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The Kohen Gadol wore 8 garments, and regular Kohanim wore 4. Why wasn't tzizis one of their required garments? Also, did they have to fulfill the mitzvah of tzizis before or after their daily service, or were they exempt while they were serving?

Kohen Gadol: - Choshen (Breastplate) - Ephod (Apron) - Ketonet (Tunic) - Meil (Robe) - Mitznefe (turban) - Avent (Sash) - Michnasayim (Pants) - Tzitz (Forehead Plate)

Regular Kohanim: - Ketonet (Tunic) - Michnasayim (Pants) - Migba'at (Turban) - Avent (Sash)

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zaq, are you asking specifically about the obligation for tzitzit while they do the daily service? (Please tell me if my answer addresses your question at all or misses the mark so I know whether to delete it. Thanks.) –  Monica Cellio Oct 29 '13 at 18:45
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I was asking specifically about during their service, since the clothing they must wear is specified and does not include tzizis. However I wouldn't delete your answer, it definitely adds important information to the topic. –  zaq Oct 31 '13 at 15:48
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2 Answers

The commentaries on the Rambam discuss it, with regards to the Me'il (which appears to have had four corners). If there were fringes attached, it's missing from any documentation we have about them!

Minchas Mordechai al haTorah discusses this question and several proposed answers, but the strongest one appears to be that when the Torah says "put fringes on the your four-cornered garments", that applies only to personally-owned garments. The Kohen Gadol's garments were considered Temple property and not personally-owned.

At any point the Kohen was wearing non-personally-owned garments, he wasn't expected to have fringes on them. When his shift was over and changed out of them into his personal clothes (which in ancient times, usually had four corners), those would have had tzitzis.

We don't want to be people who "avoid" a mitzva, and thus today we wear four-cornered garments so we can put fringes on them. However, if someone found themselves in a situation where for legitimate reasons they couldn't wear a personally-owned four-cornered garment today, it's not that they failed their obligation "though shalt wear a fringed four-cornered garment"; it's that they didn't get a chance to connect to G-d via "if you wear a four-cornered garment, put fringes on it." So if the kohen gadol had a particularly busy day in the Temple and couldn't wear personally-owned clothes at any time from dawn till dusk, I doubt he'd be taken to task for it.

(Nor could a kohen on-duty wear a personally-owned tzitzis garment in addition to his standard uniform. While serving in the Temple, they have to wear the listed clothes, no more no less.)

A similar question comes up with regards to Tefilin. Rambam explains that there was room below the turban to wear Tefilin shel rosh; however there was no way to wear the shal yad -- both the tefilin and the ketonet's sleeve must be worn directly on the skin of the arm -- they're not mutually compatible! When a kohen was off his shift he could wear the shel yad.

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Note my answer to the linked question above. –  Double AA Oct 29 '13 at 16:26
    
Can you include where in the Rambam this is discussed? –  Double AA Oct 29 '13 at 16:30
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Actually, according to Menachot 43a, the kohanim were obligated in tzitzit. The g'mara says (quoting from the Soncino English translation):

Our Rabbis taught: All must observe the law of zizith, priests, Levites, and Israelites, proselytes, women and slaves. R. Simeon declares women exempt [...]

The Master said, ‘All must observe the law of zizith, priests, Levites, and Israelites’. Is not this obvious? For if priests and Levites and Israelites were exempt, then who would observe it? — It was stated particularly on account of priests. For I might have argued, since it is written, Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together, and [it is followed by,] Thou shalt make thee twisted cords, that only those who are forbidden to wear mingled stuff must observe the law of zizith, and as priests are permitted to wear mingled stuff they need not observe [the law of zizith]; we are therefore taught [that they, too, are bound], for although while performing the service [in the Temple] they may wear [mingled stuff] they certainly may not wear it when not performing the service.

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excellent point; the Gemara is saying that a kohen has the same obligation in his personal life. How that applies to his "duty clothing" is actually more complicated. See my answer. –  Shalom Oct 29 '13 at 14:50
    
I don't see how this answers the question really. As @Shalom points out, this is about their obligation to wear tzitzis on a quadrangular garment any old time; the question (if I understand it correctly) is about their obligation to wear an extra garment (talis katan or talis gadol) with tzitzis while serving in the bes hamikdash.. –  msh210 Oct 29 '13 at 18:39
    
@msh210 oh, I guess I got tripped up by the title (which seemed to be saying that they don't at all). Maybe I misunderstood the question? –  Monica Cellio Oct 29 '13 at 18:43
    
...or maybe I did. –  msh210 Oct 29 '13 at 18:49
    
I've asked OP for input. –  Monica Cellio Oct 29 '13 at 18:50
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