Halacha for Monday 7 Iyar 5781 April 19 2021

Separating the Tzitzit Strands

Question: My younger son wears a “Tallit Katan” (Tzitzit garment). When I see that the Tzitzit strands become entangled, may I untangle them on Shabbat?

Answer: Before reciting a blessing on a Tallit or a Tallit Katan (Tzitzit garment), one must separate the Tzitzit strands from one another.

Nevertheless, if one sees the Tzitzit strands entangled on Shabbat, Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim zt”l writes in his Sefer Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Bereshit) that one may not untangle the strands and may only inspect them visually to sees that the Tzitzit are not invalid since untangling the Tzitzit is forbidden.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes in his Responsa Yabia Omer (Volume 5, Chapter 3) and in his Sefer Halichot Olam that the source for the ruling of the Ben Ish Hai is Maran Ha’Chida in his Kesher Gudal who writes that if the Tzitzit strands are entangled on Shabbat, they may not be untangled.

On the other hand, Maran zt”l points out that the first source we find for this law is in the Responsa Ginat Veradim (Kuntres Gan Ha’Melech, Chapter 65) writes explicitly that this prohibition only applies when the Tallit or Tzitzit is brand new and immediately after tying the Tzitzit strands, they became tangled in which case untangling them constitutes a forbidden work of putting “the finishing touches” on a job since the Tallit is unusable without first untangling the strands. However, if the Tzitzit strands were tied on the garment long before and the garment was used several times already and only later did the strands become entangled, there is no reason to prohibit gently untangling the strands from one another as this is not considered putting the “finishing touches” on the Tallit at all.

Maran zt”l proceeds to support his opinion with proofs from the great Poskim. Thus, halachically speaking, it is forbidden to untangle the Tzitzit strands of a brand new Tallit on Shabbat if they become tangled. However, a Tallit that has already been used worn and only later, its Tzitzit strands become entangled because of the laundry or any other reason, the strands may be untangled on Shabbat gently.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Donating Tzedakah (Charity) in Order for One’s Son to Recover From an Illness

Question: Is it permissible to donate a sum of money to charity in the merit of which someone should become healed or for any other personal request or is it improper to do this since the Mitzvah is not being performed for the sake of Heaven, rather, for one’s personal purposes? Answer: The......

Read Halacha

Walking a Dog on Shabbat

Question: If one has a pet dog at home, either for leisure or as a seeing-eye dog for a blind individual, may one move it on Shabbat? Similarly, may one walk the dog in the street on Shabbat? Answer: We have explained in the previous Halacha that all animals are considered Muktzeh on Shabbat as M......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Chazzan’s Repetition of the Amida

-------------------------------- Along with the rest of the Jewish nation, we are heartbroken and mourn the loss of those who passed in the horrific Meron tragedy on Lag Ba’Omer. May their souls be bound in the binding of eternal life and may Hashem send consolation to their families and ma......

Read Halacha


Lag Ba’Omer (The 33rd Day of the Omer)

The 33rd day of the Omer is a day of festivity and rejoicing in honor of the saintly Tanna, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. There are indeed sources for this among the Poskim. We are therefore customarily more joyous than usual on this day and we do not recite Tachanun (supplication prayers). This year, 57......

Read Halacha

Moving Animals on Shabbat

Question: May one move domesticated birds that live in a cage on Shabbat in order to move the cage from place to place as necessary? Similarly, may one remove a dead fish from one’s aquarium on Shabbat? Answer: The Gemara (Shabbat 128b) states that it is forbidden to move or carry any anima......

Read Halacha

Tying Tzitzit Strings and Plastic Cable Ties on Shabbat

In the previous Halachot we have discussed some basic laws of tying and untying knots on Shabbat. The general rule is any knot that is either “professional,” i.e. requires some skill to make, or “permanent,” i.e. is meant to last for a prolonged amount of time, is forbidden t......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha