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Jun232019

Is there a problem with Undershirt Tzitzis?

In connection with the mitzvah of Tzitzis discussed in Parshas Shlach, we present a collection of halachic articles from Halacha2Go.com on this fundamental mitzvah

By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din

Is there a problem with Undershirt Tzitzis?

There is a product on the market which is an undershirt with tzitzis on it. It’s worn by some people in hot weather, or while exercising or jogging. In order for such an undershirt to be kosher for tzitzis it must be ascertained first and foremost that most of the length on both sides of the undershirt are open at the seams, not just a small section at the bottom; otherwise it cannot be considered as having four corners and requiring tzitzis. The holes for the arms cannot be regarded as part of the opening. The mitzvah min hamuvchar (preferred manner of doing the mitzvah) is to wear a woolen tallis katan, which obviously, the undershirt tzitzis is not.

There are some additional concerns regarding this garment. Among them:

• There are some poskim who maintain that a garment which was made for absorbing perspiration does not qualify for the mitzvah of tzitzis.

• Other poskim are of the opinion that although it is kosher, it’s nevertheless not respectful to the mitzvah.

• When wearing garments made to absorb perspiration one often lacks the kavanah (intent) that he is wearing it for the mitzvah, as the garment is often worn for its “undershirt” aspect. According to some poskim, wearing tzitzis without kavanah is tantamount to wearing a four cornered garment without tzitzis.

• Many of these garments are made from netted material; according to some poskim netted material does not qualify for the mitzvah of tzitzis. Many are made out of synthetic material, and poskim question whether synthetic material qualifies for this mitzvah. Therefore, one shouldn’t make a brachah on such tzitzis.

• According to Siddur Harav, an individual who is a yarei Hashem (G-d fearing) and wishes to perform the mitzvah of tzitzis in a manner that conforms to all opinions, should ensure that the garment is completely open on both sides. One shouldn’t even fasten the sides to each other with clips or hooks and certainly one shouldn’t have sleeves or fashion openings for the arms.

• According to Kabbalah one should not wear tzitzis directly on their body, but should wear an undershirt underneath.

It’s important to note that one may not make a brachah on tzitzis if the garment is exempt from tzitzis, and wearing such a garment on Shabbos might be considered carrying.  (Halacha2go.com #410)

Tzitzis when Sleeping

According to Kabbalah, one should wear a tallis katan, colloquially referred to as tzitzis, also during the night when a person sleeps.

There are non-Kabbalistic reasons for this as well. For example, if a person were to go to sleep without tzitzis and sleep into the daytime, part of the day would pass without him wearing tzitzis. Also, if he wished to put on tzitzis immediately upon awakening, he would have to touch his tzitzis before he washed negel vasser.

For these reasons and others, it is important to have available a pair of tzitzis to wear when one goes to sleep for the night. However, the Tzemach Tzedek points out that one should not designate the tzitzis specifically for the night, because then one would be wearing a k’sus leilah, a night garment, and according to many opinions night garments do not require tzitzis. Accordingly, the tzitzis on this garment would not be considered to have the sanctity of tzitzis and he would not be considered fulfilling the mitzvah. The pair of tzitzis should therefore be for use during both day and night, and since it is used for both day and night, it requires tzitzis. The fact that the wearer sleeps in the tzitzis into the morning does not make it a day garment; it should be a pair of tzitzis that is worn both day and night.

The common practice of having a night tzitzis only is not correct. One should therefore change their tzitzis in the morning in order to recite a brachah on a different pair and wear the same pair of tzitzis until the following morning.  (Halacha2go.com #184)

 

* References and marei mekomos are available for this Halacha on the websites: www.Halacha2Go.com and www.AskTheRav.com

Please note that these halachos apply in general situations. In unique circumstances, a different halacha may apply. If you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rov.

Short Q&A’s

I have a blanket that has 4 corners. May I use it? Is there a difference between the day and night? What about wrapping myself with a four-cornered towel?

For a blanket that is sometimes used by day, you should make one corner round.

There is no need to put Tzitzis on a towel even if one is wrapping himself with it.*

May one clean his glasses with a Tallis Gadol or Tallis Katan?

 According to Halacha, one may clean glasses with the Tallis Katan, though some are stringent.

With the Tallis Gadol, one should not clean their glasses. However, even with the Tallis Gadol, if it is in order to be able to Daven and it is not really dirty, just to give it a shine, there is room for leniency.*

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