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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 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 at 10:27

2 Answers 2

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
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"I'm told" by whom? –  msh210 Oct 15 '13 at 18:11
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+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 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 at 22:20

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