Ask the rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Tzitzit

Brandon

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Rabbi David Sperling

Tammuz 14, 5782
Question
I committed to wearing a tallit katan more often. The problem is that it is not so comfortable. Ive tried mesh and cotton. The tallit katan is constantly bunching up, making me too hot, etc. Do you have any advice? What is the proper way to wear a tallit katan? How should it fit?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Firstly, let me congratulate you on your commitment to the great Mitzvah of wearing tzitzit more often. It’s a wonderful mitzvah – just imagine a mitzvah that you fulfill every second you are wearing them! A mitzvah mentioned in the Shema! A mitzvah equal to all other mitzvot! Incredible. So, all the more strength to you. Like all other changes we make in life, things take a little while to get used to them (every new pair of shoes will attest to this). So, my first advice is to give yourself some time. Next, make sure that you have a good size for yourself. There is some argument about the size of the garment, but the smallest measure would be only 36cm wide, and the larger opinions hold 48cm (or 58cm according to some). So, you might want to check if a smaller size is more comfortable for you. Then, as you mention, is the material. Some opinions believe that it is ideal to wear woolen tzitzit. But (especially for Ashkanazim) it is perfectly acceptable to wear cotton – (there is more of an argument about mesh tzitzit, as there is about synthetic materials in general). So, you could try out different materials and see which is more comfortable. Many people wear their tzitzit on top of an undershirt, however there is no obligation to do so. So, if it feels more comfortable without an undershirt (or with) then you could try that. In fact, there is a brand of tzitzit that looks itself like an undershirt (a singlet) and is made of cotton. Rather than having totally open sides, it is sewn together just under then arm hole. So, while the majority of the side is open, it wears more like a regular undershirt, and doesn’t bunch up. I hope all this is useful – Blessings.
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