Chapter 4 Halacha 10A for the full details of this subject!

 

F. Wearing the Tallis/Tzitzis under or over the clothing:[100]

One who wears a Tallis Katan is to wear it over [all] his clothing.[101] Those that wear it under their clothing are [at the very least] to be careful to wear it in a way that the Tzitzis remain constantly within one’s view, in order so one will constantly remember the Mitzvos upon looking at them. Thus, the Tzitzis must be hanging outside one’s pants, unlike those that tuck the Tzitzis in the corners [or pockets].[102] [Practically, it is no longer the custom amongst any segment of Jewry to wear the Tallis Katan on top of all the clothing.[103] The Chabad custom is to wear the Tallis Katan under the shirt [but over the undershirt[104]], and to have the Tzitzis stick out.[105] This is also the custom of most of Ashkenazi Jewry.[106] In other Chassidic groups the custom is to wear the Tallis Katan over the shirt, but under the overcoat.[107] The current Sefaradi custom is to wear the Tallis Katan under the shirt and have the Tzitzis tucked inside.[108] Those accustomed to wear the Tzitzis outwards may not swerve from their custom to begin wearing their Tzitzis tucked inside.[109]]

In a time of need:[110] In a pressing situation, such as one who is walking amongst gentiles and fears being scoffed, may tuck the Tzitzis in his pockets. However, at the time of the blessing the Tzitzis are to be revealed for the amount of time it takes to walk four Amos.

 

Summary:

The Chabad custom is to wear the Tallis Katan under the shirt, but over the undershirt, and to have the Tzitzis stick out. One may not swerve from their custom of wearing the Tzitzis out, to begin wearing their Tzitzis tucked inside.

 

Looking at the Tzitzis constantly:

One is to constantly look at his Tzitzis throughout the day. Doing so is a great source of assistance to the soul to prevent it from sin.[111] There is a tradition amongst meticulous Jews that even when they were sitting idle they would constantly touch the Tzitzis and look at them.[112]

 

May one wear a Tallis Katan on his actual skin, or must he wear an undershirt under it?

There is no prohibition against wearing a Tallis Katan on one’s actual skin.[113] Nevertheless, the Arizal[114] was accustomed to wear the Tallis Katan over the undershirt, and so is the widespread custom amongst Chassidim.

 

G. May one wear a Tallis upside down, with its top part on the bottom?[115]

One is not to wear the Tallis upside down, and hence is to be careful to always wear the top part of the Tallis [Gadol] on one’s head.[116] It is for this reason that it is customary to sew a piece of silk on the top part of the Tallis, as a sign towards which side is the top part. The Arizal[117] however was not careful to avoid wearing the Tallis upside down [and so rule other Poskim[118]].[119] [According to all, the Mitzvah is valid even if it was worn upside down, although upon noticing one should change and wear it in the correct manner without saying a blessing. [120]]

 

Q&A

Does the above law apply to a Tallis Katan?

Some[121] say the above law applies likewise to a Tallis Katan, and hence they make a sign[122] on the front part of the Tallis Katan in order so it is not worn in the opposite order.[123]

 

If the top of the Tallis has torn, may one permanently switch sides of the Tallis?[124]

Yes.

 

H. May one wear a Tallis inside out?[125]

A Tallis Katan[126] [that has two holes[127] in the corner] is not to be worn inside out.[128] [Regarding a Tallis Gadol, and a Tallis Katan that does not have two holes: Some[129] write against doing so. From other Poskim[130] however it is apparent that there is no need to be careful in this matter. Practically, by Chabad Tzitzis one is to be careful in this matter.[131]]

 

I. May one wear a folded Tallis?[132]

Every person must beware not to wear a folded Tallis.[133] Thus even a Tallis that is very long and is the length of two Talleisim is not to be folded and worn in this method. See Chapter 3 Halacha 11C for the full details of this subject!

 


[1] 8/5-8

[2] Admur 8/8

[3] 8/8; M”A 8/2

The reason: As according to all opinions the main “wearing” of a Tallis is when one is wearing the Tallis over one’s body. The argument brought in 8/5 [see next] is only regarding if the Tallis must also be placed over ones head, however covering the head alone without covering the body, according to all does not suffice to be considered clothing at all. [ibid; See 10/20 regarding a scarf, that for this reason it is exempt from Tzitzis.]

[4] Matzos Shmurim p. 23; Kaf Hachaim 8/9; See Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3

[5] M”A 8/2; Masas Binyamin 48; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/9; See Nehar Mitrayim 1 which says that most Egyptian Jews wear the Tallis this way and they are to be taught to wear it properly, at least for the time of the blessing.

[6] Siddur Admur [4 and 11 in Raskin] “This entire measurement of the width and length of the Tallis Katan needs to be entirely spread open, and clothe the person throughout its entire measurement, as the verse states “Asher Tichaseh Bah”. This teaches us that the above required measurement must cover the person and may not be folded or dented in any amount, being that the folded and bent area is not included in the measurement.”

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the folded areas are included within the Shiur of the Tallis, being that the folded area is meant to be spread open, and hence it is not necessary to prevent the Tallis Katan from folding. [Beis Yaakov 106; Beir Heiytiv 16/1; Bnei Chayi 16; M”B 16/4; See also Michaber 10/6; Admur 10/13; Tehila Ledavid 16/2] The world is not accustomed like this opinion of Admur in his Siddur. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/3]

[7] This Halacha in Admur in the Siddur is stated regarding the Tallis Katan, although he repeats the same concept also regarding the Tallis Gadol in letter 12 [in Siddur Raskin] “However one must beware that also during the Atifa the Tallis Gadol covers his front the width of an Ama that is spread open.”

[8] Must the Ama in width and length cover the body both in front and back? Admur ibid [Siddur 4] does not explicitly mention whether the Shiur Tallis must cover both the front and back or if it suffices to have it all in the back. By a Tallis Katan there is no other choice, and hence both the front and back must be covered one Ama in both length and width, as only then is one’s body covered for two Amos. However by a Tallis Gadol, perhaps it suffices to have two Amos cover from one’s shoulders until the back. Perhaps it is due to this that when we wear the Tallis during Davening we are not particular that the front be covered by an Ama, and hence allow to fold the Tallis on the shoulders. However in letter 12 [in Siddur Raskin] of the Siddur Admur states “However one must beware that also during the Atifa the Tallis Gadol covers his front the width of an Ama that is spread open.” Likewise in Siddur letter 11 [in Siddur Raskin] Admur writes that even according to Nigleh “it is proper that the main Atifa not be only in the back but also in the front until below the chest in order so one be surrounded by Mitzvos”

[9] Pashut; Heard from Rav Eliyahu Landa

[10] 8/5-6; The idea of a Yishmaeli wrap is first mentioned in Moed Katan 24a regarding a mourner. It is disputed as to whether this concept is relevant also to the wearing of a Tallis.

[11] Opinion in Admur 8/5; Geonim [brought in Baal Hahittur Tzitzis 2/3 and Tur 8 and Beis Yosef] Ritva brought in Nimukeiy Yosef Tzitzis; Rabbeinu Sadya Gaon brought in Kaf Hachaim 8/7; Tosafus Erechin 2b; Ridbaz 1343; Makor Chaim 8/4; See Shoel Umeishiv Gimel 3/128; Maharsham 4/5

[12] This means that one is to cover his head and face with the Tallis until below the mouth, by the cheek bones. [Admur ibid]

[13] Admur 8/5

The reason: As the Sages established the wording of the blessing made over the Tallis “to wrap oneself with Tzitzis“, hence implying that the Mitzvah is specifically to wrap the Tallis. Now, since any wrap which is not the Yishmaeli wrap is not termed as wrapping but rather as wearing [see Moed Katan 24a], therefore one must wear the Tallis like a Yishmaeli. According to this opinion, the Tallis Katan of today is exempt from Tzitzis, being that the command only applies to clothing that is large enough to be wrapped like a Yishmaeli. [ibid]

[14] 8/5

[15] Opinion in Admur 8/6; Michaber 8/2-3; Tur 8 in name of Ball Ittur Tzitzis 2/3, Nimukeiy Yosef ibid; Terumos Hadeshen 45; Mahark; Iggur; Mahariy

[16] 8/6; Michaber 8/2

The reason why according to this opinion the blessing is Lehisatef Betzitzis: The reason the Sages instituted to recite the dialect of “Lehisatef Betzitzis” is because it was the custom in the times of the Sages, which established this blessing, to wrap their heads in the Tallis. [Furthermore] even in their times they did not wrap their heads in the Tallis in a Yishmaeli wrap, but rather [they covered their heads with the Tallis] as is commonly done by people that wrap themselves in their clothing and go about their work. At times they cover their heads and at times their heads are uncovered. Therefore we also, although we recite the dialect of “Lehisatef Betzitzis”, nevertheless we do not have to wrap ourselves more [than the original Sages]. [ibid]

[17] So is implied from Admur ibid that the head must be covered according to all [at least during the blessing] and the dispute is only regarding whether it must be covered in a Yishmaeli wrap and so proves Radbaz 1/143 that the head must be covered from the above wording of Admur which is based on the Tur and also from the fact the Nussach of the blessing is Lihisatef Betzitzis. However Tzaruch Iyun from Chayeh Adam 12/4 that one is Yotzei Bedieved even if he said Lihisatef on a Tallis Katan, and that he may do so even Lechatchila, even if he does not do Atifas Yishmaeilim. The Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 writes “If one does not cover the head when wearing the Tallis by the blessing, he has not fulfilled the blessing.” However seemingly he is referring to the case of the Maasas Binyamin, in which only the shoulders are covered and not the bod.

[18] 8/6; Siddur Admur; M”A 8/2 based on Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 1-2; Kitzur SHU”A 9/8; M”B 8/4; Poskim brought in Kaf Hachaim 8/7

Other opinions: Some rule one is to cover the head with the Tallis after saying the blessing, however no mention is made of Atifas Yishmaelim. [Michaber 8/2-3; See M”B 8/4; Chayeh Adam 12/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 58] Some are accustomed to not even cover their head. [Gra in Maaseh Rav 15; Chayeh Adam 12/3; Custom of Yemen]

Ruling of the Siddur: In the Siddur Admur explains that it is proper to wear the Tallis throughout the prayer in a way that the left part of its length is by ones back while the right part by ones front. This is the custom of the Arizal and is also recommended in accordance to the revealed aspects of Torah.

[19] Lit. Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar

[20] Admur ibid; Siddur Admur; Terumos Hadeshen 45

[21] The reason: As the main care of the first opinion is that one should wear the Tallis in a Yishmaeli wrap at least initially upon wearing it [and saying the blessing] as even according to their opinion one can remove the Tallis altogether after the blessing is recited after the initial wearing. [Admur ibid] This implies that in truth, according to the first opinion, when one undoes the Yishmaeli wrapping he ceases to fulfill the Mitzvah.

[22] 8/8; M”A 8/2; Masas Binyamin 48; Poskim in Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 and Kaf Hachaim 8/9

[23] See Admur 8/29 [regarding if Tallis Gadol was replaced during Shemoneh Esrei]; M”A 8/12; P”M 8 A”A 12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/5 and 21; See Chayeh Adam 12/4 that one may even initially say this blessing on a Tallis Katan!

[24] The reason: As Admur 8/5-6 explains that the main ruling follows the opinion that states one is not required to do Ituf, and the wording of Lehisatef is going on the covering of the head. Vetzaruch Iyun why Rama/Admur rules to recite Al Mitzvas Tzitzis by a Tallis Katan even if it is large enough to perform the Atifa and he simply chooses not to do so, if we rule like the opinion that holds one is not required to do Atifa, as explained above! [See Chayeh Adam ibid that for this reason rules one may recite Lihisatef oin a Tallis Katan even initially!] Perhaps the explanation is that even according to the lenient opinion in order to say the blessing of Lehisatef it must at the very least be a type of Tallis that is at times worn over the head, however a Tallis Katan that is never worn over the head is not valid to recite Lehisatef.

If he does not plan to wear the Tallis Gadol over his head at all: If one does not plan to cover his head at all with the Tallis Gadol, even during the blessing, then Tzaruch Iyun if the blessing of Lihisatef may be recited. [See Radbaz 1/143; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 “If one does not cover the head when wearing the Tallis by the blessing, he has not fulfilled the blessing.” However seemingly the Shaareiy Teshuvah is referring to the case of the Maasas Binyamin, in which only the shoulders are covered and not the body at all; See Chayeh Adam ibid. Vetzaruch Iyun!]

[25] Admur 8/2; Elya Raba 8/1; See also Levush 8/1; Taz 643/2; implication of Michaber 8/1; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 46 that one at least begins the wrapping before the blessing.

Ruling of Admur in Siddur-Before begin to wrap: In the Siddur [letter 24 in Raskin] Admur states “Prior to beginning to wrap one is to say the blessing” and [in letter 12] “Immediately after the blessing of Lehisatef one is to be wrapped”. Hence while in the Shulchan Aruch Admur rules to first begin the wrap before the blessing, in the Siddur he rules to do the entire blessing before even beginning the wrap, as rule the other Poskim listed below. Our custom in Sefer Haminhagim seemingly follows both opinions, as we begin the blessing before the wrap and continue it throughout the wrapping.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is to say the entire blessing prior to even beginning to wear the Tallis. [implication of Siddur Admur; Shagas Aryeh 32; Majority of Achronim recorded in M”B 8/2; Kaf Hachaim 8/3; Custom of Rebbe Rashab as heard from Rav Eliyahu Landa Shlita, in name of the Ishkavta Derebbe] Some say this means while the Tallis is in front of the person [custom of Rebbe Rashab], in his hand, while others say this means while the Tallis is behind ones back, spread open. Practically, the worldly custom is like this latter opinion. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/5 footnote 43] Other Poskim rule one is to say the blessing after wearing the Tallis [Michaber 8/1]

[26] The reason: As one must recite the blessing prior to fulfilling the Mitzvah, and hence the blessing must be recited prior to completing the wrapping. [Admur ibid based on 25/17]

When is the beginning of the wrap? See Sheiris Yehuda 1 and Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 43 for the meaning of this statement, and if it means to say the blessing while the Tallis is by one’s back, as is the Chabad custom to begin the blessing at that time, or if it means while it is already being wrapped, but just not like Atifa Yishmaeli with the Tzitzis thrown behind ones back, or prior to holding the Tzitzis in ones hands after the wrap is complete [as rules Taz ibid].

[27] The Rebbe Rashab was accustomed to kiss the Tallis three times. [Ishkavta Derebbe p. 21]

[28] Sefer Haminhagim p. 10 [English]; Hayom Yom p. 85 [5th Elul]; See Sheiris Yehuda 1; Divrei Nechemia 9

The reason behind our custom: Seemingly our custom suspects for all the above opinions, as we begin the blessing before even beginning to wrap it on our body, as rule majority of Achronim ibid, and we conclude the blessing after it is mostly already wrapped on our body, as rule the Taz ibid and others. Alternatively, it is due to the question as to what is considered the beginning of the wrapping. [see Sheiris Yehuda ibid]

Previous Chabad tradition: In previous times, the Chabad custom was to place the Tallis over the head from in front and then recite the entire blessing, and only afterwards was the Atifa performed. [Siddur Admur; Divrei Nechemia 9; Custom of Rebbe Rashab as heard from Rav Eliyahu Landa Shlita, in name of the Ishkavta Derebbe].

[29] Siddur Admur [12 and 25 in Siddur Raskin]; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 2; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatzitzis 3; Matzos Shemurim 24; Kitzur SHU”A 9/8; Makor Chaim 8/4; Ashel Avraham Butchach 16; Ketzos Hashulchan 7/14; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/7; Shaar Hatziyon 8/11

Other customs: Some are accustomed to throw all four Tzitzis behind the shoulder of the left side and hence none of the Tzitzis remain in front of the body. [Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Derush Tzitzis 1-in contradiction to Derush 2-see next custom; Soles Belula 8/6; Machazik Bracha 8/4; Beir Heiytiv 8/3; M”B 8/4 [however see Shaar Hatziyon ibid]; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim ibid] Some are accustomed to do both forms of Atifa, to first throw over only the right Tzitzis and have the left Tzitzis remain on the front side, and then throw all four Tzitzis behind the shoulder of the left side. They hence do two forms of Atifa. [Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 5; Rashash; Mishmeres Shalom 3/2; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/7] Some have the custom to throw the right Tzitzis over the left shoulder and the left Tzitzis over the right shoulder. There is no source to rely on for this custom. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 68]

[30] In Siddur [letter 12] Admur writes to lift “also the lower right corner”; In Siddur 25 Admur states “One is to bind the Tallis with the two right corners”. Thus in either wording of the Siddur it includes the lifting of both the top and bottom corners to be thrown over the left shoulder, and so is explicitly written in Arizal ibid [brought in coming footnotes]

[31] Siddur [letter 12]

The reason: In order so one is surrounded by Mitzvos, with two corners of Tzitzis by his front side and two by his back side. [See 8/10] The Arizal writes that having the Tzitzis placed by the left side assists in nullifying the Yetzer Hara. [Kaf Hachaim 8/7]

Ruling of Shulchan Aruch: See Michaber 8/4; Admur 8/10 which implies that during the Atifa all 4 strings were in front of him, and hence they write after the Atifa “One is to return two strings in front and two in back” However according to the Siddur even during the Atifa this is fulfilled.

[32] Custom of Rebbe Rashab, as brought in Ishkavta Direbbe p. 21 regarding evening the sides

[33] Aside for being the custom of the Rebbe Rashab this custom is also the tradition handed from Reb Shilem; In the illustrations of the Chabad custom brought in Taamei Haminhagim [p. 612; Eshkol-Rav Weinfeld publishing] it states that one is to even the sides, as done by the Rebbe Rashab, although it does not mention swinging the entire right side of the Tallis over the shoulder. He writes there that the Rebbe reviewed some of these illustrations.

[34] So can be implied from the wording in Siddur 12 “one lifts the also the bottom corner of the right side” that only the corners are grabbed, and so is explicitly stated in the source of this ruling in Arizal [Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatzitzis 3] “One is to bind the two right Tzitzis and throws them over the left shoulder”. See also Hayom Yom 5th Elul “The blessing concludes in proximity to the binding of the two right corners around the neck, towards the back of the left side.” However in Siddur 25 he writes “One is to bind the Tallis together with the two corners of the right side around the neck and then place it over the back left side” These extra words of “bind the Tallis” is not recorded in the Arizal and perhaps comes to hint to the tradition of Reb Shilem, to throw the entire right side over the shoulder. 

[35] See the tradition of Reb Shilem recorded at the end of this Halacha that the entire even right side is then thrown over the left shoulder. See previous footnote for a source for this in Admur. In the illustrations of the Chabad custom brought in Taamei Haminhagim [p. 612; Eshkol-Rav Weinfeld publishing] it states that one is to even the sides, as done by the Rebbe Rashab, although it does not mention swinging the entire right side of the Tallis over. He writes there that the Rebbe reviewed some of these illustrations.

[36] Covering the face with the Tallis: Regarding if the right side which is thrown over the shoulder should also cover part of the face, some Poskim write that it should be wrapped in a way that it covers one’s beard and chin, up until one’s mouth. [Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 14, in explanation of Admur 8/5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/7 and footnote 69 based on Yoreh Deah 386] However see Hiskashrus 543 that this explanation does not fit into the wording of Admur which implies that the Tallis is to cover up until the eyes/mouth from the top part of the Tallis and not from the side or bottom. Furthermore, even the Ketzos Hashulchan ibid concludes that according to Admur in the Siddur this is not necessary.

[37] Is one to lift the Tzitzis of the left side and place it near his face? Many Chassidim are accustomed to take the corners/Tzitzis of the left hand side of the Tallis with their left hand and then proximate their left hand with the left Tzitzis to their left shoulder area. It does not state explicitly anywhere in the instructions of Atifa that one is to lift the two left corner Tzitzis with his left hand and proximate it to his chest, neither in Siddur Admur [12 or 25], Sefer Haminhagim, Kisvei Arizal, or other sources recorded in Kaf Hachaim 8/9, and rather it simply states that the left side is to be “by the side of the face”. Furthermore, in the writings of the Arizal ibid, which is the source of Admur’s ruling here in the Siddur, it says explicitly that the left side of the Tallis is to “remain in the direction of the face” which means that it is not moved or changed from its position that it was in when one first placed the Tallis over one’s back and over the head. However in the illustrations of the Chabad custom brought in Taamei Haminhagim [p. 612; Eshkol-Rav Weinfeld publishing] it states that this is to be done. He writes there that the Rebbe reviewed some of these illustrations. In the tradition received from Reb Shilem [brought below] one does not lift up the sides of the left corners of the Tallis at all, and rather leaves it hanging in its current state. Furthermore, lifting the left corners is detrimental to the wrapping as it causes that the left side no longer properly covers the body, and Admur rules that it must cover one Ama on the front side. [Heard from Rav Eliyahu Landa Shlita] However despite the above, we do find later on in the Siddur the following statement which seems to describe the above custom “Therefore by the Talleisim that are not very long, it is not possible to lift also the bottom left corner that it be in front of him, on the chest or near the chest, for the time of walking 4 Amos, as written in certain writings of the Arizal.” Thus we see a clear reference in the Siddur to the widespread Chabad custom today. Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol why Admur did not write this explicitly in the instructions of the Siddur in 25, as well Tzaruch Iyun as to the source in the Arizal, as we do not know of anywhere that the Arizal mentions to lift the left corners. All in all, despite there being no clear source for this custom, many Chassidim do so, and lift the left corners in the left hand and place it by their left shoulder as explained above. Perhaps this is because this is the most practical way of assuring that the two left corners remain in front of the body and do not slip towards one’s back. [Heard from Rav Shalom Dovber Levin] To note however, that those who follow the tradition of Reb Shilem in which the Tallis is evened on both sides it will never slip towards one’s back and hence the lifting of the corners is not needed for any reason, and on the contrary is just detrimental, and hence should not be done. [Rav Eliyahu Landa Shlita].

[38] Siddur ibid and so rules Admur in 8/9 “It is proper to be careful to place all four of the Tzitzis strings towards ones left side while wrapping it like a Yishmaeli for the amount of time it takes to walk four Amos.”; Radbaz 3/571; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 2; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatzitzis 3; All Poskim mentioned above. Those that throw the left Tzitzis over the right shoulder have no source to rely on. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 68]

[39] See Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 13; Siddur Raskin footnote 136

[40] Siddur Admur Hilchos Tzitzis [12 in Rav Raskin’s Siddur; also mentioned in letter 11], mentions that it must cover one Ama both in front and in back “because the Shiur of the width of the Tallis that is obligated in Tzitzis must be completely spread open and cover the person [Siddur ibid letter 11]; Ketzos Hashulchan 7/4 footnote 13

[41] 8/8; Siddur Admur Hilchos Tzitzis [12 in Rav Raskin’s Siddur]; M”A 8/2; Kaf Hachaim 8/3 and 9; Or Letziyon 2/44-8; See Radbaz 1/343; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3

Other opinions: Some learn that according to the Arizal the wrapping is to be done only around the neck and not around the body. [Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 5; Chesed Lealafim 8/2] Admur in the Siddur and the Kaf Hachaim ibid negate this opinion.

[42] Igros Kodesh 13/225 based on a directive of the Rebbe Rayatz

[43] Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 “If one does not cover the head when wearing the Tallis by the blessing, he has not fulfilled the blessing.”

[44] Siddur Admur; Hayom Yom 7th Iyar; Sefer Haminhagim p. 9 [English]; Igros Kodesh 13/225; See Ashel Avraham Butchach 16; Nimukei Orach Chaim 8; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 66

Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch: In the Shulchan Aruch 8/5 Admur rules that one is to cover his head and face until below the mouth, by the cheek bones. So rules also: M”A 8/2 in name of Arizal; M”B 8/4; Kitzur SHU”A 9/8

[45] Hayom Yom ibid

[46] Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 14; Igros Kodesh 13/225; M”B 8/4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/7

The reason: As certainly the Yishmaelim did not cover their face in a way they cannot see. [ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim say one is to cover the entire front part of the body, including the entire face, with the Tallis. [Birchas Habayis 37/10; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 74]

[47] Siddur Admur [after blessing]; 8/6; M”A 8/2 in name of Arizal

[48] Siddur Admur; Matzos Shmurim p. 24; Kitzur Shelah; brought also in Chesed Lealafim p. 32; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/8

[49] The reason: As the wrapping of the Tallis represents the embrace of “Yimono Tichabkeini”, Hashem’s right arm, and hence we say this verse which discusses Chesed. [Likkutei Levi Yitzchak Bereishis p. 96]

[50] 24/5; Michaber 24/3

[51] The reason: As the verse states “Ureisem Osos Uzechartem”, which implies that looking at them brings one to remember [the Mitzvos], and remembering [the Mitzvos] brings one to fulfill them. [Admur ibid; Levush 24]

[52] Kaf Hachaim 8/7; 24/13

[53] Siddur Admur and Sefer Haminhagim p. 9 [English]

[54] Rebbe Shilem, who was the head Mashpia of Tomchei Temimim in Lubavitch in the years 1912 until his passing, taught the students of the Yeshiva the following order of wrapping the Tallis Gadol. So was taught by Reb Shilem to Rav Yaakov Landa OBM, and Rav Shlomo Chaim Kesselman OBM, amongst other great Chassidim. They in turn taught it to Rav Eliyahu Landa Shlita. The tradition recorded here was heard and demonstrated by Harav Eliyahu Landa in their name. This order does not differ from the ruling of Admur in the Siddur but simply adds a few important points that are to be followed in order to properly perform the wrap described in Admur, even though these steps are not explicitly mentioned in the Siddur of Admur.

[55] Ishkavta Derebbe p. 21

[56] See Ketzos Hashulchan 1 Hosafos p. 86b; Kaf Hachaim 8/39; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/6

[57] Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/7

[58] Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 68; Dinei Iter 14/2-3

[59] Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/7 footnote 77 in name of Arizal

[60] Admur 8/10; Michaber 8/4; Rokeiach in name of Midrash; Torah Leshma 39 that this is possibly a tradition since the times of Moshe Rabbeinu; Kisvei Arizal; Levush 8/4

[61] M”B 8/10; Biur Halacha there; However see Aruch Hashulchan 8/10

[62] Siddur Admur [mentioned in two different areas, letter 11 and 25 in Siddur Raskin; each area contains added wording over the other]

[63] The reason: So one is surrounded by Mitzvos. [Admur 8/10]

[64] Siddur Admur; mention in Admur 8/10 as “Some are accustomed to place the right side on the left shoulder”; Arizal in Nagid Mitzvah p. 30; M”A 8/6; Rama 301/30

The reason: As a) According to Kabala the Tallis is to cover one’s chest. [Arizal ibid; M”A ibid] And b) According to Halacha the Tallis is to cover not just one’s back but one’s entire body, as is accustomed by all of our clothing. [Siddur ibid] And C) So one is surrounded by Mitzvos. [Admur 8/10]

Other opinions: Some rule one is not to wear the Tallis during Davening in a way that all the Tzitzis are by the left side. [Radbaz 1/571; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/4]

[65] In the second part of the Siddur that this is mentioned [25] Admur states a first option which implies that both right corners are thrown over the left side. Admur then concludes “It is better to throw one corner of the right side over the left shoulder, towards his back, thus being completely wrapped by the Tallis, similar to the Yishmaeli wrap.” In the first part of Admur [11] only this last method is mentioned.

[66] Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 14

[67] Siddur Admur; Radbaz 1/571; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/4

[68] Lit “The custom that has spread in these provinces” [Siddur ibid]

[69] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/12

[70] Siddur Admur; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/12 footnote 117

[71] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/12

[72] See Ashel Avraham Butchach 9; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 35; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/12; See also Shulchan Menachem 1/36 footnote 7 that the Rebbe erased the words “enter the Tzitzis into the belt” from a summary of Halachos that were published

[73] See Halacha A above; Admur 8/8; Siddur Admur “This entire measurement of the width and length of the Tallis Katan needs to be entirely spread open, and clothe the person throughout its entire measurement, as the verse states “Asher Tichaseh Bah”. This teaches us that the above required measurement must cover the person and may not be folded or dented in any amount, being that the folded and bent area is not included in the measurement.”

[74] Covering an Ama of the front: Admur in the Siddur mentions the custom of today in which we roll the sides of the Tallis, and it does not cover an Ama in front and it is due to this reason that he writes that it is better even according to Nigleh to perform the Kabalistic custom mentioned above. Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol why we are not accustomed to cover an Ama in the front of the body, despite Admur explicitly requiring also the front to be covered an Ama, as explained in A from the Siddur].

How much of the back should the Tallis cover? Some Poskim write that one is not to have the Tallis drag all the way down the back but is rather to cover until slightly below the waist [for at least one Ama]. The reason for this is because until the chest is the aspect of the Tallis while from there and onwards is the aspect of the Tzitzis. [Asara Mamaros; Shaareiy teshuvah 21/5; Kaf Hachaim 21/18]

[75] Toras Menachem 18/106

[76] Ketzos Hashulchan 7/4; Bach 8; Taz 25/2; Olas Tamid 8/3; Matzos Shmurim; Radbaz 1/343; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3; M”B 8/4; Toras Menachem 18/106 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 11/36]; See Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 and Kaf Hachaim 8/9 for different customs in this regard

[77] Bach ibid

[78] Taz ibid

[79] Magen Gibborim 91/3 in name of Meiri; Chavos Yair 53/1

[80] Elya Raba 8/4; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/10; Ketzos Hashulchan ibid

[81] Shaar Hakavanos Derushei Tzitzis Derush 5-6, brought in M”A 8/3; Matzos Shemurim; Or Tzaddikim 2/17; Yifei Lalaeiv 1/6; Kaf Hachaim 8/11

[82] M”A 8/3

[83] Admur 27/23

[84] Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid

[85] 8/7-8

[86] See Halacha A above

[87] Siddur Admur “This entire measurement of the width and length of the Tallis Katan needs to be entirely spread open, and clothe the person throughout its entire measurement, as the verse states “Asher Tichaseh Bah”. This teaches us that the above required measurement must cover the person and may not be folded or dented in any amount, being that the folded and bent area is not included in the measurement.”

The reason: As the verse states “Asher Tichaseh Bah”. This teaches us that the above required measurement must cover the person and may not be folded or dented in any amount. [Siddur Admur; Tehila Ledavid 16/2] However see Tehila Ledavid ibid who questions this understanding, being that those words come to include the clothing of a blind person. He concludes with a Tzaruch Iyun. See Siddur Raskin Miuim 3!

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the folded areas are included within the Shiur of the Tallis, being that the folded area is meant to be spread open, and hence it is not necessary to prevent the Tallis Katan from folding. [Beis Yaakov 106; Beir Heiytiv 16/1; Bnei Chayi 16; M”B 16/4; See also Michaber 10/6; Admur 10/13; Tehila Ledavid 16/2] The world is not accustomed like this opinion of Admur in his Siddur. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/3]

Must one be careful that there are no folds when he ties the Tzitzis to the Tallis? Even according to Admur in the Siddur, the above requirement is only when one actually wears the Tallis. However it does not diminish the required size of the Tallis when one is not wearing it, and hence it is permitted to tie Tzitzis to a folded Tallis, or folded corners. [Rav Raskin in Siddur page 654; Hiskashrus 485/17; Kaneh Bosem 3/1]

[88] Siddur ibid

[89] Siddur Admur; Artzos Hachaim 16 in name of Admur; Kaf Hachaim 16/3

[90] Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatzitzis 1-3; Nagid Mitzvah

[91] Kaf Hachaim 16/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/3

[92] 8/7; Siddur Admur [letter 26 in Rav Raskin]; Michaber 8/3; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 and 7; Shulchan Gavoa 8/9; Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 6; Kaf Hachaim 8/27

Background:

The Michaber 8/6 rules that one may always say the blessing of Lehisatef Betzitzis upon wearing a Tallis Katan, even if he does not wrap it in a Yishmaeli wrap. He is thus never to say the blessing of Al Mitzvas Tzitzis. [See Kaf Hachaim 8/25] The Rama ibid however brings that some opinions [Kol Bo 22] rule that one is to say Al Mitzvas Tzitzis. The Rama ibid concludes that so is the custom and that one may not swerve from this custom. The Darkei Moshe 8/5 [brought in Taz 8/7] explains the reason behind the Rama’s ruling is in order to satisfy those opinions which say that if one cannot perform a Yishmaeli wrap with the Tallis then it is not obligated in Tzitzis, and no Mitzvah is fulfilled by wearing it. Consequently, according to this opinion, a blessing may not be recited over this wearing. For this reason we say a blessing on the general mitzvah of Tzitzis that G-d gave us “Al Mitzvahs Tzitzis”, and not on the specific wearing of the Tzitzis being done now. This wording of the blessing is not considered a blessing in vain even according to the stringent opinion. Admur ibid rules as follows: If one is able to wrap the Tallis Katan in a Yishmaeli wrap then the blessing of Lehisatef is to be recited, as rules the Michaber ibid. If however one cannot or will not do so, then the blessing of Al Mitzvahs Tzitzis is to be recited as rules Rama. This compromise ruling is also recorded in Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 and 7; Shulchan Gavoa 8/9; Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 6; Kaf Hachaim 8/27. [Vetzaruch Iyun why Rama/Admur rules to recite Al Mitzvas Tzitzis by a Tallis Katan even if it is large enough to perform the Atifa and he simply chooses not to do so, if we rule like the opinion that holds one is not required to do Atifa, as explained above! See Chayeh Adam ibid that for this reason rules [like Michaber ibid] one may recite Lihisatef on a Tallis Katan even initially! Perhaps the explanation is that even according to the lenient opinion in order to say the blessing of Lehisatef it must at the very least be a type of Tallis that is at times worn over the head, however a Tallis Katan that is never worn over the head is not valid to recite Lehisatef.]

Ruling of Admur in Siddur: In the Siddur Admur omits the blessing of Al Mitzvas Tzitzis which can lead one to learn that he rules like the Michaber, that this blessing is not to be recited.

Custom of Arizal: The Arizal was accustomed to perform the Yishmaeli wrap with the Tallis Katan. [Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 6] 

[93] See Hayom Yom 14th Sivan

[94] Admur ibid; Siddur ibid; So was the custom of Arizal brought in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 6, Kaf Hachaim 8/27; Admur in 8/7 and the Siddur explains exactly how to do this with the Tallis Katan.

The reason: In order to fulfill the blessing and Mitzvah according to all opinions. [Kuntrus Achron 8/1; See background]

[95] Siddur ibid; Admur 8/7

[96] Admur 8/7; Rama 8/6 based on Kol Bo; Shaareiy Teshuvah 8/3 and 7; Aruch Hashulchan 8/8; Shulchan Gavoa 8/9; Ben Ish Chaiy Bereishis 6; Kaf Hachaim 8/27

Other opinions: This blessing is omitted in Siddur Admur and Michaber 8/6.

[97] Piskeiy Dinim Tzemach Tzedek p. 814; Piskeiy Hasiddur 24 based on Arizal

[98] Sefer Haminhagim p. 3 [Hebrew]; Hayom Yom 14th Sivan; Eretz Tzvi 1/1; This blessing of “Al Mitzvas Tzitzis” was not originally printed by Admur in the Siddur, and was only added later on in the publishing of Tehilas Hashem, seemingly due to this directive from Hayom Yom.

[99] 11/34; Siddur Admur; See Chapter 4 Halacha 10A for the full details of this Halacha!

[100] 8/18; See also: Michaber 8/11 and 24/1; M”A 8/13; Likkutei Sichos 33/95 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 1/46]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/22

[101] Admur ibid; Michaber 8/11 and 24/1

The reason: Being that the reason for wearing the Tzitzis is in order to remember the Mitzvos, therefore one is to wear it over his clothing in order so the person constantly sees it and thus remembers the Mitzvos. [Admur ibid; Michaber ibid]

Other opinions: The Arizal writes based on Kabala that the Tallis Katan is to be worn under the clothing. [Arizal brought in M”A 8/13; Kaf Hachaim 8/43] This includes even the Tzitzis; that the Tzitzis should be tucked in and not be visible. [Likkutei Sichos ibid; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 199] Those that wear the Tallis Katan over their clothing are making a grave mistake. [Arizal ibid] The reason for this is because the Tallis Katan represents Penimiyus, and hence should not be seen, as opposed to the Tallis Gadol which represents Chitzoniyus. [Arizal ibid] According to the Arizal the Tallis Katan is not worn at all for the Mitzvah of Ureisem Oso and remembering the Mitzvos, but rather simply for the Mitzvah of Tzitzis. [Likkutei Sichos ibid] This custom of not wearing the Tallis over the shirt is also mentioned in: Mordechai Taanis 637 that so was the custom of the Maharam of Rothenberg; Rabbeinu Yonah in Sefer Hayirah; Shlah Chulin; and so even writes the Beis Yosef in 23; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 192

[102] 8/19; Siddur Admur; M”A ibid; Poskim brought in Kaf Hachaim 8/43

The reason: The verse states regarding the Tzitzis “And you shall see it”, thus requiring one to wear it in a way that it will remain visible. [Admur ibid; Vetzaruch Iyun as to if this is an additional reason to the previous reason or if it is the source behind the previous reason. Also Tzaruch Iyun why Admur chose to write this ruling in the next Halacha.]

[103] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[104] Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Derushei Tzitzis 6, brought in Kaf Hachaim 8/43; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 195-196

[105] Likkutei Sichos ibid; This follows part of the custom of the Arizal, as mitigated by the M”A ibid and Admur ibid to suspect also for the opinion of the Michaber ibid

The reason: As the full custom of the Arizal to also hide the Tzitzis is not a directive for the public, as the public needs constant reminders to keep the Mitzvos. [Likkutei Sichos ibid]

The old Chabad custom: Many Chabad Chassidim of previous times were accustomed to wear the Tallis Katan in a way that they were completely covered, as rules the Arizal. The Rebbe Rayatz wore a coat over the Tallis Katan in a way that it was completely covered during most times. [Likkutei Sichos ibid]

[106] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[107] Darkei Chaim Veshalom Tzitzis 39; This was also the custom of the Rebbe Rayatz; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 197 and footnote 201

The reason: Seemingly it is worn over the shirt in order to prevent it from absorbing sweat. It however cannot be suggested that the Chassidim do so in order to follow the ruling of the Michaber ibid, as the coat covers over the entire clothing, and hence even the Tzitzis are not seen, which is similar to the custom of the Arizal as followed by the Sephardim. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

[108] As rules Arizal ibid; Mamar Mordechai 24/1; Or Letziyon 2/82-2; Yechaveh Daas 2/1

[109] Likkutei Sichos ibid; M”B 8/26; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 200

[110] 8/19; M”A 8/13

[111] Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 1/6

[112] Kav Hayashar 45

[113] See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 195-196; Halichos Shlomo 3/11

[114] Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Derushei Tzitzis 6 and Peir Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatzitzis 1, brought in Kaf Hachaim 8/43

[115] Admur 8/9; M”A 8/6 based on Rashal and Shlah Chulin; Olas Tamid 10/9; M”B 8/9

[116] The reason: The reason why one should always wear the Tallis in the same order is in order so the Tzitzis found by the two upper corners remain always in front of him and not [in back of him] towards the end of his body, as one only go higher in holiness and may not diminish the holiness of an item [Maalin Bekodesh Velo Moridin]. [Admur ibid; based on Rashal and Shelah ibid]

Other reasons: Alternatively, the front Tzitzis should always remain in front similar the Northern beams of the Mishkan which were always to remain in the North. [M”A ibid in name of Shlah; brought in M”B ibid; Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur omitted this reason.] This matter likewise applies to the top part of the Tallis itself; that the top material should always remain on top and not descend in Kedusha. [Olas Tamid 10/9]

[117] Custom of Arizal in Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hatzitzis 1, brought in Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/17

[118] Kneses Hagedola [as understood by Elya Raba 8/14]; Elya Raba ibid [brought in M”B 10/33] writes that if the top part is torn one may wear the top part on bottom.

[119] The reason the Arizal did not suspect for Moridin Bekedusha: Some write this is because the Tallis is in truth Tashmishei Mitzvah and not Tashmishei Kedush, and since the same single Mitzvah is fulfilled with the entire Tallis, it is hence not relevant to the concept of Maalin Velo Moridin. [Ishkavta Direbbe p. 22; See also Adnei Paz 8/5]

[120] Pashut; See Mahariy Assad 1/3; Maharsham 2/39; Chesed Lealafim 8/11; Miasef Lekol Hamachanos 8/90; Beir Moshe 6/3

[121] Piskeiy Teshuvos 8/13

[122] Some have a V-neck opening by the front side of the neck hole; Others have loops on the front side of the Tallis Katan; While others have different materials sewed to the front corners of the Tallis Katan.

[123] The Chabad custom: The Chabad Tallis Katan of today has no sign on its back or front. It is interesting to note that Admur ibid changed the wording of the M”A ibid as to the importance of this sign, stating that the Tzitzis which are in front should not be on bottom, hence implying that the main issue is not that the front Tzitzis remain in front but that they should [mainly or also] not descend to the lower part of the body. Now, this is relevant only by a Tallis Gadol, as by a Tallis Katan both the front and back are equal in height. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[124] Elya Raba 8/14; brought in M”B 10/33; Maharam Shick 75; Minchas Yitzchak 3/144; Igros Moshe 2/47

[125] Siddur Admur “One must to be careful that the Tzitzis be hanging on the upper, external, part of the clothing and not on the inner lower part”

So also rules: Olas Tamid 11/12; Likkutei Maharich in name of Kitzur Shlah; Arizal brought in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 6; Peri Eitz Chaim Tzitzis 1; Nagid Mitzvah.

[126] The simple understanding of Admur ibid is to be referring to a Tallis Katan with two holes. However see Tehila Ledavid 11/8 that learns it refers only to a Tallis Gadol, while by a Tallis Katan [even of two holes] the issue of Reisem Oso does not apply. [See of Rav Raskin on Siddur 83]

[127] However by those with one hole, the reasons brought by Admur do not apply. [Glosses of Rav Raskin on Siddur 83]

[128] The reason: As the verse states “Ureisem Oso” that the Tzitzis must be seen [Admur ibid] and when worn inside out, the inner corner blocks that area of the fringe from visibility. [See Tehila Ledavid 11/8; Ashel Avraham Butchach Tinyana 16] There is also Kabalistic reasons mentioned behind this. [Arizal ibid]

[129] See Aruch Hashulchan 8/10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 123; The reason for this is in order so the right side remains on the right.

[130] Machatzis Hashekel 8/6; Arizal ibid

[131] As by the Tallis Gadol the inner lining is placed on the inner top side of the Tallis, and hence it should not be facing out. Likewise by the Tallis Katan we are particular for it to have two holes.

[132] 10/13

[133] The reason: When a Tallis is folded in half its corners and Tzitzis now become parallel and adjacent to each other, thus causing the creation of two new corners at the opposite folded area. It is disputed in such a case as to which are the true corners that are obligated in Tzitzis. [ibid]

 

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  1. Gershom

    Source 114 footnote pri etz Chaim:

    ועכ”ז היה נוהג מורי זלה”ה, שהיה לובש את הט”ק, כמו בשעה שהיה עולה מן הטבילה וכיוצא בזה, אז היה מתעטף בו ראשו, ומברך להתעטף בציצית, ומכניס בו ראשו, ומוריד אח”כ בדרך לבישתו. (ג):
    י הגהה (ג) צמח – להורות בשאר זמנים היה עליו תמיד:
    יא ואמנם אלו השינוים, כי טלית גדול הוא למעלה מכל המלבושים. וטלית קטן, הוא למטה תחת כל המלבושים. ושלא כדעת קצת המקובלים שמניחין אותו למעלה מן המלבושים, והוא שיבוש. אמנם יניחנו על החלוק. וטעם הדבר הוא, כי ענין ציצית קטן, הוא בחי’ הפנימית של ג”ת דיצירה, וט”ג, הוא בחינת החיצונות שלהם. וכמ”ש עתה בע”ה:

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