Why do some people wear their tzitzis strings out for people to see, and others don't?

  • 1
    Near-duplicate: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/144
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 14:22
  • 1
    Yes, near duplicate, but this thread is the better one.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 17:34
  • The accepted answer talks about the talis being out, whereas the other question is clearly about the tzitzis. I'm not sure what this asker meant, but the two questions seem to be distinct.
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 21:04
  • @msh210 I still say dupe. Even if the answerers took it in different directions, the questions are almost exactly the same. Were the answers merged, none would seem out of place. It has been bumped by my edits so let's see what people think.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 21:56
  • @msh210 Case in point judaism.stackexchange.com/a/15372/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 22:08

6 Answers 6


Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 8:11) states that the tallis katan should be worn over one's clothes, "so that he will always see it and remember the mitzvos."

Magen Avraham (subsec. 13) comments that kesavim ([Kabbalistic] writings) say that it should specifically be worn under one's clothes, but he says that nonetheless the actual tzitzis should be left hanging out, "and not like those who tuck them into the corners." He also adds that one may indeed keep them tucked in when walking among non-Jews (who might make fun of him, or worse), but that at least they should be showing when reciting the blessing.

Mishnah Berurah (8:26) goes further, and sharply condemns those who wear their tzitzis tucked into their pants.

It's possible, then, that the common custom of doing so arose for the reason that Magen Avraham mentions - fear of the local non-Jews - and became entrenched. But based on all of the above, it would seem that it's better to wear them sticking out.

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    From anecdotes which I have read on KAYJ's and MMA's websites, the Yekkes never wore them out, this is the opinion that I follow. My grandfather ztz"l always gave my father a hard time when he left his untucked, as, to cite the Magen Avraham, they look ridiculous, especially when they are thin strings. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 22:17
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    The Mahari Bruna (#96) ruled against wearing them out, and he was a 15th cent Yekke. As for the MB, witnesses say that despite 8:26, the Chafetz Chaim (its author) personally did not wear his tzitzis out. And while the author followed Litvish norm over numerous pesaqim in the MB, how does that fit with s"q 26's strong condemnation? Also, 8:25 records both sides of the debate, and even for the MA's position, the MB says it would be okay (but non-ideal) to wear the tzitzis out after the berakhah for the time it takes to walk 4 amos. So I really can't figure out the Mishnah Berurah's position. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 2:52

Wearing Tzitzit in has its source in Sha'ar HaKavvanot 7b(it is also found in the language of the Tur Siman 8). Rav Ovadya Hedayya ZTz"L writes in Yaskil Avdei 5:3 and in 8:2 extended Teshuvot for wearing tzitzit tucked in. The first is al pi halakha and the second is more al pi sod. Rav Ovadiah Yosef Shlita also writes an extended Teshuva to that effect in Yehave Da'at 2:1.

  • I am afraid you are misunderstanding the Arizal. The Arizal was against wearing against wearing the Sisit over the garment, but he himself said on the next page (around 7b/7c) that there is a Miswa to behold the Sisit as it says Uritem Oto (Debarim 15:39). If you read the entire Shaar on the Sisit you will realize that this explanation of Rav Yaakov Moshe Hilel Shelit"a is the correct explanation. (See Geburat HaAri pg. 137, and Wayashob Yam 3:3). Commented Nov 27, 2011 at 16:21
  • He also brings the Hida and disproves Rav Hedaya as well. Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 1:58
  • Also see Olat Tamid 39a. Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 1:30
  • @HachamGabriel Your proof may not be sufficient: Even those who say that one may cover them agree that they must be uncovered, and seen, when you first put them on. I think the Ben Ish Chai on P' Breishis was very clear that both the talis katan and the tzitzis are normally worn uncovered (see what he wrote about going into the bathroom), and that seem to be the custom of many Sefardim.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 0:57

Here's what I heard from Rabbi Herschel Welcher in Queens:

  • Having them out provides for the visual reminder to one's self.

  • On the other hand, there's more Kabbalistic significance to having them tucked in.

  • Both are valid; thus, what a person chooses to do for himself depends on what he thinks will be a better form of serving God, given his current situation in life.

And yes, some people will wrap the strings around their belt and tuck the rest in, to try and satisfy both.

I've also heard that among those who wear theirs out, it became preferable to have out only the strings, not the knots. Back when people made their own knots, it could be embarrassing for those with less coordination to have their less-than-stellar knots showing.

Rabbi Berel Wein mentions that one of his rebbeim in Chicago wore his Tzitzis in; when asked why, he told his students that they should always remember that their rebbe wore his in, and if they were ever in a situation where tzitzis-hanging-out would look wrong, they would thus wear them tucked-in, rather than taking them off altogether.

  • 4
    Rav Ruderman ZT"L told Y"L my father that the Alter of Slobodka used to tuck in his tzitzis except for a little bit that he would leave out, but not hanging all the way out. This is similar to the belt custom you mentioned.
    – Yahu
    Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 17:37

Chaim Burg, in his book "For God's Sake - Perspectives on Chumrot", discusses this issue and states that it was only around the late 40's that the head of the Eidat Charedit in Jerusalem took it upon himself to influence children to wear their tzitzit out. Until then, photographs of many gedolim and Jews do not show the tzitzit worn out. It would seem that the wearing of them out is a relatively late developing chumrah.

"For God's Sake", page 130: "At this point most likely someone will bring up the point that the Mishne Brura says that tzitzit should be worn outside. But Rav Mendel Zaks, son-in-law of the Chafetz Chaim (who wrote the Mishne Brura), said that his father-in-law had expressed remorse and regret for having written that. And that is why the Chafetz Chaim didn't wear his tzitzit on the outside."

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    Ben Kurtzer, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing up this interesting source! I hope you'll look around the site and find other material that suits you, perhaps including our history section.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 0:37
  • any source that R' Mendel Zaks said that? Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 5:46

I am unsure where he says it but just a pointer, I belive that Sefardim do not wear them out because of Kabbalistic reasons and Reb Ovdiah Yosef adds as not "LEHOTZI LAZ AL HARISHONIM".That is not to call into question the Minhag of the earlier Rabbanim to wear them tucked in.(Probably based on the reasons Alex mentioned)

  • This is in Yechave Daat 2:1 Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 1:44
  • I couldn't find that phrase in Yechave Daat 2:1
    – Curiouser
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 6:23

I'm just going to copy my answer for the other thread:

HUGE disagreement among the Poskim. Don't want to get too deep into it, but here is the summary (there are also different Pesakim in different cases- for all the details Yalkut Yosef is recommended):

According to the Shulhan Aruch clearly (Orah Haim 8:11, 24:1) they Lechatehila should be revealed. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechawe Daat 2:1) holds the Tzitziot must be tucked in (see Halacha Berura ch.8, Yalkut Yosef ch. 8 and Or Lesion 2:2:2). Rav Yaakov Hilel writes (Gevurat HaAri pg. 137) that the Tzitziot must be revealed based on the Arizal (Shaar Hakawanot 7c and Olat Tamid 39a). According to the Hafes Haim they must be revealed and he is very harsh about this (Mishna Berura 8:26).

  • Maybe worth mentioning that in the halachos of going into a cemetery, the Rishonim assume that the talis gadol needs to be covered, but the tzitzis of the tallis katan are covered already. Regardless of what many acharonim say should be done, it seems that was an old minhag.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 1:00

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