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Pretty much across the board, beged gadol and katan have fabric squares sewn on the corners.


Why do tzitzit have fabric-squares on the corners of the garment?

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There may be one exception: I read that the shamlei tallith once found among the Temanish Yidden did not have corner patches. BTW, does anyone know why some talleisim have davka wool corners? The "Beit Yosef" tallis (which is marketed for Sephardim) even features a wool atara. Does anyone know the makor for this? – Ben of Ben's Tallit Shop Sep 20 '11 at 14:56
@Ben, The best thing to do with a spin-off question is to ask a new question. – Isaac Moses Sep 20 '11 at 15:03
up vote 10 down vote accepted

One must attach the tzitzis to a piece of cloth that is at least three by three agudlin (three agudlin being between 2 2/3 and 3 inches). The custom is to sew an appropriately sized piece of cloth on the corners because in many garments, even new, there are pieces of cloth sewn together that are not the correct size. Therefore, we put the correctly sized piece of cloth at the place where we attach the tzitzis. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:16)

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My understanding is it's just reinforcing. Even so, over time you'll see the strings keep pulling towards the edge.

If an edge is broken, you can't just mend it: you have to take off the strings, restore the garment to its four-cornered nature, then reattach the strings.

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Just to add an interesting detail: it turns out that this was at one time a controversial practice. Mordechai forbids it, because then the tzitzis aren't actually "on the garment" but "on something else that is on the garment," but the consensus is that it's okay (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 11:15 and commentaries there). – Alex Aug 12 '11 at 17:39

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