Wearing during Davening

This article is an excerpt from our Sefer


Buy now on Amazon.com

Davening-Must one wear Tzitzis during Davening? [1]

Even one who is unable to wear Tzitzis the entire day is at the very least to be careful to wear Tzitzis during Shema and Shemoneh Esrei.[2] [This applies to Shemoneh Esrei of both Shacharis and Mincha.[3]] Whoever does not wear [a four cornered garment with] Tzitzis[4] while reciting the Shema prayer is testifying falsely of himself.[5] Therefore, directly and immediately after washing hands, when his hands are clean and he is able to say a blessing, he should wear a pair of Tzitzis.[6]

May one say Shema prior to sunrise even if he is not wearing Tzitzis?[7] It is proper to recite Shema prior to sunrise even if he has not yet worn his Tzitzis or Tefillin.[8]

A Chazan-Tallis Gadol:[9] Whoever serves as a Chazan, even to merely say Selichos and supplications, is required to wear a Tallis Gadol due to respect for the congregation. Some Poskim[10] say that even one who says Kaddish Yasom must wear a Tallis Gadol. [Practically, the age old Chabad custom of many generations is for the Chazan not to wear a Tallis Gadol by Maariv, or Mincha.[11] Likewise, by Shacharis, if the Chazan is a Bochur, he does not wear a Tallis Gadol, [however a Bochur is to wear a Tallis Gadol by Selichos[12]].[13] Nonetheless, when being a Chazan by a non-Chabad Minyan which is accustomed for the Chazan to wear a Tallis Gadol, one is to follow their custom if not doing so can cause dispute and strife. Nevertheless, one is not to cover his head with the Tallis, and rather is to have it drape over his shoulders.[14] However by the Davening of Friday night, a Chazan is to avoid wearing a Tallis Gadol under all circumstances, as according to some Poskim[15] doing so involves danger.[16]]



One is to be careful to wear a pair of Tzitzis while reciting Shema and Shemoneh Esrei. One who recites Shema without Tzitzis is testifying falsely of himself.



May one recite Shema in middle of the day if he is not wearing Tzitzis?

This matter requires further analysis.


May one say Shema or Daven without Tzitzis if the time of Shema will pass, or the time of Davening will pass?[17]



If one does not have Tzitzis at the time of the Minyan but will have afterwards, is he to delay his Davening?[18]

This matter requires further analysis.


Must one place Tzitzis onto Jews during Mivtzaim if they will be reading the Shema with Tefillin?

One is not obligated to do so, although if possible it is proper to do so.[19]


When before Davening is one to wear the Tallis Gadol?[20]

Various customs exist regarding when before Davening the Tallis Gadol is to be worn. Some[21] wear it prior to Birchas Hashachar. Others[22] wear it after Birchas Hashachar, prior to Karbanos. The Chabad custom is to wear it prior to Eizehu Mekoman.[23]


When may one remove the Tallis Gadol after Shemoneh Esrei?[24]

One is to wear the Tallis Gadol until after Aleinu Leshabeiach.


Wearing a Tallis Gadol for Shacharis:

The custom is to wear a Tallis Gadol for the morning prayer of Shacharis. The Ashkenazi custom is to begin wearing a Tallis Gadol only after getting married.[25] This is likewise the Chabad custom.[26] However the Sefaradi custom is to wear a Tallis Gadol even prior to marriage, beginning from the age of Chinuch [i.e. 6 years old].[27]


[1] 8/1; 24/2; M”A 24/3

[2] 24/2; Michaber 24/1 [writes Tefila]; Levush 24 writes both Shema and Tefila, as writes Admur ibid; See Perisha 24 that if one must wear by Tefila then certainly he must wear it during Shema when the main testimony is taking place.

The reason to wear by Tefila: In 66/11 Admur writes that between Geula and Tefila one may not put on a Tallis even without a blessing being it is considered an interval, as the Tallis does not have such a need for the Tefila, in contrast to Tefillin. The reason why Tefillin is allowed to be placed even between Geula and Tefila is because Tefillin is “an obligation to wear during Davening” in order to accept the complete yoke of heaven. However Tzitzis is not an obligation of the body to wear unless one is wearing a Tallis that is obligated in Tzitzis. [ibid] From here however we do learn that it has a slight need, seemingly due to that it also represents the idea of Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. [See Tanya 41 in name of Zohar 3/120; However see 25/5; 66/3 and 11 that only Tefillin has “Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim” and not Tzitzis.]

[3] Chesed Lealafim 24/1; Kaf Hachaim 24/7; This refers to the Tallis Katan, however the Tallis Gadol is not worn for Mincha, although the Arizal was accustomed to wear a Tallis Gadol also by Mincha. [Kaf Hachaim 18/12] This custom is recorded also in the Shlah

[4] This means to say that one must wear a four cornered garment with Tzitzis while saying Shema, and not that one who is wearing a four cornered garment without Tzitzis is testifying falsely while one who does not wear a four cornered garment at all is not testifying falsely. So is proven from the continuation of Admur ibid that says“Therefore one is to wear a pair of Tzitzis immediately after washing”. Furthermore, it would not make sense for Admur to be referring here to a Rasha that is wearing a four cornered garment without Tzitzis. Such a person would be transgressing a Biblical command at every moment and not just be testifying falsely by Shema. [Rav S.D. Levin in Kovetz Oholei Torah 772/60; 773/50; 774/61; 775/86]

Other opinions: Some learn that it is only considered a false testimony if one wears the four cornered garment without Tzitzis. If however he does not wear a four cornered garment then he is not testifying falsely. [Gloss on Admur 8/1, printed in old Shulchan Aruch, unclear who wrote this gloss, omitted in the new Shulchan Aruch; Alfasi Zuta Brachos 2; Beir Yaakov 24/3; See Aruch Hashulchan 8/1]

[5] 8/1; M”A 24/3 based on Zohar; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 24/6

The reason: As in the third paragraph of Kerias Shema the command of wearing Tzitzis is mentioned. [Machatzis Hashekel 24/3] Now, although one is not obligated to wear a four cornered garment with Tzitzis, as the Mitzvah is only to place Tzitzis if one is wearing a four cornered garment [24/1], nevertheless perhaps since one is supposed to wear a four cornered garment with Tzitzis, even though he is not commanded to do so, as explained above, therefore if he reads the Shema without doing so it appears like he is giving false testimony. Vetzaruch Iyun! Alternatively, since the Tzitzis testify that one is a servant of Hashem [Tosafus Menachos 43b] therefore one who reads Shema, which represents Kabalas Ol Malchus Shamayim, without Tzitzis is testifying falsely about being a servant of Hashem. Accordingly, one may not read even the first verse of Shema without Tzitzis, and not merely the Parsha of Vayomer.

Ruling of Admur in 66/3: In 66/3 Admur writes that some Poskim [Rabbeinu Yonah Brachos 15a; Rosh Brachos 2/10] rule that one may not wear Tzitzis with a blessing during the blessings of Shema being that one may say Shema without Tzitzis and is not considered to be stating false testimony, being that he is not obligated to wear a four cornered garment at all. [So also rules Aruch Hashulchan 8/1] This seemingly contradicts the ruling of Admur ibid which states one must do so due to it being false testimony! Perhaps one can answer that the ruling of Admur here in 8/1 is in truth going in accordance to the first opinion [Shivlei Haleket 15] in 66/3 which states that one may wear Tzitzis with a blessing in Bein Haperakim, hence implying that they hold it is a false testimony to read the Shema without Tzitzis. Now, the reason why in 8/1 Admur does not mention a dispute in this matter is because according to Admur certainly one is to Lechatchila wear Tzitzis before Shema, and it is only in the case of Bedieved in 66/3, where the question of an interval is raised, that Admur bring the dissenting opinions. [Rav S.D. Levin in Kovetz Oholei Torah 772/60; 773/50; 774/61; 775/86]

The day Shema versus the night Shema: Tzaruch Iyun if the above false testimony applies even by the night Shema, according to those opinions that learn a day garment is obligated in Tzitzis at night.

[6] 8/1; Tur 8/1; Levush 8/1; M”A 8/1

The reason: As every person is required to be careful and hasten himself to precede the fulfillment of the Mitzvah as much as possible. [ibid] Alternatively the reason is in order so one does not walk four Amos without Tzitzis. [P”M 8 A”A 1; Chayeh Adam 11/1] The reason it is worn after Netilas Yadayim is so he can say the blessing upon wearing it. [Kaf Hachaim 8/1] Alternatively, the reason is because it is forbidden to touch clothing prior to washing hands. [P”M 8 A”A 1; Kaf Hachaim ibid; See Admur Kama 1/7; Basra 1/7; Siddur; Seder Hayom; Peri Eitz Chaim; Beir Heiytiv 4/1; Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 6; Olas Tamid p. 17a; Tzvaas Rebbe Eliezer Hagadol; Sheivet Mussar 16]

[7] 58/4; Levush 58/2

[8] The reason one may say the Shema without Tzitzis: Perhaps this is because one will in any event wear the Tzitzis while saying Shema later on in the day. [Rebbe in Toras Menachem 28th Sivan 1952 regarding Tefillin, and the same would apply to Tzitzis] Alternatively, perhaps it is only Lechatchila required for one to wear the Tzitzis during Shema, and thus in a time of need, such as to fulfill one’s obligation of Shema prior to sunrise [according to those opinions that require one to do so], it is permitted to say Shema without Tzitzis.

[9] 18/4; M”A 18/2; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 53/15 regarding the different customs in wearing  Tallis for Davening

[10] Lechem Chamudos Tzitzis 3

[11] Igros Kodesh 5/91; 9/214; 11/110; 13/227; 16/12 and 97-99; 19/249 [published in Shulchan Menachem p. 199 and 363]

[12] Igros Kodesh 16/97

[13] Igros Kodesh 9/214

[14] Igros Kodesh 5/91; 16/12 and 99

[15] See Shaareiy Teshuvah 18; Shem Mishimon 1-2; Chikreiy Minhagim 2/15; Ashel Avraham Openhaim 18 in name of Beis David

[16] Igros Kodesh 5/91

[17] Admur 58/4; Siddur Admur “One who fears the time of Shema/Tefila will pass until he finds Tefillin, is to read Shema and Daven without Tefillin” and the same applies for a Tallis; See Mor Uketzia 25; Beir Moshe 5/5

[18] See Admur 58/4; Mor Uketzia 25; Beir Moshe 5/5; Halichos Shlomo 3/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 2/24

[19] Seemingly in this time of need one may rely on those Poskim that rule that the false testimony only applies when one wears a four cornered garment that does not have Tzitzis. However initially, it would be best for the person to put on Tzitzis. Practically, the widespread custom amongst all Chabad Chassidim is to put on Tefillin with the person and have him say Shema, and we are not particular for him to wear a pair of Tzitzis. Vetzaruch Iyun why we are not accustomed to bring a pair of Tzitzis to Mivtzaim and give the Jew the opportunity to fulfill a second Mitzvah  as well, and avoid the question of false testimony according to all.

[20] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 24 footnote 136

[21] Siddur Yavaetz and majority of Siddurim

[22] Kaf Hachaim 25/26 in name of Arizal and Rashash, and so is the order in Siddur Admur

[23] So is the Chabad custom today, as recorded in Hayom Yom 19th Menachem Av regarding Tefillin, and the same applies regarding the Tallis, as written in the Hosafos of Siddur Im Dach p. 718; See Siddur Rav Raskin p. 68

[24] Torah Leshma 148 in name of Shaar Hakavanos

[25] Drashos Maharil Nessuin; Rosh Ki Seitzei; Rokeiach 353; Tashbatz 462; M”A 8/3; Beir Heiytiv 17/4; M”B 8/4; 17/10; Mor Uketzia 8; Likkutei Maharich; Eretz Tzevi 2/3; See Kaf Hachaim 8/12

The reason: As the Torah proximates the verse of “Gedilim Taaseh Lecha” and “Ki Yikach Ish Isha”, thus implying that until marriage one does not wear Gedilim. [Drashos Maharil ibid] Some understood this statement to refer to even a Tallis Katan and thus questioned the custom. [Kneses Hagedola brought in Beir Heiytiv ibid] However, in truth its reference is only to the Tallis Gadol.

[26] Tzemach Tzedek Even Haezer 307/3; Sefer Haminhagim p. 3; Igros Kodesh 12/445, however see there that one must act in accordance to his community [and hence if in one’s community the Tallis Gadol is worn even before marriage then seemingly one is to do so.]

[27] Yechaveh Daas 4/2; See Kaf Hachaim 8/12


Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.