For centuries, Jews who sought to keep the mitzvah of tzitzit all day wore an untailored tallit katan garment, which is simply a rectangular fabric cut with a hole in the center for the head and a hole on each corner for the tzitzit strings. Made of either cotton or wool, a tallit katan (or “tallis koton”) is often referred to simply as tzitzit, which can generate a bit of confusion.
Wearing a tallit katan is certainly a privilege, but some Jews found it somewhat cumbersome to wear three layers – undershirt, tallit katan and shirt – every day, autumn, winter, spring and summer. Then about 20 years ago the NeaTzit t-shirt tzitzit was invented. The NeaTzit was a cotton garment partially closed along the sides (if it is closed entirely there’s no mitzvah to wear tzitzit on the garment) and was designed to be worn in place of an undershirt. Sometimes called a t-shirt tzitzit or an undershirt tzitzit, the NeaTzit design caught on fast in Israel and around the world.
Undershirt Tzitzit Innovation
NeaTzit has gone out of business, but their t-shirt tzitzit innovation is alive and well, whether it’s sold as PerfTzit or TrimTzit or Cotton Comfort. T-shirt tzitzit and undershirt tzitzit designs vary slightly from one to the next: although the original NeaTzit was made with snaps on the sides, today Mishkan Hatchelet’s undershirt tzitzit is made with a patented sideband and v-neck, while the Talitania/Keter Malchut version uses stitching and has a crew neck.
Another attribute of the undershirt tzitzit is that it stays in place better than the age-old tallit katan design. This is a major advantage for athletes and parents of little tykes who have little chance of keeping three layers tucked in neatly all day.
The undershirt tzitzit proved so popular that in recent years a number of variations were introduced, including Sport Tzitzit for athletes and TzitzShirt, which is essentially a t-shirt with tzitzit, designed to be worn without another shirt on top. The TzitzShirt is made of a comfortable cotton-polyester blend and the more expensive Sport Tzitzit features a high-performance lycra-polyester blend designed to wick moisture and allow a contour fit.
Our top-selling undershirt tzitzit is the Cotton Comfort, which is designed to make wearing tzitzit as comfortable as can be. In summer people opt to wear it in place of an undershirt to eliminate one layer of clothing, and we even have customers who wear them year round because of the contour fit.
We recently introduced a Wool Comfort tzitzit undershirt as well, which offers the same patented design and contour fit, using a lightweight, soft, stretchy wool material.