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Number of Strings of Tzitzit

By Avrekh Rakhem Haokip

The number of tzitzit strings on every corner is 4 doubled, which is 8. If one adds to it, it is pasul.

The Mishna Berura explains the Shulchan aruch by saying that we learn the Halacha from the torah which says, "You shall make for yourselves 'Gdillim'", The Gemara in Menachot 39b explains by saying, A Gdil is 2 in number, Gdilim(which is the plural of gdil) will be 4. Meaning, had the Torah written, "You shall make for yourselves Gdil" we would have been obligated to do only 2 strings,but since it is written, Gdillim we are obligated to have 4 strings tied to each corner. After inserting the strings into the hole, the strings are folded into halves in order to get 8 strings on each corner of the tallit, 4 on each side. And thus, if someone adds to the strings, we fall into a halachic discussion as brought in the mishna berura ss follows,

● The shulchan aruch says its pasul as written above because of the biblical prohibition of not adding to the commandments. This is the opinion of The Rambam, the smak, the Rashba and the nimukei yosef as brought in the Beit Yosef.

● On the other hand, The Gaon of Vilna agrees with the Baal haItur as in the beit yosef saying that one can add as much as one wishes to.

The only problem is when one adds strings of a different specie, but if it is of the same specie, there is no point of fear.

● The Orchot Chaim brings more rishonim and then takes a middle line saying, If there is no way to change the fact i.e. to remove the strings and to retie it, than one can have it that way, however, as soon as he have the ability to change, he should do it fast.

Everyone agrees if it is less than 4, it is pasul.

The Halacha Berura rules like the shulchan aruch regarding both matters.

The Kaf HaChaim brings an interesting case where the number of the strings turned out to be 3 on one side of the hole and 5 on the other. He writes in the name of the Maharash that it is Kosher. Thus writes the elya rabba,machziq bracha zachor leAvraham.

Shabbat Shalom.

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