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The Shuchan Aruch rules (OC 10:1):

טלית שאין לה ד' כנפות פטורה יש לה יותר מד' חייבת ועושה לה ארבע ציציות בארבע כנפיה המרוחקות זו מזו יותר:‏
Clothing that doesn't have four corners is exempt [from Tzitzit]. If it has more than four it is obligated and he makes four fringes on the four corners which are furthest from each other.

And (ibid. :5):

היו לה ג' כנפות ועשה בהם ג' ציציות ושוב עשה לה כנף ד' ועשה גם בו ציצית פסולה משום תעשה ולא מן העשוי:‏
If it had three corners and he made three fringes, and then he made a fourth corner and made a fringe for it too, it is invalid because [one must make the fringes validly not have them become valid by an external action].

My question: Does the same problem apply to a five-cornered garment whose fringeless fifth corner was removed after making the other four fringes, if the fringes were not originally placed on the corners furthest from each other?

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1 Answer 1

Rav Chaim Kanievsky quotes the Mishnah Berurah:

טלית שיש לה יותר מד' כנפות כגון בת ה' ... חייבת בציצית ... וי"א דהוא מדאורייתא ויש להמחמיר אם אפשר אבל אם כבר נעשה בכנף הקרוב ואי אפשר לתקן ... יכול לסמוך על המקילין ולברך.

So some say that the requirement to keep them furthest apart is a Torah matter, so it is preferable, however if it isn't possible, the lenient opinion can be relied on, even to say a blessing.

Applying that here, it seems the garment's tzitzis in your case would be Kosher according to the main opinion (since even if the fifth corner remained he relies on it to say a blessing) as removing the fifth corner isn't going to suddenly make it worse.

In and of itself, that answers the main question (the issue with the furthest corner according to the controlling Halachic opinion is that this is not an issue which invalidates the Tzitzis, so if it was Kosher with a (non-fringed) fifth corner there kal-vechomer without the fifth corner there), and this opinion can be relied on to say a Bracha if other options are not available.

However the question remains according to those that say the Tzitzis were posul, so that fourth corner was never obligated in Tzitzis. It seems to me that it is the logical equivalent of putting it on the side and then cutting the garment down to make that a corner. Such a case is like putting the Tzitzis further in than three thumbs from the proper corner and then cutting a hole to move the Tzitizis to move them closer. If you do that, it is considered מין העשוי. To quote the Shulchan Aruch Harav:

ואם עשה הנקב למעלה מג' גודלין ואחר שהטיל הציצית בנקב חתך בנקב כדי שיתלו הציצית למטה מג' גודלין פסול משום שנאמר גדילים תעשה וגו' ולא מן העשוי כבר בפיסול

If he made a hole higher than 3 Thumb-widths and after he tied the Tzitzis in the hole he cuts the hole in order that the Tzitzis hang below three thumbs it is invalid ...

The description of the problem of מין העשוי from more at length in Shulchan Aruch HaRav:

שמתחלה כשהטיל הג' ציצית בבגד היתה עשייתן בפסול שעדיין לא היתה הטלית מחוייבת בציצית כלל שהרי לא היה בה עדיין ד' כנפות ואע"פ שאח"כ עשה בה גם הכנף הד' מכל מקום אין הג' ציצית הראשונים חוזרים להיות כשרים על ידי כך כיון שלא עשה בהם עצמן שום מעשה חדש להכשירן והתורה אמרה גדילים תעשה ולא מן העשוי כבר בפסול

Originally, when he placed the three Tzitzis on the garment, they were made invalidly for the clothing was not yet obligated in Tzitzit at all for it still didn't have four corners, and even though afterwards he made a fourth corner, nevertheless the three Tzitzis don't return to being valid through this since he didn't do a any new action to validate them, and the Torah says "You shall make fringes" and not from what was already made invalidly (emp. added).

Based on this the problem of מין העשוי applies when you make a Tzitzis in a place where either the whole garment does not (yet) require them or on a garment that does require them, but not the place that requires it, and do no further action on the strings to make them Kosher. According to the opinion that the Tzitzis are invalid on the non-furthest corner, that one was not made in a place that required Tzitzis (according to that opinion), so it is מין העשוי when you remove the 5th corner.

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That's not even a good diyuk in the ShAhR! He says "since the tallit was not obligated at all" whereas here it is obligated! –  Double AA Mar 14 at 17:15
    
@DoubleAA, Sorry, I can't agree. Putting it in a non corner (say off the side) and cutting that into a corner seems indistinguishable to me. –  Yishai Mar 14 at 17:16
    
Your ShAhR doesn't even discuss "on the side". How do you know the fifth corner is just a "side" and not a corner? –  Double AA Mar 14 at 17:17
    
IAE if my question is essentially is this case unique, then telling me "it seems to you that it isn't" isn't that helpful. Nothing else you wrote is pertinent –  Double AA Mar 14 at 17:44
    
@DoubleAA, see my edits. But I don't understand why you would think that this case is unique. If you have a specific reason to distinguish, then that could be mentioned in the question. –  Yishai Mar 18 at 15:20

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