Being Ashkenazi the general accepted minhag is not wear a Tallit before marriage. I asked a Posek who told me that the reason why Ashkenazim don't do it is because in the Ashkenazic countries they were poor so they would only do it after marriage to not take on more expenses at Bar Mitzvah. I asked "and what about now". He told me that if we can return to the original minhag (of wearing) it is better, so I followed suit and begun wearing a Tallit.

Question is: Given this opportunity to do a Mitzvah of wearing a Tallit from age 13, why is a d'orayta mitzva ignored due to a Minhag?

Tags: Law, Minhag, Tallis, Tallit, Torah

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I have not researched this deeply, so all this is off the cuff, and so perhaps others can reply in a better manner. But,

1) You answered your own question when you said the posek you asked said it would be better to do it. That is, it is a cultural thing, and minhag such as this will often remain in the status quo.

2) We are not really *ignoring* the Biblical command, for after all, we put on, and make a bracha on, a tallis katan. The tallis gadol is typically only put on for (certain) davening.

3) Even as we indeed are fulfilling the Biblical commandment, in terms of the tallis gadol, it is a shev veAl taaseh against this minhag.

4) While this *might* have been the historic reason for it, there might be *other* reasons for the minhag. It is something to investigate. For example, this was asked to the Maharil in a teshuva (though later it is said not to be a teshuva but from Sefer Maharil -- bli neder, I'll try to look it up) and he purportedly approves of the minhag. To cite another thread elsewhere on the Internet about this very topic:

"First, in actuality, the custom of bochurim not wearing a Tallis Gadol is recorded as a Shaila TO the Maharil from an individual who says that in a certain community, Talleisim were not worn until marriage. The Maharil does not say not to wear a Tallis, just simply that the Shaila quotes this custom (Sefer Maharil, Minhaghim -- Hilchos Nisuin, Siman Yod). The B'Nai Yissaschar says that Al Pi Kabbalah, an unmarried individual should not wear a Tallis since wrapping oneself in a Tallis is equated with "Or HaMakif" which connotes Simcha and since an unmarried individual is not on a Madrega of Simcha -- See Yevamos 62b, a Tallis is not worn. (Heard from R' Yissachar Frand).

The custom stuck in Ashkenazic communities not to wear a Tallis, but Sephardim and Yekkes do wear a Tallis.

As the Poskim write in many places, Minhaghim should not be tampered with."
I *suspect* that the kabbalistic reason developed after the actual reason, as happens other times in halacha. But one that reason is in place, I could see people using it as justification for not abandoning their present minhag.

5) I'll just toss this last one out there for the fun of it. Now that we have techeilet available, according to Rav Schachter, there may well be a violation of Bal Tigra in wearing a tallis (katan or gadol) without it.
See here where I explain:
http://parsha.blogspot.com/2008/06/is-wearing-tzitzis-without-teche...
As such, there would all of a sudden be a Biblical violation in wearing the tallis. In which case, pushing it off until later, say, marriage, in favor of the minhag may actually be a good thing.

Kol Tuv,
Josh
Here, btw, is perhaps a better write-up, from Virtual Bet Midrash:
http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/mb/10mb.htm

In obedience to a widespread minhag, many Ashkenazim do not wear a tallit until they are married. This custom is mentioned already in the Maharil (Hilkhot Nisu'in), in the Tashbetz Katan (462), and elsewhere. "And thus are those of the kingdom of Ashkenaz accustomed to act, and they have Scriptural support from 'Make for yourself fringes on the four corners' (Devarim 22:12) which is adjacent to 'If a man take a wife' (Devarim 22:13)."



However, there are many who are puzzled by this minhag. "It is a very perplexing thing - that until one takes a wife he should refrain from fulfilling the mitzva of tzitzit?" (Shiyarei Knesset Ha-gadol 17:2, cited in Ba'er Heiteiv 17:4). In response, some gave practical reasons for this custom (e.g., early marriage, lack of money).



One could bring a support for this minhag from Kiddushin 29b: "He saw of him that he did not spread a cloth..." To be sure, the gemara may be explained in a number of other ways. See the Ba'er Heiteiv 17:4 - how did the Magen Avraham understand this gemara? How else may it be explained?



In any case, even those who do adhere to this minhag do so only with regards to tallit, not with regards to tallit katan (Elia Rabba 17:3, and others), which deflects the criticism that one who does so is neglecting the mitzva of tzitzit.



There are those who would like to uproot this minhag (Yechaveh Da'at vol. IV, 2), while on the other hand there are many who vote to perpetuate it, under the banner, "The minhag of Israel is Torah" (Bnei Yissakhar, Tishrei, 13, 12; Leket Ha-kemach Ha-chadash 17:19; Ketzot Ha-shulchan, 7:7).
Thank you very much, I also enjoyed the link to the blog regarding techelet. I have techelet on my tallit gadol (and I'm working on the rest, they don't come cheap :))



Rabbi Joshua Waxman said:
Here, btw, is perhaps a better write-up, from Virtual Bet Midrash:
http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/mb/10mb.htm

In obedience to a widespread minhag, many Ashkenazim do not wear a tallit until they are married. This custom is mentioned already in the Maharil (Hilkhot Nisu'in), in the Tashbetz Katan (462), and elsewhere. "And thus are those of the kingdom of Ashkenaz accustomed to act, and they have Scriptural support from 'Make for yourself fringes on the four corners' (Devarim 22:12) which is adjacent to 'If a man take a wife' (Devarim 22:13)."



However, there are many who are puzzled by this minhag. "It is a very perplexing thing - that until one takes a wife he should refrain from fulfilling the mitzva of tzitzit?" (Shiyarei Knesset Ha-gadol 17:2, cited in Ba'er Heiteiv 17:4). In response, some gave practical reasons for this custom (e.g., early marriage, lack of money).



One could bring a support for this minhag from Kiddushin 29b: "He saw of him that he did not spread a cloth..." To be sure, the gemara may be explained in a number of other ways. See the Ba'er Heiteiv 17:4 - how did the Magen Avraham understand this gemara? How else may it be explained?



In any case, even those who do adhere to this minhag do so only with regards to tallit, not with regards to tallit katan (Elia Rabba 17:3, and others), which deflects the criticism that one who does so is neglecting the mitzva of tzitzit.



There are those who would like to uproot this minhag (Yechaveh Da'at vol. IV, 2), while on the other hand there are many who vote to perpetuate it, under the banner, "The minhag of Israel is Torah" (Bnei Yissakhar, Tishrei, 13, 12; Leket Ha-kemach Ha-chadash 17:19; Ketzot Ha-shulchan, 7:7).
Thanks.

Here, by the way, is the aforementioned Maharil. It can be found here, at the bottom of the page:
http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8918&pgnum=129

KT,
Josh
Thank you for your help, always appreciated!

Rabbi Joshua Waxman said:
Thanks.

Here, by the way, is the aforementioned Maharil. It can be found here, at the bottom of the page:
http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=8918&pgnum=129

KT,
Josh
Minhag ashkenaz originally WAS to wear a tallis.The German Jews start when a little boy starts chinuch,long before bar mitzvah. Go to a German kehillo,and you will see the little boys and all males wearing talleisim. They also have the original minhag of using a talis under the chuppa to cover both the chosson and kallo.This was the original chuppa.
The tallis was draped over 4 poles held up by the men and the chosson and kallo stood under that. From that minhag,it became a minhag to only start wearing a tallis after marriage.
thanks! It just seems like a weird minhag to pickup as it detracts away from mitzvot performance.

Rephoel said:
Minhag ashkenaz originally WAS to wear a tallis.The German Jews start when a little boy starts chinuch,long before bar mitzvah. Go to a German kehillo,and you will see the little boys and all males wearing talleisim. They also have the original minhag of using a talis under the chuppa to cover both the chosson and kallo.This was the original chuppa.
The tallis was draped over 4 poles held up by the men and the chosson and kallo stood under that. From that minhag,it became a minhag to only start wearing a tallis after marriage.
If someone never wears any 4-cornered garment, how is he neglecting (violating?) a Torah mitzvah that if you wear a 4-cornered garment it must have tzitzis on it?

Perhaps the only thing he cannot do is gather all 4 tzitzis into his hands while reciting Shema? And lacks the benefit of seeing the tzitzis and being reminded of all the mitzvos?
Are you also on Livejournal - I have seen a very similiar user icon.

Neglect and a violation are completely different.

Violation is where you do an action that is forbidden
Neglect is where you ignore a mitzvah opportunity

I am not saying that one is not fulfilling your obligation of tzitzit with the tallit katan but rather you are neglecting the ability to fulfill the mitzvah again by not wearing the tallit gadol


Chaim said:
If someone never wears any 4-cornered garment, how is he neglecting (violating?) a Torah mitzvah that if you wear a 4-cornered garment it must have tzitzis on it?

Perhaps the only thing he cannot do is gather all 4 tzitzis into his hands while reciting Shema? And lacks the benefit of seeing the tzitzis and being reminded of all the mitzvos?
Min haTorah one would not have to ever wear tzitzis,as long as he never wears a 4-cornered garment. However,the rabbonon require that we wear 4 cornered garment every day and put on tzitzis. On Shabbos,one must be sure that it is a begged that covers the major part of the body and the tzitzis must be kosher,otherwise there would be a problem of carrying,hotzo'a and muktza.
Yes, Min Hatorah one is only obligated when wearing a 4 cornered garment but that is not the issue at hand.

The issue I am challenging is why do Ashkenazim ignore wearing a tallit gadol before marriage when there is a mitzvah to wear tzitzit (a clear minhag pushing away a mitzvah opportunity). As I mentioned in my previous reply, neglect is not doing a mitzvah opportunity which is not the same as doing an aveirah for violation of a negative precept.

Rabbi Joshua - I am not arguing with your reply, in fact I am happy with it, I am simply clarifying the issue for the other discussion members.

Ron



Rephoel said:
Min haTorah one would not have to ever wear tzitzis,as long as he never wears a 4-cornered garment. However,the rabbonon require that we wear 4 cornered garment every day and put on tzitzis. On Shabbos,one must be sure that it is a begged that covers the major part of the body and the tzitzis must be kosher,otherwise there would be a problem of carrying,hotzo'a and muktza.

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