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Shiur Tallis-The size of a Tallis Katan/Gadol:
The Torah only obligates a garment to have Tzitzis if it is of a certain size. It is disputed amongst Poskim as to the measurements of this size. There is a general dispute regarding if the Tallis must be large enough for the Yishmaeli wrap to be performed, as explained in A. In addition there is a dispute as to how much of the body the garment must be able to cover in order to be obligated in Tzitzis, as explained in B. The practical size of the Tallis Katan is recorded in Admur in the Siddur and brought below in Halacha C.
A. Must the Tallis be large enough to perform the Yishmaeli wrap?
Some Poskim rule that the Tallis must be large enough for one to perform the Yishmaeli wrapping, for it to be obligated in Tzitzis. Other Poskim however disregard this requirement and rule that every four cornered garment requires Tzitzis even if it is not large enough to perform the Yishmaeli wrap. Practically, we rule like the latter opinion and one may hence wear a Tallis that is less than the above size and recite a blessing over it.
A Tallis Katan: According to the first opinion above, the Tallis Katan is exempt from Tzitzis, and hence one cannot say a blessing over wearing it, being that it is not large enough to perform the Yishmaeli wrap. However, according to the second opinion, the Tallis Katan is obligated in Tzitzis, as is every other four cornered garment. Practically, we rule that it is obligated in Tzitzis, and one fulfills his obligation of Tzitzis through wearing it, and is to recite a blessing prior to doing so.
When was our Tallis Katan first initiated?
In previous times, men did not wear a Tallis Katan being that they fulfilled the Mitzvah using a Tallis Gadol that was worn in the form of Atifas Yishmaelim. When the Jews immigrated to the European countries, in which the Yismaeili wrap was not in style, the Tallis Katan was initiated in order to merit the masses in the Mitzvah of Tzitzis. Nontheless, we find that the Arizal states that Dovid Hamelech wore a Tallis Katan. A description of our Tallis Katan can be found in the Rosh Tzitzis 20. See also Admur in Siddur which writes “our Tallis Katan”.
B. Large enough to cover the body:
The Sages established that a Tallis is only obligated to have Tzitzis tied to its corners if it is large enough to cover the head, and majority of both the width and length, of the body of a nine year old child. In addition to the above size, the Tallis must also be large enough to be worn by a 13 year old child without him being embarrassed to occasionally wear it outside in the marketplace. Other Poskim however argue on this last condition and rule that if the Tallis is large enough for a nine year old child to cover his head and majority of body, then it is obligated in Tzitzis even if it is not large enough for a person above the age of 13 to occasionally wear to the marketplace without feeling ashamed. Practically, we rule like the former opinion that requires the Tallis to fulfill both of the above conditions, and therefore one is not to make a Tallis Katan smaller than this size. Nevertheless, if one desires to wear a four cornered garment that is less than the above measurement of the first opinion, but meets the measurement of the second opinion, then one is to tie Tzitzis onto its corners [and wear it without a blessing] in order to suspect for the second opinion.
If a Tallis is torn and dirty, and thus not wearable in the marketplace, is it exempt from Tzitzis?
Some Poskim rule that a Tallis which is unwearable due to its dirty and torn state loses its Tzitzis obligation and one may not recite a blessing over it. Other Poskim negate this opinion. [Nevertheless, from here we learn of the importance to be particular in having a beautiful Tallis that is not torn or dirty.]
Is a neck scarf obligated in Tzitzis?
No, as it does not contain Shiur Tallis. See Halacha 9A!
Is a very large garment which its Tzitzis will drag on the ground and tear obligated in Tzitzis?
Some Poskim rule it is exempt from Tzitzis. Others rule it is obligated in Tzitzis, and so is implied from Admur. Some Poskim however rule that if the Tallis is so large that it must be folded prior to wearing then it is exempt from Tzitzis. However other Poskim rule such a Tallis is obligated in Tzitzis although it is disputed as to where the Tzitzis is to be placed, and so implied from Admur.
C. Practical size of a Tallis Katan:
The Tallis Katan is to be a minimum size of 1 Ama by 1 Ama [49 x 49 centimeters] on each the front and the back side of the Tallis. This measurement does not include the neck hole of the Tallis, as will be explained next. Thus, the Tallis Katan is to be a total of two Amos [98 cm] long, excluding the neck hole, and one Ama [49 cm] wide. One is to beware to make the width of the Tallis a littler wider than the minimum width of one Ama. [The custom in Lubavitch was for the Tallis Katan to contain a width of 54 cm.]
Is the neck hole included in the size? The neck hole is not to be included within the measurement of the Tallis. Thus, one is to measure the 49 cm length required on each side from the edge of the hole on the front side of the Tallis, until its bottom, and from the edge of the hole on the back side of the Tallis until its bottom. By doing so one fulfills the Mitzvah according to all opinions.
Folded areas of the Tallis: The folded areas of the Tallis Gadol and Katan is not included in its required 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. One is to also beware to have a little more space by the width of the Tallis Katan, in addition to the minimum size of one Ama, as it is difficult to ascertain that an exact measurement Tallis Katan will have its entire width spread open.
The size of the shoulders of the Tallis Katan: One is to be careful by the Tallis Katan to make the shoulder area of the garment wide. [See Q&A for the practical size. Some however write that this requirement only applies according to the ruling of Admur in the Shulchan Aruch which holds that the shoulder area is part of the measurement of the Tallis Katan. However according to the Siddur, the shoulder area may be of any size and the Tallis remains valid.]
The minimum size of the width of the Tallis Katan is 49 cm. One is to add slightly more to this minimum size. The minimum length of the Tallis is 49 cm on each side, for a total of 98 cm excluding the neck hole. The Tallis Katan must be worn in a way that this amount of size is spread open and covers the person. The folded areas of the Tallis are not included in the above size.
How wide must the shoulder area of the Tallis be?
It must be slightly wide, at least 7.2 cm each. Some write each shoulder is to be 21 cm wide. Some however rule that according to Admur in the Siddur there is no minimum size required.
The shape of the neck hole of the Tallis Katan:
In the market there exist many different types of neck holes for the Tallis Katan. One is a simple hole while the other is a V-neck hole. The V neck hole contains various Halachic disadvantages: According to Admur in the Siddur, 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. Likewise, in the Siddur Admur requires that the chest be covered by the Tallis, and the V-neck hole causes the chest to be uncovered. In the event that one purchased a V neck Tallis Katan and he desires to be careful in the above matter, he can sew the edges of the V neck, hence leaving only the neck hole open, as brought in Chapter 1 Halacha 14D.
Practically: One should avoid wearing a V-neck Tallis Katan unless he plans to sew the cut edges of the V, or to attach buttons to it.
Why do some Chassidim wear a bindle over their Tallis?
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.
D. The size of a Tallis Katan for children:
Until age 6: Children that are below the age of 6 are not obligated to be educated to wear a Tallis Katan. [Thus, although scrupulous Jews and Chassidim are accustomed to educate children to wear Tzitzis beginning from age three, nevertheless it is not necessary for the Tallis to be any minimum size, and hence any size is valid and the child may recite a blessing over it.]
From age 6 and onwards: Regarding children that have reached the age of Chinuch, which is from age six until the age of thirteen, one may be lenient to follow those opinions that rule the minimum measurement of a Tallis is a total of one Ama in width and one Ama in length. [Meaning he does not need to have an Ama in length on each side of the Tallis, and it suffices if he has 24 cm length by the front side and 24 cm. length by the back side. Based on this, the Tallis Katan of a child above age 6 is to be a total length of 49 cm from one end to the other, and a width of 49 cm [in each side of both the back and front]. Nonetheless, despite the above ruling of Admur in the Siddur, it is not accustomed to be particular that children above age six wear a Tallis Katan that is one Ama [49 cm] wide. Perhaps this is because the intent of Admur is that it be a total of one Ama in width, including both sides, and hence having a width of 24 cm on each side suffices. Practically, the custom is like this approach. Once the child has reached the age of Chinuch [age 6] the Tallis Katan is not to be smaller than the above size.]
From Bar Mitzvah: Once a child has reached the age of Bar Mitzvah he is to be particular to wear a Tallis that is 1 Ama by 1 Ama [49 x 49 centimeters] on each the front and the back side of the Tallis, as explained in C.
Up until age 6 one does not need to be particular as to the size of the Tallis Katan, and a blessing may nevertheless be recited. From age 6 until Bar Mitzvah, the Tallis is to be at least one Ama in total length and one Ama in [total] width. This means that both sides of the Tallis are included for the total measurement of one Ama by one Ama.
May a child wear a Tallis Katan with torn strings? Must the Tzitzis of a child be Kosher, as is required by the Tzitzis of an adult?
Children of all ages may only wear a pair of Kosher Tzitzis. Thus, if the Tzitzis tears in a way that invalidates the Tzitzis, the child is to no longer wear it or say a blessing over it. Nevertheless, some write that until the age of Chinuch [age 6] one may be lenient to validate torn Tzitzis so long as they abide by some opinion mentioned in Poskim.
 8/5-6; Michaber 8/3
 Tur 8; Ittur Tzitzis 2/3 in name of Geonim, brought in Beis Yosef; Ritva brought in Nimukeiy Yosef Tzitzis
 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, 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 in the Yishmaeli style. [8/5]
 Michaber 8/2-3; Nimukeiy Yosef ibid; Terumos Hadeshen 45; Maharik; Iggur; Mahariy
 Admur 8/6
The reason: As the Torah states the requirement applies to “the corners of their garments”, and every clothing and garment is implied to be included within this requirement. The concept of a clothing that can be wrapped in the Yishmaeli wrap is not even hinted to in the Torah at all. [Admur ibid]
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 [that the original Sages]. [ibid]
 Admur 8/6 and 7; Michaber ibid
 Admur ibid; Michaber ibid
Other opinions: Some write that although the custom is to recite a blessing, a G-d fearing Jew should not do so being the matter is under dispute. [Kaf Hachaim 8/27 in name of Chesed Lealafim 8/5]
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 8 footnote 101
 16/1; Menachos 40b
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the Tallis must be large enough to reach one’s knees. [Gra brought in Shiureiy Torah p. 264; See Maharsham 4/121 and Mishneh Halachos 8/3; See Siddur with glosses of Rav Raskin footnote 10]
 Regarding which parts of the body are included in this length that must be covered for its majority-See Artzos Hachaim 16; Chazon Ish 3/30-31. It however certainly does not include the legs [Nimueki Orach Chaim 16] or the arms. [Ashel Avraham Butchach 16; Kaf Hachaim 16/2] Some explain this to mean that the Tallis covers majority of one’s back and up until below the chest. [Eretz Tzvi 1/1]
 This follows the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch that starting from the age of nine a child is to be educated to wear Tzitzis, as from this age and on he knows how to guard the Tallis upon walking alone in the market [ibid] In the Siddur however Admur writes that a child is obligated to wear Tzitzis from the age of 6, hence implying that the minimum size of a Tallis Katan follows a 6 year old child, not 9.
 The definition: Some Poskim explain this to mean that he is not ashamed to walk only wearing this clothing in the marketplace. [Lehoros Nassan 2/2] However others explain that it refers to a top coat which is worn over the rest of one’s clothing, and hence it does not have to be large enough that one would walk outside only wearing it. [Ashel Avraham Butchach 16; Nemukei Orach Chaim 16; Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/1 footnote 6]
The reason: Only a garment of this size is called a garment, of which the Torah obligated in Tzitzis. If the garment is of this size it is forbidden to be worn without Tzitzis even in the privacy of one’s home. [ibid]
If a 13 year old is not embarrassed to wear it, but it does not properly cover a 9 year old: If a nine year old child cannot cover his head and majority of his body with the Tallis, then even if a 13 year old boy is willing at times to wear the garment outside in the marketplace, nevertheless it remains exempt from Tzitzis. the reason for this is because the opinion of this 13 year old is nullified in face of all other people, being that it is not called a garment at all. [ibid]
 2nd opinion in Admur ibid; Beis Yosef
 Ashel Avraham Butchach 16 and Siddur Daas Kedoshim; Birchas Habayis 37/8; P”M 16 M”Z 1; Mahariy Ashkenazi 3; Nimukei Orach Chaim 16; See Maharsham 8/10
 M”B in Biur Halacha 16 “Lashuk”; Chesed Leavraham 2; Shinaver in Hakdama to Daas Kedoshim; See also Aruch Hashulchan 16/5; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1/7; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3/52; Tzitz Eliezer 20/8
 Beis Yosef 10; See Elya Zuta 10/11; Yad Efraim; Eretz Tzevi 1/1
 Darkei Moshe 10/6
 As he makes no mention of such an exemption.
 Nimukei Yosef brought in Taz 10/7; P”M 10 M”Z 7; Poskim brought in M”B 10/16
 See Rashi Menachos 41a, brought in Taz ibid; However see P”M ibid that explains even Rashi agrees that such a long Tallis that is twice the height of a person is exempt and Rashi is referring to a Tallis that is twice the size of a regular Tallis and not twice the size of a person.
 Admur 10/13 writes the wording of Rashi ibid “A Tallis that is the length of two”, and seemingly he is coming to teach like Rash as is understood by Taz; See Halacha 11C!
 Siddur Admur; Sefer Haminhagim p. 6 [English]; Artzos Hachaim 16 “so is the custom of Chassidim” in name of Siddur Admur; M”B 16/4 “Custom of Anshei Maaseh” in name of Artzos Hachaim regarding length [does not mention size of width]; Ashel Avraham Tinyana 16; Chazon Ish 3/3 [however according to his Ama it is to be 58 x 58 cm]; See Shiureiy Torah p. 264; Piskeiy Dinim 3/3; Tehila Ledavid 16/1
The Gemara and Poskim ibid do not mention and actual size of measurement for the Tallis and rather suffice with a general description of it needing to cover the body of a child. Nevertheless, later Poskim measured this size and concluded to give it a set measurement.
Other opinions: 1) Some Poskim rule it suffices for the Tallis to be one Ama by one Ama [in total] [Peri Haaretz 1 brought in Birkeiy Yosef 16/1 and Shaareiy Teshuvah 16; Chesed Lealafim 16/5; Many Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 16/2 agreed to this opinion; Shulchan Hatahor 16/1 states there is no need to be stringent that it be one Ama on each side] 2) Other Poskim rule the width must be at least 1.5 Amos. [See Lev Chaim 99] 3) Other Poskim rule it suffices for the Tallis Katan to be 3/4 of an Ama in length [36 cm] and half an Ama in width [24 cm]. [Peri Haaretz 1 in name of Derech Chochmah, brought in M”B 16/4 and Kaf Hachaim 16/2] Many however negate this opinion, stating it has no source from the Talmud. [Machatzis Hashekel 16; Artzos Hachaim 16; M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes with this opinion] 4) Some Poskim conclude that at the very least it must be a total of one Ama in width on both sides and 3/4 of an Ama in length on both sides. [M”B 16/4; Rav Chaim Felagi in Mesamchei Lev; Ben Ish Chaiy Lech Lecha 12; Rav Poalim 2/6; Chazon Ish 3/31] 5) Some Poskim suggest that the Tallis Katan of today does not need to be any minimum size and is hence obligated in Tzitzis even if it does not meet the above sizes that are based on the Gemara. [See Aruch Hashulchan 16/5; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1/7; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3/52; Tzitz Eliezer 20/8; see also Eretz Tzevi 1/1; Halef Lecha Shlomo 1/4]
 Shiureiy Torah p. 249
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that an Ama is 58 cm. [Chazon Ish]
 The reason: As 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. The folded area of the Tallis is 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 is spread open and not folded in both the front and back. Due to this requirement, those that manufacture Tallis Katans 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. [Siddur Admur]
 Heard from Harav Eliyahu Landa Shlita
 Siddur Admur; M”B 16/4; Sefer Haminhagim p. 6 [English]
Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule the neck hole is included within the measurement. [Chazon Ish brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/3; Ashel Avraham Butchach]
 The reason: As this hole contains missing material and hence cannot be included within the length.
 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 overlap in any amount, being that the folded and overlapping 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; Ben Ish Chaiy 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]
 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 overlapping 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.
 16/2; M”A 16 in name of Maharil 4/4 and Mateh Moshe 9
 The reason: In order so the empty space of one side of the shoulder and the empty side at the other side of the shoulder do not nullify the Tzitzis. [Poskim ibid] This is a rule brought in Eiruvin 10b and means that if there is more empty space at the two sides of the Eiruv than the Eiruv itself, then the Eiruv is invalid. ]See Admur 362/10] Seemingly, the intent of using this statement here regarding the shoulders is to say that the same applies here in the case of Tzitzis, that if the shoulder area is too narrow, then it is considered like non-existent, and it thus does not connect the two sides of the Tallis. Some Poskim however explain that this phrase was used as a mere euphemism, as in truth we never view the shoulder area as non-existent regarding it connecting the two sides of the Tallis. The true intent of this terminology is to say that since the Tallis Katan must have a minimum length, one should not make the shoulder area too narrow as otherwise that area will not have enough width of cloth to be included as part of the Shiur Tallis. [Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid; Aruch Hashulchan 16/4; implication of Ketzos Hashulchan Hosafos p. 86]
 Ketzos Hashulchan Hosafos p. 86
 The reason: As in the Siddur, Admur rules the neck hole is not included in the measurement of the Tallis Katan, and hence the shoulder area is not included in the measurement. For this reason, there is no need for the shoulder to be of a minimum measurement, as in any event it is not included in the measurement of the Tallis, and to affect the connection of the two sides, it suffices that it is even slightly attached. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid]
 M”B 16/4; See Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 8/13
 Ashel Avraham 16; Kaf Hachaim 16/6
 Chazon Ish Igeres 10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/2 footnote 16
 Ketzos Hashulchan Hosafos p. 86
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 16/2 footnote 17
 Siddur Admur
 Siddur Admur “Children that have reached the age of Chinuch which is from age 6 and onwards…”; Lev Chaim 101; Ben Ish Chaiy Lech Lecha 14; Kaf Hachaim 17/10; See chapter 1 Halacha 12C!
Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch and other Poskim: In 16/1 Admur rules that a child is considered to reach the age of Chinuch for Tzitzis from the age of 9. This follows the ruling of the M”A 16/1
 See Chapter 1 Halacha 12C!
 Sheivet Haleivi 3/6; Even Yisrael 7/3; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3/52; Piskeiy Teshuvos 17/2; Rav SZ”A in Halichos Shlomo ¾; See P”M 16 M”Z 1 [brought in Biur Halacha 15 “Veaz”] that we measure the “majority of head and body” according to the built of each child.
 Siddur Admur; Piskeiy Teshuvos 17/2 writes the Shiur is to be a minimum of 24 by 24 cm on each side for a 6 year old, however it should be 36 x 36 cm for a nine year old.
 Peri Haaretz 1 brought in Birkeiy Yosef 16/1; Chesed Lealafim 16/5; Many Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 16/2 agreed to this opinion; See Haaros Ubiurim 779; See also Beir Heiytiv 16/1 in name of Peri Haaretz who brings an opinion that holds of an even lesser Shiur; Piskeiy Teshuvos 17/2 writes the Shiur is to be a minimum of 24 by 24 cm on each side.
 Shiurei Torah p. 266
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 17/2 footnote 11
 Igros Moshe ibid
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 17/2
 Thus the strings must only reach a length of 8 cm [opinion in Michaber 11/4], and may be torn on all sides so long as Kdei Aniva remains, and so on and so forth.
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