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According to a common custom among Ashkenazim, a man only starts wearing a tallis while davening after he gets married. Does a divorced man continue to wear a tallis when davening? Or could/should he stop wearing the tallis, so as not to give the impression that he is still married?

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This begs a broader question: When "common custom" has no basis in Halacha, (or - as in this cases - goes against documented halacha) how does one go about deciding its "special cases"? – Danny Schoemann Oct 16 '13 at 6:30
@DannySchoemann How does this custom "go against documented halacha"? – Shokhet May 28 '14 at 18:43
@Shokhet - for a start you could look at the first Halacha in Hil. Tefilin in Shulchan Aruch. (From memory:) "After putting on the Tallit, one puts on Tefillin." (After all the simanim about Hil. Talit that discuss everybody wearing a Tallit during Shachrit.) – Danny Schoemann May 29 '14 at 10:27
I heard the if their marriage was annulled (ie there was significant cheating in the details of the agreement) then he can stop, and probably if it will help him get married he can stop (since he can even dye his hair), but he might need to annul his vow of he did it 3 times and did not have in mind not to make a vow) – hazoriz Feb 9 at 0:25
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Excellent question. Greetings and welcome to J.SE!

German and Sephardic Jewish men begin wearing a Tallis many years before marriage; the question if anything is why those of Eastern European ancestry wait until marriage.

I'm told that once a man gets married and starts wearing a Tallis, the practice (I wouldn't say "must", but certainly "normative practice") is to continue doing so (hey every fringed four-cornered garment you wear is a mitzva), even if he's no longer married.

Yes this gets confusing; it means that someone wearing a Tallis in shul may not be married -- he could be previously-married, or for that matter he could be Sephardic or "Yekkish" (of German ancestry). But if he's not wearing a Tallis, he's definitely single. (Or he just forgot his Tallis that day, I guess.) Sorry to confuse all you would-be-matchmakers!

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For the record, I'm fairly certain that the Yemenites wear a tallit gadol from a very young age (even before Bar Mitzwah). – Lee Oct 15 '13 at 13:05
@lee indeed teimonim have boys wear them at around 3. Boys begin learning how to lein the torah at this age n are even called up to lein on some occasions if need be. – MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Oct 15 '13 at 13:09
"I'm told" by whom? – msh210 Oct 15 '13 at 18:11
+1 to @msh210. Told by whom? And also, among whom? Eastern European is full of sub-divisions. – Seth J Oct 16 '13 at 1:19
By the way, you can usually tell by the way a person wears his tallis: the accepted custom in most askenazic shuls is that the Yekkes/German-Jews who haven't yet been married will wear a hat while davening while those who have been married will wear their tallis over their head. – Naftuli Tzvi Kay Oct 6 '14 at 19:55

technically one isn't obligated to have tzitzis at all unless one is wearing a 4 cornered garment. today we go out of our way to have a four cornered garment to not miss out on the opportunity of a positive mitzvah. this being the case though once one starts taking on this as a regular action they may not stop doing so.

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Thank you dude. – JJLL May 29 '14 at 22:20

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