Jan 272011

The mitzvah of tzitzit is considered equivalent to all of the other commandments. Because we are unable to fulfill all of the 613 mitzvahs, when we wear tzitzits, which are meant to remind us of the obligation to keep all of the commandments, it is considered as if we did in fact observe them. However, we must bear this intention specifically in mind.

Therefore, one should be sure to always wear a tallit katan and be sure that both one’s tallit katan and tallit gadol adhere to all of the applicable halachic requirements. Moreover, one should be sure to carry out the precept of “zeh Eli ve’anveihu,” i.e. to wear an attractive tallit in order to beautify the mitzvah. If one is wearing nice clothing, while the tallit is torn or worn, he shames and disgraces himself, both in This World and the World to Come.

Wool Tallit and Wool Tallit Katan

One should make a point of making a tallit – both the tallit gadol and the tallit katan – of ewe wool rather than other fabrics, since a tallit made from other fabrics only require tzitzit because of the Rabbinical decree. This can be compared to someone who has an opportunity to earn 1,000 gold coins and is satisfied with 500.

Boys should also be taught to keep this mitzvah by always wearing a tallit katan under their clothing. This will instill holiness in them, assisting them in learning and keeping the Torah.

The Holy Zohar highly praises he who steps forth from his home in the morning wrapped in tzitzit and crowned with tefillin. Happy is he who can fulfill this.

Adapted from the Pele Yoetz, by Rabbi Eliezer Papo (1785-1826)  of Bulgaria.

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