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I have a poncho that is a four-cornered outer garment with a neck hole. I'm a woman so I've never had to worry about tzitzit. The garment is unisex, not specifically feminine. If a man were to borrow it, would he be required to attach tzitzit? If so, what would happen when he returns it -- would he remove them, would I remove them, or would they remain?

I understand that the practical answer is to not get into that situation. I'm asking what the halacha is.

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Just because you have to ask a she'elah, that doesn't mean "the practical answer is not to get into that situation." The halacha is quite explicit about what to do in certain seemingly obscure situations, because the truth is they're not as obscure as you might think. – Chanoch May 31 '11 at 14:48
@Chanoch, a good point. There was discussion here in the last few days that suggested that if in doubt about a tzitzit requirement you could just round a corner, which sounds easy enough, so I had that in mind. – Monica Cellio May 31 '11 at 23:08
up vote 9 down vote accepted

A man is not required to attach tzitzit to a borrowed garment during the first 30 days that he borrows the garment. (Shulchan Aruch OC 14:3, Kaf HaHayyim 14:14). If he borrows the garment regularly, but not for more than 30 days at a time, then you start counting the 30 days all over again each time he borrows it anew (Rema OC 14:3).

Additionally, if the poncho is made out of synthetic material there is a machloket about whether it needs tzitzit at all, so you'd need ask a she'elah about that if the man borrows the poncho for more than 30 days. (Igrot Moshe OC vol 2 #1 rules that the poncho is exempt, but the Tzitz Eliezer vol 12 #3 rules that the poncho is chayav.)

My source for this discussion: Tzel HeHarim: Tzitzit

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