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There is an issue to remove kosher tzitzis from a tallis (described in Menachos 41a-b, OC 15:1).

Let's say someone chooses to wear techeiles and wants to exchange the strings only on their tallis gadol.

Is he allowed to do so? Are there authorities who allow this?

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  • Here in the third last question seemingly they allow, I am just unsure why: tzitzit.tallit-shop.com/faq-tzitzit
    – Binyomin
    Apr 26, 2023 at 11:37
  • I have it in MB 15:3, but seems pretty clear that it's permitted. Apr 26, 2023 at 13:11
  • I am not so sure about it. I would be much happier to have any posek who speaks this out mefurash. See Piskei Teshuva there who brings many achronim who are much more machmir about this.
    – Binyomin
    Apr 26, 2023 at 14:49
  • THe person in question is changing to techeiles presumably because he thinks that the mitzvah is properly performed with techeiles. Therefore for him the white tzitzis are not strictly "kosher tzitzis" whose removal might be forbidden. Apr 26, 2023 at 17:05
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    @YochananLerner I think the first mishna in Menachos 4 says התכלת אינה מעכב את הלבן – so it would be very hard to call it pasul. sefaria.org/Mishnah_Menachot.4.1?lang=bi On the other hand, it's a mitzvah clearly spoken out in the Torah, and if I'm not mistaken Rav Schachter says that if you believe it can be the right techeles, you are obligated to wear it.
    – Binyomin
    Apr 26, 2023 at 21:36

1 Answer 1

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We are allowed to remove kosher tzitzis and not add them to another tallit, which I think is implied by your question, in order to make the tallit more beautiful (Baer Hetev sk.2, bringing the Levush). Shaarei Teshuva sk.2 says that this might be for example because the tzitzis are worn out or not as strong fabric as they could be. Mishnah Berurah sk.3 explains that this is because you are then enhancing the mitzvah of tzitzis, and that the prohibition is instead because of dishonoring the tallit; and also cites the Taz (sk.2) who says the same thing.

Those who add techelet to their tzitzis are doing so because they want to fully obey the mitzvah in the most appropriate way, even though we are allowed to fulfill it without techelet. So, they are trying to honour the tallit and tzitzis as much as possible, and therefore make it beautiful as techelet is beautiful. So, granting that we have the real techelet, it is permissible to remove kosher tzitzis to add ones with techelet.

EDIT:

Despite all this, the Piskei Teshuvos advises us to be makpid about avoiding removing tzitzis even if we want to add more beautiful ones. See Mor U'Ktziah of the Ya'avetz on Tur OC 15:

שאסור להתיר ציציות שלא להניחן בבגד אע"פ שלא יבטל הבגד ממצות ציצית, כגון שיעשה בו אחרים, ואפילו טובים מאלה

And the Shulchan Hatahor 15:1 of the Komarno rebbe:

אבל להניחם עד שיזדמן לו בגד אסור,‏ אפילו שהם ישנים ובלוים,‏ כל עוד שהם כשרים

Basically, unless the tzitzis are inappropriate/not kosher for the mitzvah, we should avoid adding more beautiful ones. Depending on whether we are makpid like this or more lenient like the plain reading of the sources further above, the question then resolves around how supporters of techelet view tzitzis without techelet.

Either we are lenient and then it is allowed at least to beautify the tzitzis. Or we are makpid, and then your situation is only allowed if you think tzitzis without techelet are actually inappropriate/not kosher for the mitzvah.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer! I think in essence this is a more detailed elaboration of what @AvrohomYitzchok suggested above and I also entertained a similar idea. But what I wrote to him (and also I included in the last sentence of my question) is that I am looking for some halachic authority who addresses this issue specifically.
    – Binyomin
    Apr 26, 2023 at 22:25
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    I'll try to search further, but this is one example of a heter for removing tzitzis which I think best applies to your situation and I'm not sure I'll find anything else.
    – Meir Luria
    Apr 26, 2023 at 23:10
  • I think the heter allows them to be beautified even when not flawed (would have to look into the exact wording of the Taz). Anyway it's a good point that you could just dye them as is or just put them on another tallis if you want to be machmir.
    – Meir Luria
    Apr 27, 2023 at 6:18
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    @YochananLerner Definitely you could dye (provided that you have dye at home, which is quite rare) or put on another (provided that you have talleisim without tzitzis around, which is also not very typical). If you want to be machmir, the option is to buy a brand new tallis gadol with techeles strings. That I know. The question is: is this necessary or a correct thing to do, or it is just unneccessary waste of the money?
    – Binyomin
    Apr 27, 2023 at 11:05

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