Friday, February 29, 2008

Exposed Tzitzis & the Arizal

(courtesy of

A Simple Jew has a really good article on Tzitzis of the Tallit Katan, and whether you should wear them in or out. Please read it, maybe before you read mine.

Just last shabbos I learned the Lekuti Sichos by the last Lubavitcher Rebbe on the questions of whether the Tzitzis of the Talit Katan should be worn exposed or concealed.

I started wearing tzitzis with the strings exposed in Israel, an easy thing to do. A taxi driver once asked me, do you wear those out in America? I told him yes which when I look back was a lie but i justified it in my mind that i "planned" to wear them out.

Easier said than done in Galus. I didn't wear them out for awhile then after a couple months i decided to try it. I wore them out at work, at school, anywhere except once i tucked them in when i went to see a play which i don't think i plan to do again, and I'm referring to seeing a play. Then i realized something which at first confused me. My Rabbi doesn't wear his tzitzis out. I asked him about it and he told me he wears them inside because, his Rebbe wears them inside. His Rebbe does it because his father did it, so we can only assume that his father's Rebbe did it, who was the last Radomsker Rebbe, one of the greatest Polish Rabbi's in history.

So there must be a very good reason behind this. the Lekuti Sichos enlightened me as to why, even if the end result was the Lubavitcher Rebbe not supporting the idea of concealed tzitzis and me very much so supporting the idea.

This is what i took from my Rabbi's response.
When the Torah and Gemara refer to tzitzis being exposed so you should see them everyday, its refering to the Tallit Gadol. We wear the Tallit Katan not as a requirement but as an extra layer of protection. Just as this protection is hidden, so too should the garment that protects be hidden.

It took me a while to feel comfortable wearing them inside because I was so accustomed to having them hanging out and always getting stuck in the door of my truck. I get married iy"H in 37 days and when I wear my Tallit Gadol I don't think it will be as weird for me. Like when i tuck them in after Shema on Shabbos and this kid is staring at me so confused.


Dovid said...

Look again in the sicha one of the early footnotes, the Rebbe clearly says he is NOT supporting the practice of any of the customs over the others. For the halachic implications he reffers the reader to Harav Ovadia.
He is merely explaining the deeper spiritual workings of each custom. Simply because he explains one opinion last does not mean that he supports that over others.

Long Beach Chasid said...

I will have to look again at the sicha. The final conclusion with my chevrusa was this is the opinion that the Rebbe and his chassidim follow. Would that make it the "right" opinion in their eyes? Why would you follow something that you thought was a wrong opinion?

dovid said...

In Torah, we know that ze vezeh divrei elokim chayim; when both opinions are torah opinions, you cannot say one is right or wrong. In this case, the Beis Yosef says everything should be out. The Ari Zal says everything in. The Rebbe would never say, or even imply that Chas Veshalom either of these are wrong. The sicha explains the deep reason behind why the Beis Yosef says out and the deep reason behind why the Ari Zal says in.
However, bepoel you can't simulatenously follow both opinons, therefore, everyone follows their tradition. In your case, I think you said you follow the practice of your Rav, and that is best.
Hashem is Noseh Hofchim: He can combine opposite seemingly contradictory opinions, like Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai, however for us we can only do one at a time (I read that in the times of Moshiach we will indeed follow Beis Shamai).
Perhaps by you tucking in and me tucking out that is percisely how we as a nation can simultaneously follow both opinons.
This is a great topic for discussion in understanding Torah thought, great post!