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I'm curious about the different minhagim Sefaradi/Mizrahi communities have around tying tzitzit 10/5/6/5 (Yod-Kei-Vav-Kei) vs. 7/8/11/13. From what I already understand, 10/5/6/5 was the "original" Sefaradi method, and is still universally followed by S&P and Moroccan communities, and the 7/8/11/13 method was a Kabbalistic innovation brought to the Sefaradi world by the Arizal.

I know that 7/8/11/13 is used by Ashkenazim -- was that the original Ashkenazi method followed by the Ari due to his own Ashki heritage, or was this the Ari's own original teaching on this inyan that was more widely accepted among Ashkenazim than among Sefaradim?

I've read that most Sefaradim today tie one version on the tallit katan, and the other on the tallit gadol, but I've heard different conflicting reports claiming to speak for all Sefaradim about which style corresponds to which beged. What do you/does your community follow? If there's anything I missed or got wrong, please let me know. I'm really curious about the origin of 7/8/11/13 tying, and how it was brought to the Sefaradi world.

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    Don't forget the Mechaber 7,9,11,13
    – sam
    Jun 26, 2023 at 2:14
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Adin and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Jun 26, 2023 at 3:12

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Background: Without running through all the sources, I recommend researching Tur-Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 11:14, as the basic assumptions you're making aren't accurate. Shulchan Aruch, for example basically says to do the 39 also (except he says 40). This didn't start with the Ari; it started with Rashi (and the Rambam, in absence of Tekhelet). The Kabbalastic innovation was the Havaya (10-5...) method.

Bottom line nowadays, do whatever you want. Yalkut Yosef brings both tying customs. The distinction between Tallit Gadol and Kattan is brought in Magen Avot (ad loc.) by Rav Mordechai Lebhar citing Nehar Mitzrayim, Shemesh uMagen 3:32:2, and R' Yehoshua Maman. Ultimately, you fulfill the mitzvah regardless, and all these tying methods are just additional, post Talmudic, layers of remazim given the absence of Tekhelet.

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