Many times I've seen people throw the front half of their tallis katan over their shoulder so that it doesn't get in their way. Mostly teenagers playing sports or people doing something that might get it dirty. This way, the hole of the tallis katan is still around their neck, but now both halves of the beged are hanging in the back.

Is this considered "wearing" tzitzis? According to whom?

(This is an issue, since nowadays one is obligated to wear tzitzis all the time (Igros Moshe OC 4:4). Other possible nafkei minah: Making a brocha again if one didn't intend to "fix" it, but does. If the beged is put on l'chatchila this way, does one make a brocha. Walking 4 amos without tzitzis.)

  • re your first point: if the minhag is to throw it out of the way when it would be in the way, then even if you aren't fulfilling the mitzva you haven't violated the minhag. So no question from Igros Moshe.
    – Double AA
    Jan 2, 2013 at 22:50
  • Wouldn't the same question apply to someone who wrap their Tallit around their head and throws all four corners over one shoulder?
    – Double AA
    Jan 2, 2013 at 22:52
  • Ahem: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/18483/5
    – Seth J
    Jan 2, 2013 at 23:08
  • Related (comment)? judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18897/…
    – Seth J
    Jan 2, 2013 at 23:09
  • @DoubleAA re the first: I don't think it's really a minhag to throw it out of the way. Its something I've seen happen occasionally. Re the second: but that's the halachicly mandated way to don them, isn't it?
    – HodofHod
    Jan 6, 2013 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


Aruch ha-Shulchan OH 8:10:

[...] The mitzvah of tzitzis is primarily that two tzitzis should be in front of one['s body], and two behind, in order that one be surrounded by mitzvos (Tur). It seems that this is sine qua non (l'ikuva), since it is written, "On the four corners of your covering," and the corners are two in front, two behind. [...]

  • brownie points for anyone who has a good, clean English translation of לעיכובא
    – yitznewton
    Feb 4, 2013 at 20:44
  • 1
    I would probably go with "לעיכובא" = "requisite". (Or as mathematicians like to say, "a necessary condition".)
    – jake
    Feb 5, 2013 at 5:18
  • 1
    Thanks @jake; necessary condition had occurred to me, but there's a connotation of negation to the Hebrew word that I felt was missing.
    – yitznewton
    Feb 5, 2013 at 16:49

From Sefer Haminhagim Chabad (page 2), based on the Alter Rebbe's Siddur:

The [minimal required] width of the tallis katan is one amah (cubit) of the Torah measure, which equals 24 generous-sized thumbwidths [i.e., 48 cm.]. This is also the [minimal required] length

a) from the neck hole to the garment's lower edge at the back, and

b) from the neck hole [or from the fillet that laces it closed] to the garment's lower edge at the front.

These measurements can be reckoned only when the garment is fully spread, and no part of it has been folded or creased: folds and creases cannot be included in the required dimensions. One who is careful to fulfill the precept of tzitzis throughout the day should therefore be constantly vigilant.

  • Is he saying that the shiurim can only be determined from the outset while it is spread, or that while wearing it, it can never momentarily fold over?
    – Double AA
    Feb 3, 2013 at 23:54
  • @DoubleAA Just realized that I didn't paste the link to the Alter Rebbe's siddur properly. Seems to me he is saying the latter.
    – Michoel
    Feb 3, 2013 at 23:58
  • Thanks. Do you know where is the "Milu'im Siman Gimmel" mentioned in the footnote there about this opinion?
    – Double AA
    Feb 4, 2013 at 0:08
  • @DoubleAA It's in the back of the book. Seems the HebrewBooks.org copy is missing allot of the end.
    – Michoel
    Feb 4, 2013 at 0:12
  • 2
    @yitznewton "One who is careful to fulfill the precept of tzitzis throughout the day should therefore be constantly vigilant." In fact, many in Chabad wear a "bendle", a little string around the tzitzis, for exactly this purpose: to keep it spread out.
    – HodofHod
    Feb 4, 2013 at 16:37

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