The Tzitzis braid

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The Tzitzis braid:

In the previous Halachos, the laws dealing with the people that are valid to make the Tzitzis braid, and that the Tzitzis braid must be made Leshmah, were dealt with. In this Halacha the laws of the actual braid will be discussed. What does a Kosher Tzitzis braid consist of; must it have loops, knots and how long must it be?

A. Gdil & Anaf:[2]

The Tzitzis which are tied to the corners must consist of two parts; the Gdil and the Anaf.[3] The Gdil is the braided area which contains loops and knots.[4] The loops of the Gdil are known as the Kericha, while the set of loops with knots is known as the Chulya.[5] [Thus, if there is three Chulyos with three Kerichos in each Chulya, there is a total of nine Kerichos/loops in the Gedil.] The Anaf is the loose strings which extend past the braided area of the Tzitzis.[6] If one braided the entire fringe without leaving even a minute amount of Anaf, or made the entire fringe an Anaf and did not make a valid braid on any part of the strings, it is invalid.[7]

The definition of a braid/Gdil:[8] The definition of a Gdil/braid is a loop. Even a single set of loops [Chulya] suffices to be considered a braid. Nevertheless, a loop is only valid if one ties a [double] knot on top of it.[9] [If one did not tie a knot on top of the loop, and certainly if one did not make a loop under the knot, the Gdil is Biblically invalid.]

A double knot on top of the loops:[10] One must tie a double knot on top of the loops. If one tied a single knot the knot [and its loops[11]] is invalid and it is considered as if the knot is not there.[12]

Must the braiding of the Tzitzis be performed while attached to the corner? May one braid the Tzitzis and then sew it onto the corner?[13]

The Tzitzis must be braided while on the corner. Hence, it is invalid to braid a Tzitzis and then sew it onto a corner of a Tallis. This applies even if the Tzitzis was on another Tallis. Thus, one may not cut the corner of a Tallis in order to free the Tzitzis and then sew the Tzitzis onto another Tallis.[14]

B. The minimum length of the Gdil and Anaf-Letter of law:[15]

Biblically, there is no minimum amount of braided area that one must make for the Gdil[16], and there is no minimum length required for the Anaf.[17] Therefore, whether one braided majority of the length of the strings [and left only a minute amount of Anaf[18]] and whether one only braided a single set of loops [Chulya] and tied a double knot on top of it [and left the remainder as Anaf], it is valid.[19] Furthermore, in today’s times that Techeiles is not found, there is not even a minimum Rabbinical requirement for the amount of sets of loops [Chulyos] and knots to be made.[20] There is also no minimum amount of loops [Kerichos] that need to be made in-between each set of knots [Chulyos], and one may thus do as he wishes.[21] [Thus, from the letter of the law, if one makes a single loop and a double knot on top of it, it is valid.] Nevertheless, there is an age old tradition[22] regarding the exact amount of loops and knots that are to be made, as explained next. If one braided the entire fringe without leaving even a small amount of Anaf, it is invalid even Biblically.[23]

C. The custom:

Although from the letter of the law one is allowed to make however many loops [Kerichos] as he wishes, and is allowed to make as many sets of loops [Chulyos] and knots made between the loops, as he wishes, nevertheless the custom is to make a specific number of loops and knots, as will be explained. One must Lechatchila follow this custom.[24]

The amount of knots and spaces-Custom:[25] The widespread custom of all Israel, dating back many years, is to make five sets of knots.[26] Likewise, the custom is to make four sets of space that is filled with loops, in-between the five sets of knots. It is done in the following way: One takes the four strings of each side of the hole and ties them one on top of the other two times[27] [i.e. a double knot].[28] One then takes the long string and makes a number of loops around the other seven strings and returns to make another double knot on top of it. One then again uses the long string to make the loops, and ties it with a double knot. This is to be done until four sets of loops, and five sets of double knots are created.

How many loops are to be made in each set-Custom:[29] There is no minimum amount of loops [Kerichos] that need to be made in-between each set of knots, and one may thus do as he wishes.[30] Nevertheless, the custom is as follows: The custom is to make the following amount of loops in the four sets of spaces that are in-between the five sets of double knots: The first set contains 7 loops; the second set contains 8 loops[31]; the third set contains 11 loops; the fourth set contains 13 loops.[32] Some[33] are accustomed to subdivide the loops of each set into individual groups of three. This is done as follows: In the first set, after making the first three loops, they slightly distance and make another set of three loops within that same set. They then [take a slight distance and] make a single loop [and make a double knot]. They then make two loops in the beginning of the second set, joining the last single loop of the first set for a total of three. They then slightly distance and make another three loops. This order is followed until all 39 loops are made. In total there are 13 sets of three loops that are made. This was the order followed in times that Techeiles was found.[34] [Practically, the Chabad custom follows this opinion.[35] This however is with the addition that each set of three is individually braided using the Shamash in order to permanently maintain the 13 sets.[36] The order is as follows: 1st set: 3,3,1; 2nd set: 2,3,3; 3rd set: 3,3,3,2; 4th set: 1,3,3,3,3.[37]

How much space is there to be in each set?[38] It is a beautification to the Tzitzis for all the sets to be the same length, [meaning to have the same amount of space between each of the four sets of knots]. Hence, when making the first set that contains only seven loops, one is to distance the loops from each other; in the second set he is to proximate them slightly; in the third set he is to make them even closer together; in the fourth set he is to make them even closer, hence making them all the same length.[39] In the Zohar it states there is to be an exact space of one Gudal [2 cm] between each set of knots.[40]

The length of the Anaf-Custom:[41] It is a beautification for the Tzitzis [i.e. Noiy Tzitzis] for it to be 1/3 a braid and 2/3 loose string [thus having the loose strings be twice the length of the braided area]. Hence, if one has an exact length of 12 Gudlin [24 cm] of string, 4 Gudlin [8 cm] is to be the braid, and 8 Gudlin [16 cm] is to be loose string. If one makes the Tzitzis longer than 12 Gudlin, then one is to make the braid more than 4 Gudlin, as Lechatchila 1/3 of the length is to be the braid and 2/3’s loose string.[42] [If one made the loose strings longer than 2/3 of the length, then one is to cut the ends of the loose strings until they are exactly 2/3 of the length.[43]] The loops and knots together are considered the braid, and all together their length is to only be 1/3 of the length, which is 4 Gudlin [by a 12 Gudlin Tzitzis]. [Practically, the widespread custom today is not to be particular that the loose strings are exactly 2/3 of the length, and it is rather made longer than 2/3, more than twice the size of the Gdil.[44]]

D. Bedieved or in a time of need?[45]

All of the above number of loops and knots is only initially required. However Bedieved, if one already completed the Tzitzis without following the proper numbers of loops and/or knots[46], then one may follow the Biblical law of one set of loops [Chulya] and a double knot on top of it, and wear it with a blessing. [Practically, even a single loop under the knot suffices.[47]]

Time of need: In a time of need, such as on Erev Shabbos near sunset, when one does not have time to make all the customary amount of loops and knots, the Sages allowed one to follow the Biblical law and suffice with making a single set of loops [Chulya] and a double knot. One may recite a blessing upon wearing these Tzitzis. [Practically, even a single loop under the knot suffices.]

E. The string used to make the braid:[48]

One of the strings from amongst the 8 strings must be longer [than 24 cm] in order for it to be used to make the braid of the Tzitzis [and still retain its minimum 24 cm length after the braid is complete]. [This string is formally known as the Shamash.]

Must one use the same string to make the braid?[49] If one does not have a string that is long enough to singly braid the entire Tzitzis, then he may use multiple strings for the braiding. He may braid some of the sets of loops using one string and some of the sets of loops using another string.[50]

F. Keeping the four strings of each side separate/Making a loop on the strings of one side:[51]

It is customary to be particular that each original side of four strings remains together on the same side throughout the entire braid. This is accomplished by making a sign on the top of four of the Tzitzis of one side [prior to beginning the loops].[52] [The custom of the world is to make a loop on the top of the four strings of one side to serve as a sign for this matter.[53] This loop is made directly after the first two knots are tied. Some Poskim[54] however question this matter.[55] In the event that one tied the Tzitzis without making any separating signs, and hence the strings became mixed with that of another side, it nevertheless remains valid even initially.[56]]

Summary of the braid:

Customarily, one makes a total of five sets of double knots and 39 loops throughout the braid. The following are the steps:

1. One takes the four strings of each side of the hole and ties them one on top of the other two times [i.e. a double knot].
2. One then makes a sign [loop] on the Tzitzis of one side in order to keep them on the same side throughout the tying.
3. One then takes the long string and makes the 1st set of 7 loops. [The loops may be made in any direction-right to left or left to right.] The Chabad custom is to further subdivide these seven loops into three separate groups, of 3, 3, 1.
4. One is to distance the space between each group of 3, 3, 1 in order so all the four sets are of equal space. Some are particular that each set is a space of exactly 2 cm.
5. One then makes a double knot.
6. One then takes the long string and makes the 2nd set of 8 loops. The Chabad custom is to further subdivide these eight loops into three separate groups, of 2, 3, 3.
7. One is to make a smaller distance between each group of this set.
8. One then makes a double knot.
9. One then takes the long string and makes the 3rd set of 11 loops. The Chabad custom is to further subdivide these eleven loops into four separate groups, of 3, 3, 3, 1.
10. One is to make a smaller distance between each group of this set.
11. One then makes a double knot.
12. One then takes the long string and makes the 4th and last set of 13 loops. The Chabad custom is to further subdivide these thirteen loops into five separate groups of 1, 3, 3, 3, 3.
13. One is to make a smaller distance between each group of this set.
14. One then makes a double knot.

Bedieved or time of need: All of the above number of loops and knots is only initially required. However Bedieved, if one made at least one loop and a double knot on top of it, it is valid and may be worn with a blessing. In a time of need, such as on Erev Shabbos near sunset, one may even initially make the braid in this fashion.

Q&A on tying the Tzitzis

May one tie the Tzitzis onto the Tallis while wearing it?

No. The Tallis may not be worn until it has Kosher Tzitzis placed on all four corners.[57]

On which corner is one to begin the tying of the Tzitzis?

This matter is not discussed in Poskim and one may hence begin with whichever corner he chooses. Nevertheless, some write it is best to begin with the front corners of the Tzitzis due to their higher level of holiness.[58]

Is one to insert all four strings simultaneously into the hole or may he enter one string at a time?

Some Poskim[59] rule one is to enter all four strings simultaneously into the corner hole.[60] Nevertheless, if one  did not do so, and entered one string after the other, it is nevertheless valid.[61]

With which hand is the Shamash to be held while making the braid?

One may hold it in whichever hand he chooses.[62]

Is the Shamash string used for the braid to be swung towards the right or left of the strings, for the purpose of making the loops?

One may swing the Shamash, and make the loops, towards whichever direction he chooses.[63]

Is the braided area of the Chabad style Tzitzis to all be even, going in one straight line?

This is not necessary according to Halacha and is not recorded amongst the Chabad Minhagim.

Are the ends of all the strings to be even?

Some[64] are accustomed to make sure that the ends of all the strings are even. Hence, if one string was made longer than the other strings, as commonly occurs with the Shamash, they cut that string until it is even.

May one glue the top knots of the Tzitzis in order to prevent it from opening?

Yes.[65] However some[66] question whether doing so can consider the knot invalid.

May one be involved in other activities while tying the Tzitzis?

It is improper to be involved in other matters while tying the Tzitzis onto the Tallis, and one is rather to remain focused on the Mitzvah.[67] Nevertheless, the Tzitzis remains valid even if one’s mind focused on other matters during the tying, so long as the initial tying was done Leshma.

May one talk during the tying?

Some[70]

Although from the letter of the law it is permitted to tie Tzitzis in a bathroom, nevertheless, due to the significance of the knots of the Tzitzis which correspond to Hashem’s Divine name, one is to avoid doing so. Due to this reason, one is to avoid tightening the knots of the Tzitzis while in the bathroom.

Q&A on mistakes in the tying

What is the law if one forgot to tie the first set of double knots near the corner?

The Tzitzis is valid and one is not required to undo the Tzitzis and retie them properly.[71] Nevertheless, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to do so.[72]

What is the law if some of the knots of the braid were not made into double knots?

So long as a single set of double knots has been made on top of one set of loops, the Tzitzis is valid and one is not required to undo the Tzitzis and retie the knots properly.[73] Nevertheless, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to do so.[74]

What is the law if the knots were made with 5-6 strings on one side and 2-3 strings on the other?[75]

The knots and Tzitzis remain valid.

Is one to personally tie his Tzitzis to his Tallis rather than purchase it ready made?[76]

Yes. It is a Mitzvah for each person to personally tie the Tzitzis strings to ones Tallis Katan/Gadol rather than have it done by another person. This follows the Talmudic dictum “Mitzvah Bo Yoser Mebslucho”.

Directives given to the Bochurim who tied the Rebbes Tallis:[77]

Rav Chesed Halbershtam was given the merit to tie the Rebbe’s Tzitzis in the years 1970-1975. He was given four directives in regards to tying the Tzitzis:

1. To immerse in a Mikveh beforehand.
2. To tie it during the day, not at night.
3. Not to tie it during the learning Sedarim of the Yeshiva.
4. It should be done through an unmarried man.

[1] 11/25-32; Michaber 11/14; Menachos 38-39

[2] 11/25

[3] Source: The Torah states “Gedilim Taaseh Lecha”, which teaches us that the Tzitzis must be braided. [ibid]

[4] Admur ibid that a Gedil must have a Chulya to be valid; Beis Yosef; Michaber 11/13; Taz; M”A; Elya Raba; M”B 11/64; Biur Halacha 11/10 “Venitku” “Majority and almost all Poskim”

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the first double knot that is made which attaches the Tzitzis to the hole is Biblically considered a Gedil, even without making any loops. [Olas Tamid 11/8-10; Tosafus Menachos 39 in name of Rashi; Aruch Hashulchan 11/17; Chazon Ish 2/5; 3/11] Practically, we do not rule like this opinion, as brought in all Poskim ibid, and hence one must always make a loop and double knot for it to be a Kosher braid. Furthermore, in Biur Halacha 11/10 “Venitku” he explains that even the Olas Tamid ibid does not hold that a lone knot without a loop is considered a braid, and rather he is saying that both a loop and a knot are Biblically part of the Gedil [as rule all the other Poskim above] and hence regarding cases of Taaseh Velo Min Haasuiy one is to undo the Tzitzis even if he only made a single set of double knots without loops. However see P”M 11 A”A 13 who seems to learn the Olas Tamid as stated above. Practically, regarding Taaseh Velo Min Hassuiy some Poskim [Chayeh Adam 11/18; Aruch Hashulchan 11/17; Chazon Ish 2/5; 3/11; M”B 11/64] rule one is to be stringent like the Olas Tamid, although according to Admur [11/23] it is clear that one may be lenient.

[5] Rama 11/13 “A Chulya is the Tzitzis that is between the bottom and top knot”; See 11/31 [and 11/25] that each individual loop is called a Kericha and a set of loops is called a Chulya. See also Tur/Beis Yosef which brings this definition.

[6] Source: When the Torah stated “Gedilim Taaseh Lecha” one would think that the entire Tzitzis must be braided, hence the Torah also states “Veasu Lachem Tzitzis”, and the term Tzitzis/fringes refers to loose strings that are not braided. This teaches us that the Tzitzis must contain both a braid/Gdil and loose strings/Tzitzis. The Gdil is to extend from the corner, while the loose strings are to extend from the braid. [ibid]

[7] 11/25-26

The reason: As the Torah states Gdil and the Torah states Tzitzis. [ibid]

[8] 11/25; Michaber 11/13; M”B 11/64; Biur Halacha 11/10 “Venitku”

[9] Admur ibid and in 11/28; M”B 11/64

The reason: As without a knot on top of the loop, the loop will become undone and one will no longer have a Gdil. [ibid]

[10] 11/28; M”B 11/64

[11] 11/25

[12] The reason: The reason for this is because a single knot does not last and is hence not considered a knot at all. [ibid; See also 317/3]

[13] Implication of Rashi Menachos 41a [however see Rav Poalim below]; Lev Chaim 1/96 “so is the ruling of all the Achronim”; Yad Haketana 3/1 brought in Rav Poalim; Chayeh Adam 11/29; Kaf Hachaim 15/3 “One cannot permit prohibitions as result of unclear explanations”; Piskeiy Teshuvos 15/5 footnote 33

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to cut a whole braided Tzitzis off from a corner of a Tallis and then sew it [by its bottom area] onto the corner of another Tallis. [Rabbeinu Yeshaya [author of Tosafus Rid, 1100’s] brought in Sam Chaim p. 14 Hilchos Tzitzis; Birkeiy Yosef in Shiyurei Bracha 15/1; Rav Poalim 3/1; Artzos Hachaim 15/2 allows to return the strings to the same Tallis.] These Poskim thus hold it is not necessary for the braid to be made while the strings are attached to the Tallis.

[14] The reason: This is forbidden due to Taashe Velo Min Hassuiy. [See Rashi ibid and Poskim ibid]

[15] 11/25-26; M”A 11/20; Menachos 39a

[16] 11/25

[17] 11/26

[18] 11/26; Setimas all Poskim; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 98

Other opinions: Some Poskim question whether Biblically leaving a very minute amount of loose string suffices, and perhaps one must leave at least 4 cm worth. [Makor Chaim; Chayeh Adam 11/16; Chazon Ish 3/7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11/15 footnote 98]

[19] 11/25; M”A ibid

[20] 11/27; Menachos 39a; M”B 11/65

Background: In times that Techeiles was found, the Sages instituted one to make at least seven loops, corresponding to the seven heavens, being that the Techeiles is similar to the sky. Likewise, they instituted to make a [double] knot in between each and every loop, in order so each loop is individually recognizable. However today, in which Techeiles is no longer found, one is no longer required to be particular in the amount of sets of loops  made [Chulyos] or the amount of knots made in-between the loops. [ibid]

[21] 11/28; Michaber ibid; M”B 11/65

Other opinions: See Piskeiy Teshuvos 11/24 and footnote 166 who writes that the definition of a Chulya [brought in Admur and M”A ibid] is a set of three loops and not a single loop, and hence one must make a minimum of three loops [Kerichos] for it to be considered a Chulya, and one is required Biblically to have at least one Chulya. This is clearly negated from the wording of Admur ibid and the M”B ibid which clearly state one may make as many Kerichos as he wishes, and there is no minimum amount of Kerichos! Furthermore, from the fact that none of the Poskim [i.e. Michaber; Admur; M”A; M”B] mention this requirement when discussing how many loops must be made, proves that even one loop is Biblically valid. I have not found any source that states Biblically one is to make three Kerichos, and neither does he write any source.

[22] Recorded in Rashi and Tosafus Menachos 39

[23] 11/26

[24] 11/32

[25] 11/27-28, 30

[26] 11/27; Michaber 11/14

The reason: As the verse “Ureisem Oso Uzichartem Es Kol Mitzvos Hashem” and there is a total of 613 Mitzvos. Thus in order to accumulate the numerical value of 613, we make five knots on the Tzitzis, as Tzitzis is the Gematria of 600 and there are 8 strings plus five knots for a total of 613. [ibid] An additional reason is because the knots remind us of our pact with Hashem, as explained in 24/1. Nevertheless, this reason does not explain why 5 knots are made on each fringe.

[27] The reason: The reason for this is because a single knot does not last and is hence not considered a knot at all. [ibid; See also 317/3]

[28] The purpose of the first set of double knots: This first double knot is seemingly only made in order to have five sets of double knots, or in order to secure the Tzitzis to the hole, however it is not required either Biblically or Rabbinically, as explained in B that from the letter of the law a single loop and double knot on top of it knot suffices, and there is no mention of a double knot that is needed to be made below the loop. See M”B 11/64 that the double knot near the hole is not required at all Biblically.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the first double knot that is made, and attaches the Tzitzis to the hole, is Biblically considered a Gedil even without making any loops. [Olas Tamid 11/8-10; Tosafus Menachos 39 in name of Rashi; Aruch Hashulchan 11/17; Chazon Ish 2/5; 3/11]

[29] 11/30-31; Michaber ibid

[30] 11/28; Michaber ibid

[31] Admur 11/30; M”A 11/22; Taz 11/16; M”B 11/70; Shlah Chulin; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos; Rashal in name of Ravan; Mateh Moshe 12; Kaf Hachaim 11/47; Custom of all Jewry today [Likkutei Maharich]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is to make 9 loops in the second set. [Michaber ibid]

[32] 11/30; Michaber ibid; Custom of all Jewry today however see Olas Yitzchak 1/4 that the Yemenite custom is to do as the Rambam, and make seven sets of loops with three loops in each one.

The reason: The reason behind this custom is in order to accumulate the value of 39 which corresponds to Havayah Echad. [ibid; Zohar Pinchas 228]

Tallis Katan versus Tallis Gadol: The above number of loops applies for both a Tallis Katan and Tallis Gadol. [Kaf Hachaim 11/47 as is implied from Arizal] However some Poskim rule that by a Tallis Katan one is to only make 26 loops. [Kisei Eliyahu and Kaf Hachaim Falagi Y.D. 4, brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid]

Do the half loops at the start and end of each set count as a loop? Those who do not make the Tzitzis into braided sets of three have a half loop in the start and end of each set. The question is asked as to whether these halves count as a loop. [By Chabad Tzitzis and Sephardic Tzitzis in which braided sets are made, this question is not relevant, as there are no half loops created.] Some write that the halves do not count as loops while others write they do count as loops. Each person is to follow his custom. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 /30 footnote 216]

[33] This custom mentioned in Admur and M”A [next footnote] is based on the Zohar and Arizal and is recorded in several Poskim, as brought in the next footnote

[34] 11/31; M”A 11/22 in name of Arizal; Chesed Lealafim 11/9; Yesod Veshoresh Havoda; Siddur Yaavetz; Kaf Hachaim 11/47; Ketzos Hashulchan 11 footnote 50 [Vetzaruch Iyun why he makes no mention of Admur!]

The widespread custom: The widespread custom is not like this opinion. [Shaareiy Teshuvah 11/10] This custom was omitted by the M”B.

[35] Sefer Haminhagim p. 3

[36] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 219

Sephardic custom: The Sephardic custom is to make a braid using the Shamash between each individual loop. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Halacha Berurah 11/46]

[37] Igros Kodesh 11/362; See Sefer Haminhagim [English] page 8; Taamei Haminhagim [Weinfeld-Eshkol] 609-610

[38] 11/30; M”A 11/21; Rosh 15

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is not necessary to be particular in this matter [Elya Raba 11/2 in name of Lechem Chamudos; Beir Heiytiv 11/22; Kaf Hachaim 11/68 that the Arizal made no mention of this custom]

[39] Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Rosh ibid

[40] 11/29; M”A ibid

[41] 11/29; Siddur Admur [letter 21 in Siddur Raskin]; Michaber 11/14; Menachos 39a

Other opinions: According to the Zohar, which states there is to be an exact space of one Gudal [2 cm] between each set of knots, not including the knots, [Admur ibid; M”A 11/21] it ends up that the Gdil takes up more than 1/3 of the length of a 12 Agudal Tzitzis, as just the four spaces alone accumulate to 4 Gudal, and with the knots it would be close to 6 Gudal which is half of the length.

[42] Admur ibid; Siddur ibid; Rama ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the main issue is for the loose strings to be at least twice longer than the Gdil. Hence, if one desires to make the loose strings very long, and have the Gdil be less than 1/3 of the length, it is allowed. [Chazon Ish 3/10; Mishneh Halachos 13/5]

[43] Ben Ish Chaiy Noach 13; Chesed Lealafim; Kaf Hachaim 11/46

[44] Mishneh Halachos 13/5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11/31

The reason: As some Poskim rule that due to beauty it should only not be less than twice the amount, but may be more. [Chazon Ish ibid]

[45] 11/32; M”A 11/19

[46] Seemingly however, this refers to one who already finished the entire Tzitzis string and made a mistake in the number of loops of one of the sets, by making less or more than the required amount, or by not making a double knot by one of the sets. Thus the novelty here is that one is not required to undo the Tzitzis and then redo it properly. [See Divrei Nechemia p. 62 which questions Admur regarding the definition of Bedieved, and according to this all is understood.]

[47] 11/28; Michaber ibid; M”B 11/65 that there is no minimum amount of loops that must be made in a Chulya.

Other opinions: See Piskeiy Teshuvos 11/24 and footnote 166 who writes that the definition of a Chulya [brought in Admur and M”A ibid] is a set of three loops and not a single loop and hence one must make a minimum of three loops [Kerichos] for it to be considered a Chulya, and one is required Biblically to have at least one Chulya. This is clearly negated from the wording of Admur ibid and the M”B ibid which clearly state one may make as many Kerichos as he wishes, and there is no minimum amount of Kerichos! Furthermore, from the fact that none of the Poskim [i.e. Michaber; Admur; M”A; M”B] mention this requirement when discussing how many loops must be made, proves that even one loop is Biblically valid. I have not found any source that states Biblically one is to make three Kerichos, and neither does he write any source.

[48] 11/8; Michaber 11/4

[49] 11/8; M”A 11/7; M”B 11/22

Other opinions: Some Poskim write it is proper to initially make the braid using the same string. [Sefer Chassidim Hachadash 643]

[50] The reason: As in the times that the Techeiles was found, they would braid some of the braid from Techeiles and some of the braid from the white string. [ibid]

[51] Michaber 12/1; Beis Yosef in name of Mahariy; Ketzos Hashulchan 6/17; The ramification of keeping the sides separated is mentioned in Admur 12/2 although he does not mention that it is the custom to do so.

[52] The reason: It is proper to prevent the strings of one side from becoming braided into the other side. Thus, one is to make a sign on one of the sets of four hence keeping them on their proper side for the entire duration of the tying. This serves use in case two strings tear to below 4 cm on the same side, in which case, if one was particular to keep the sides separate, then the Tzitzis remains Kosher, as one is certain that the two tears do not belong to the same string. [See Halacha 12C]

[53] Ketzos Hashulchan ibid footnote 49; Chazon Ish 3/9; See M”A 12/5 that one makes a knot on each individual string. The Machatzis Hashekel explains this to mean that one makes a different number of knots on each pair of strings hence knowing exactly which string belongs to which pair. For example, on one string he makes one knot on each end, on the second string he makes two knots on each end etc.

[54] See Ketzos Hashulchan ibid and Chazon Ish ibid; Har Tzevi 1/15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 206

[55] The reason: As the strings of the Tzitzis must be separated from each other before wearing the Tzitzis, and hence at the time of tying the strings one should be careful for at least the first set of the loops and knots braid that the strings are not tied with a bow [and rather have on them a different sign for differentiation] otherwise this would seemingly fall into the issue of Taseh Velo Min Haasuy. Nevertheless, the custom of the world is to make the loop even before any of the braiding is done, seemingly relying on the fact that since there are separated strings which come out from the bow, therefore it is not considered as if the strings are entangled. [Ketzos Hashulchan ibid] See also Admur 23/3; Michaber 23/2; M”A 23/1 “Some are accustomed upon entering into a cemetery to tie the Tzitzis of two corners to each other in order to nullify the Mitzvah of Tzitzis from them [and hence allow one to enter the cemetery with the Tzitzis revealed]. However, in truth this does not help at all, as although the Tzitzis are tied to each other, nevertheless the Mitzvah of Tzitzis is not nullified through doing so, as he intends to return and untie them.” See also Har Tzevi ibid that defends the custom.

[56] Pashut as the entire purpose of the separation is in order to benefit in the event that two strings tear. See also the wording of Admur 12/3 “If at the time of tying the Tzitzis one made sure to separate the two sides of the four strings.” Hence clearly implying this matter is not even initially required. Likewise, Admur omits the custom mentioned in Michaber ibid

[57] As it is Biblically forbidden to wear a Tallis without Kosher Tzitzis even for a moment.

Background:

The above question touches on whether the Mitzvah of tying Tzitzis to a Tallis only begins once one wears the Tallis, and hence if one wears it and right away begins to tie the Tzitzis he has not transgressed, or if the Mitzvah requires that by the time one wears the Tzitzis it already contains Kosher Tzitzis attached to it. We find a precedent to the former approach regarding the positive command of Tashbisu, to destroy Chametz from one’s home on Erev Pesach. Admur rules in 445/1 that the Mitzvah of Tashbisu only begins once the 12th hour arrives, as the Mitzvah is, that when the 12th hour arrives, one needs to destroy all his chametz. The Mitzvah does not dictate that one not own any Chametz by the time the 12th hour arrives. Perhaps then this likewise applies towards the Mitzvah of tying Tzitzis to a Tallis. A proof can be brought to using this approach also by Tzitzis from Admur 13/7 which rules that on Shabbos one may Biblically wear a Tallis without Tzitzis. Now, if the command dictated not to wear a Tallis until Tzitzis are tied, then one would Biblically need to wait until Shabbos is over and Tzitzis are tied in order to wear the Tallis. From the fact that this is not Biblically required we see that the command only begins once one wears the Tallis. Perhaps however one can argue and say that in truth the command requires that upon coming to wear the Tallis one must tie fringes onto its corners prior to wearing it, and thus on Shabbos, since one cannot tie Tzitzis, he may Biblically wear it without Tzitzis. Hence, one can learn like the second approach above that requires the Tzitzis to be fully valid prior to wearing the Tallis, unlike the Mitzvah of Tashbisu which only applies once the time of prohibition arrives. A proof for the latter approach can be brought from the fact that no Posek has ever discussed the issue of Taaseh Velo Min Hasuiy regarding tying the Tzitzis while not wearing the Tallis, as if in truth the Mitzvah only begins once the Tallis is worn, then one should be required to wear it during tying due to Taaseh Velo Min Hassuiy. From lack of discussion of this matter, we see that the Mitzvah is to tie the Tzitzis prior to wearing it. This can also be inferred from the wording in Poskim regarding the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, such as the wording in the Chinuch 386 “One is to place Tzitzis on clothing that he will wear” and not “that he is wearing”. Even according to the first approach, seemingly doing so would still contain a Rabbinical prohibition, as rules Admur ibid regarding Shabbos.

[58] Shulchan Eish 8/6; Beir Moshe 5/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 199

[59] Pischeiy Teshuvah 11/12; Kaf Hachaim 11/40 in name of Pischeiy Olam

[60] The reason: As the start of the Mitzvah is upon entering the strings through the hole, and hence if one does not enter all four strings simultaneously, it is found that the first strings entered are “Taaseh Velo Min Haasuiy”. [ibid]

[61] Kaf Hachaim 11/40 in name of Pischeiy Olam

[62] Harav Eliyahu Landa Shlita mentioned to me that it may be held in any hand.

[63] Harav Eliyahu Landa Shlita and Harav Moshe Y. L. Landa Shlita [Rav of Bnei Braq] told me that they never received any directive to be particular in this matter, although their father Harav Yaakov Landa always did it towards the right. This however could be simply due to convenience of how he held the Tzitzis, as he held the Tzitzis in his right hand and the Shamash in his left hand. [Harav Eliyahu Landa ibid] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 211 that Harav Fruind, the Gavad of Jerusalem, had a tradition to swing it in a way that when the Tallis is worn the loops go from right to left. Thus, he was accustomed to swing it from left to right when the Tzitzis was opposite him in order so when the Tallis is worn the loops go from right to left. However the custom of the world is to swing it from right to left.

[64] Leket Yosher p. 10 that so was the custom of the Terumos Hadeshen; Shulchan Melachim 3/99; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 224

[65] See Shevet Halevi 10/8

[66] See ibid; Halacha Berurah 11/4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 85

[67] Levush 11/14

[68] Midrash Pinchas in name of Rav Pinchas of Koretz; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11/30

[69] The reason: As the knots of the Tzitzis hint to the names of Hashem and it is hence improper to speak while making them. [ibid]

[70] Shevet Halevi 10/15

[71] Admur makes no mention that this double knot is required from the letter of the law and continuously states that Biblically and Rabbinically it suffices to have a loop and double knot on top of it. No mention is made of a bottom double knot that is needed to be made below the loop. This first double knot is seemingly only made in order to have five sets of double knots, or in order to secure the Tzitzis to the hole. See M”B 11/64 that the double knot near the hole is not required at all Biblically.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the first double knot that is made which attaches the Tzitzis to the hole is Biblically considered a Gedil even without making any loops. [Olas Tamid 11/8-10; Tosafus Menachos 39 in name of Rashi; Aruch Hashulchan 11/17; Chazon Ish 2/5; 3/11]

[72] As one is initially to make five double knots on the braid, as the five knots corresponds to the 613 Mitzvos. [See C!]

[73] As Bedieved we rule that so long as there is a single loop and double knot in the braid, it is valid, as explained in Halacha D!

[74] As one is initially to make five double knots on the braid, as the five knots corresponds to the 613 Mitzvos. [See C!]

[75] Shaareiy Teshuvah 11/13 in name of Machazik Bracha in name of Malbushei Yom Tov in name of Maharash regarding 5 with 3; Artzos Hachaim 11/14 regarding 6 with 2; Regarding 7 with 1 see Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 209; See Chazon Ish 3/11

[76] Leket Yosher p. 10 in name of Terumos Hadeshen; Piskeiy Teshuvos 11 footnote 30; see Admur 250/4 “Even if one has many servants he is to endeavor to personally prepare his Shabbos needs, as it is better for one to personally fulfill a Mitzvah rather than do so through an emissary. This concept is a general rule which applies by all Mitzvos.”

[77] From a written correspondence I had with Rav Chesed Halbershtam