Tzitzit

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Source of Requirement

  1. There is a positive Torah commandment to place Tzitzit strands on a four cornered garment that one wears. [1]
  2. There is, however, no obligation to wear such a garment in the first place.[2] Nevertheless, our Rabbis have strongly promoted the observance of this relatively simple Mitzvah since it comes with great reward.[3]


Person Requirements

  1. The obligation applies to all Jewish men age 13 and up.[4]
  2. A blind man is equally obligated, and he should recite a bracha.[5] It would be best for him to first feel and check the validity of his Tzitzit or ask someone else to confirm it for him.[6]
  3. Women are exempt, as Tzitzit is a positive time bound mitzvah.[7]



Sources

  1. Bamidbar 15:38; Devarim 22:12
  2. Rambam Hilchot Tzizit 3:11; Tur 24:1; Shulchan Aruch 24:1
  3. Rambam Hilchot Tzizit 3:11; Tur 24:1; Shulchan Aruch 24:1; Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igres Moshe 4:4; Rav Ovadya Yoseh in Yechaveh Daat 4:2
  4. Mishna Berura 17:10
  5. Shulchan Aruch 17:1
  6. Mishna Berura 17:1
  7. Rabbi Shimon in Gemara Menachot 43a; Shulchan Aruch 17:2. The Rema (ad loc.) comments even though women are exempt, if they want, they may rely upon the opinion of Tosofot on Kiddushin 31a who would allow a woman to wear and make a bracha on Tzitzit. The Rema continues, however, that women still should not do so, since it would appear as arrogant and further that Tzitzit is not a personal obligation anyway. The Mishna Berura (17:5) elaborates that although women may rely on Tosofot for Lulav and Sukkah, Tzitzit are different since even men aren’t required from the Torah except if they wear a four cornered garment. We treat Tzitzit both as and as not a personal obligation towards leniency. Hence, it is a personal obligation in the sense that only if one wears the garment does he need to attach Tzitzit and not just when he owns a garment. And, it is not a personal obligation that one would need to go out and buy a four cornered garment just to perform the mitzvah. Therefore, since men don’t really have to, women certainly shouldn’t do so. Lastly, there is a possible concern of violating Beged Ish as Targum Yonatan Ben Uziel raises on Devarim 22:5. The Levush (17:2) and Ben Ish Chai (Lech Lecha 3) use similar logic.