Is there a Mitzvah to look at the Tzitzis and the Segulos involved

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Is there a Mitzvah to look at the Tzitzis?

Most Rishonim and Poskim rule that there is no positive command to look at the Tzitzis.[1] Some Rishonim[2] rule that aside for the positive command to wear a four-cornered garment with Tzitzis, there is an additional positive command, which counts as another one of the 613 Mitzvos, to look at the Tzitzis. In their opinion, the Mitzvah is to look at the Tzitzis and hence remember Hashem’s Mitzvos. The Arizal writes that one is required to look at his Tzitzis at every moment.[3] There are also many Segulos associated with looking at the Tzitzis, as will be explained in Halacha 3. For this reason many Torah leaders and Tzaddikim were accustomed to look at their Tzitzis at every opportunity.[4] There is also a tradition amongst meticulous Jews that if they are sitting idle, they touch the Tzitzis and look at them.[5] Based on this, whenever one looks at his Tzitzis he should have in mind to fulfill the positive Mitzvah of “Ureisem Oso,” according to this opinion.[6]

Segulos involved in looking at the Tzitzis:

  1. Looking at one’s Tzitzis has the ability to extinguish the flames of anger, as we find that the word “Kenaf” is the Gematria of “Kaas”.[7] The Mekubalim teach that when one feels angry he is to lift his Tzitzis until the anger subsides.[8]
  2. Looking at the Tzitzis and touching them elevates the Shechina which is found in Galus, and it separates the darkness which resides between us and the Shechina.[9]
  3. Looking at the Tzitzis arouses one’s heart in fear of Heaven.[10]
  4. Looking at the Tzitzis is a Segula for Parnasa.[11]
  5. Looking at the Tzitzis is a Segula to be healed from illness.[12]
  6. Looking at the Tzitzis is a Segula for prophecy.[13]
  7. Looking at the Tzitzis is a Segula for memory.[14]
  8. Looking at the Tzitzis at every moment is a great benefit for the soul, adds holiness to the person, and refrains one from the approach of sin.[15]

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[1] See Beis Yosef 24:4 in name of Rivash 2:486 “It appears that the looking at the Tzitzis should not be listed as one of the 613 commands as some Poskim do, as one should not list the reason and purpose of a Mitzvah as a separate Mitzvah. Likewise the other Monei Hamitzvos did not list looking at the Tzitzis as a Mitzvah.”

[2] Beis Yosef 24:2-4 in name of Smak 28 “It is a Mitzvah to look at the Tzitzis as the verse states Ureisem Oso”; Rivash 2:486 in name of Semak ibid; Rabbeinu Yonah in Sefer Hayirah p. 165 “One must look at the Tzitzis by the words Ureisem Osam”; Chareidim 2 “Mitzvas Hateluyos Beiynayim” in name of Smak and Rashbatz; Yesod Veshoresh Havoda Shaar Mizrach 6 writes that Rav Chaim Vital held it is a Biblical command, and that so is proven from Rashi; See also Sefas Emes Menachos 44a; Igros Moshe 3:3; 4:4; Kinyan Torah 7:1

[3] Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Tzitzis 7; Kaf Hachaim 24:11

[4] Kav Hayashar 45; Shemiras Halashon [end of Sefer] “One is to look at his Tzitzis a few times a day, especially when one feels forbidden thoughts coming to his mind, or feelings of anger”

[5] Kav Hayashar 45

[6] Chesed Lealafim 24:2; Kaf Hachaim 24:16

[7] Kitzur Shlah Hilchos Tzitzis; Kaf Hachaim 24:25; See also Shemiras Halashon towards end ““One is to look at his Tzitzis a few times a day, especially when one feels forbidden thoughts coming to his mind, or feelings of anger

[8] Shomer Emunim Vayigash; Elya Raba 24:3; Kaf Hachaim [Falagi] 10:6; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[9] Kav Hayashar 45

[10] Beis Aharon Karlin Shelach

[11] Taamei Haminhagim in name of Arizal

[12] Minhagei Tzanz 20 in name of the Chozeh of Lublin.

[13] Noam Elimelech Shelach

[14] Chasam Sofer Shelach

[15] Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Derush Tzitzis 7; Shaareiy Teshuvah Rabbeinu Yonah 3:22; Kaf Hachaim 24:11

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