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Sunday, May 29, 2005

ציצית - wool or cotton?

The daf yomi just learned a sugya that discussed what the Torah calls a בגד in various areas of halacha, tumas negaim, tumas sheratzim, and ציצית. It comes out according to some of the opinions in Tannaim that only צמר ופשתים are considered a בגד for ציצית.

There is a machlokes how to pasken. The Rambam and in his footsteps the שו"ע paskens that only wool is חייב in ציצית min hatorah, and the Rama paskens that all types of materials are חייב in ציצית min hatorah. The mishna berura suggests that a person should be machmir and wear wool.

The Gra and the Chazon Ish both didn't wear wool because they held that we pasken like the Rama and they wanted to emphasize that. We see from here the tremendous differnce in approach in psak between them and the Mishna Berura (as Dr. Chaim Soloveitchik pointed out in his article Rupture and Reconstruction). The Mishna Berura sees 2 opinions by ציצית so he says you should try to be יוצא both. The Chazon Ish and the Gra on the other hand held that we pasken like the Rama and therefore we should do like the Rama.

In today's world the Mishna Berura's method is the prevalent one, and that is one of the reasons why we have so many chumras today.


At 11:44 PM, Anonymous daat y said...

good point,

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the gra wasn't into the mimetic approach, just certainty. ditto for CI.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger bluke said...

The Gra and most of the Lithuanian poskim approached things independently. They worked through the sugyas, the rishonim and acharonim and came to a conclusion. They did not count up opinions in the acharonim. The Mishna Berura's approach on the other hand as Dr. Grach explains is to count up the shitos and try to be yotze all of them, as he writes while the Mishna Berura is the first sefer in halacha to seriously consider the Gra his method is antithetical to the Gra.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, all true.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Kin said...

Though, if I understand correctly, their shiur for a beged was slightly larger. See the famous picture of the Steipler building his Sukah wearing cotton talis koton that reaches his knees.
That said, as Rav Rakefet points out on a regular basis, the MB isn't a sefer psak, it's a study in tzidkus.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger bluke said...

The gemara there comments that teh shiur of 3 fingers by 3 fingers is only be wool and linen. The shiur of 3 tefachim is already by all things.

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not so familiar with the article by Dr. GRACH (except for popular descriptions of it) but does he not talk about the fact that the Shoah destroyed mimeticism? The MB was from before WWII. Maybe the trends he Dr. GRACH described applied back then too?

This is an awesome blog by the way. Thanks.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Litvshe said...

I think, that Dr. Grach's point can be applied to pre-WWII Europe as well. With the massive inroads of the haskala in the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th centuries, the erosion of standard Jewish life had taken on a new immediacy. When you had the children of even great talmidei chachamim and melamdim going off the derech because of the draw of the Haskalah, you had the start of a big problem.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Isn't it odd that the GRA didn't hold like the RAMBAM on this issue, and follows the RAMA instead?

At 5:30 AM, Anonymous Laundry Bags said...

Lingerie Bag

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Rabbi said...

A cotton Beged requires cotton strings. Otherwise a Brocho can not be made.
Unfortunately, today's Tzitzis strings are wool.
Although according to some, a Brocho can be made on them if the trings are of wool, the Mogen Avrohom and Gra'z hold otherwise - Le'Halacha.
Hence, Le'Mayse, even if one were to Pasken solely like the Ramo, one should be careful to either buy a wollen Beged with wollen strings, or if you prefer a cotton beged (to stress the opinion of the Ramo), make sure to tight it with cotton strings!
...and tell the shops to too!

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Rabbi said...

Specifically because we hold cotton is De'oiraisso, if the strings are wollen (and not cotton), you are running the risk of being Me'Chuyav in Tzitzis Min HaTorah, and not fulfilling it.
It would be better not to wear a Talis Kotton at all! (One who is not wearing a four-cornered garment needs not wear Tzitzis). But then you run into trouble at times of ריתחא, see מנחות מא, א.


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