Qitzur Shulhhan Arukh - Yalqut Yosef (Orahh Hayim 8:26) states that one should wear one's tallit such that two corners are in front and two in back.

Nevertheless, I have encountered no small number of Teimani Jews (and Reform men/women or simply Jews of other persuasions) wearing a tallit with all four corners in front (e.g. Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3).

Does any Orthodox poseq consider this type of wearing (with all four corners/tzitziyot in front) eligible for fulfilling one's requirement (of placing tzitziyot on the four-cornered garment one wears)?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36130/2091 – Lee Jun 20 '14 at 15:11
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    I can see, possibly 2 practical reasons why you'd want to have all the tzitziot in front: 1) makes it easier to kiss all 4 tzitziot and 2) To fulfill the mitzvah of "U're'item oto" - You shall see it / them" Unless you have eyes in the back of your head, (I know many parents that do :-) you can't see the tzitziot behind your back. – DanF Jun 20 '14 at 15:53
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    the way people wear their 6aleetoth now a days is a modern innovation. if you look at these 2 postcards i.imgur.com/LMB2IcV.jpg i.imgur.com/Fqu1qk8.jpg you can see that even french/german jews wore their 6aleetoth just like teimonim. imgur.com/a/SY00m whole set for those interested. – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Jun 22 '14 at 7:34
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    They each have Bavarian stamps on the back from 1911 celebrating the 90th birthday of Prince Regent Luitpold.The postcards were issued by Joseph Spiro in Berlin and reproduce engravings by Bernard Picart which were originally published as a part of a nine-volume folio entitled "Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde" (Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World) by Jean Frederic Bernard between the years of 1723 and 1743. – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Jun 22 '14 at 7:35
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    @lee the meedrash on seifar tahilim: "All my limbs shall say 'Who is like You, O Lord?'” (35:10)- With my neck, I fulfill the precept of wrapping oneself in fringes [tzitzit]. – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Jun 25 '14 at 22:02

The Rambam does not mention how to wear a Tallith; and refers to wearing it as עטוף - but I cannot find where he defines that concept. Those communities - like the Teimanim - may be relying on the Rambam without subsequent Poskim/Meforshim.

The Tur and Bet Yosef define עטוף as covering your head, face and body - which is why we wrap our heads in the Tallit before wearing it.

Most other Poskim seem to go like the Shulchan Aruch, as I elaborated here that require one to have 2 in front and 2 behind.

A quick look in the Bet Yosef shows that the source for putting 2 in front and 2 behind is the עיטור as well as the רוקח who brings a Medrash on the Pasuk in אז ישיר that states והמים להם חומה the water behind them was warned not to harm them as they would be wearing 2 ציצית behind them as well as the knot of their תפילין.

The Bet Yosef also bring the הגהות מיימון at the end of the Rambam's Hil. Tzitzit who quotes a Yerushalmi that a child is not obligated to be taught about ציצית unless he can keep 2 in front and 2 behind.

We do not seem to have this Yerushalmi - and maybe the Rambam did not, either.

  • FYI, I already included QS"'A Y"Y in the question. So I'm aware of what S"A says. – Lee Jun 22 '14 at 14:51
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    Also, I apologize if this is insulting, but I don't see how this answers my question. I'm looking for a source, if one exists, to support the Teimani (and others') custom. – Lee Jun 22 '14 at 19:36
  • -1 I have no idea why that is relevant. The quote is referring to clothes which וא״א להלבישן בענין אחר whereas this question is referring to clothes which can be worn with corners on all sides, as evidenced by popular custom. – Double AA Jun 23 '14 at 3:10
  • @DoubleAA - not sure why you say so, as they stress you have to put 2 behind - so it could be worn otherwise. But see how I reworded the answer to answer the question somewhat. – Danny Schoemann Jun 23 '14 at 8:23
  • @Lee - point taken. I have reworded the answer to apply to your question and somewhat answer it. – Danny Schoemann Jun 23 '14 at 8:24

This image from Breuer's shows the old German minhag, effectively, all of the tzitzit are in front.

Chazzan Frankel during chanukat habayit KAJ WH

  • While this is photographic evidence of the minhag, I'm ideally looking for written evidence from an Orthodox poseq. – Lee Aug 6 '14 at 13:53
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    @Lee, Sorry, all I know is it's minhag from the Rishonim. – Noach MiFrankfurt Aug 6 '14 at 15:01

I am not familiar with the temani mesorah, however, as far as the reform practice which originated in Germany...

1) the talesim which are the same size as scarfs aren't big enough to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzis. this is the same reason one may wear a scarf and not be required to have tzitzis on them (size requirements for the begged can be found in the kitzur shulchan aruch)

2) furthermore, the early reform movements intention for having the talis be a scarf like object was to imitate that practice of ministers who wore a scarf with their church clothing. The overall goal of the reform movement was to integrate Jews into non-Jewish society and they chose to do so even in the realm of religion by borrowing practices from churches. I grew up with a reform synagogue and besides this there was also an organ, a choir, and church like stained glass.

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    This doesn't answer the question, as far as I can tell. – Double AA Jun 20 '14 at 20:14
  • Ah ... I couldn't view the pics in the original question, but now that you mentioned the "scarf" and its size you are correct that all 4 tzitziot are in front! Two on each side. And that's besides the small fake "vermicelli" tztziot that they add to make it "fancy". – DanF Jun 20 '14 at 20:16
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    it answers the question just fine sir. read more carefully. the source of the reform movement being to copy the practices of another religion make the tradition not a valid source. secondly, the size of many of these "talesim" are not big enough to have tzitzis on them which means they can't be used to fulfill the mitzvah and can't have a brachah said on them. – Dude Jun 20 '14 at 20:16
  • Are you claiming that the priests wore tzitzis all four in front? – Double AA Jun 20 '14 at 21:39
  • Apologies if it wasn't stated clearly enough (and feel free to edit the question), but I'd like to know if any traditional source considers this type of wearing eligible for fulfilling one's requirement. – Lee Jun 21 '14 at 18:29

The Mishna Berurah, sorry I don't have one in front of me to check the mareh makom, says placing a talis like a scarf i.e. wrapped from behind the neck to have both ends lay in front of one's body, is not called wearing, it's not an atifa and its not a livisha, it is called hala'ah, carrying on your shoulders. One who does place it upon himself in this way is not yotzeh his mitzvah and will be chayav for carrying on Shabbos. If this was your question. It was not clear though. If in fact you are asking whether after wearing it properly, can you pull the strings hanging in the back around your waist to the front, this seems to be almost unanimously accepted.

  • My question is if any Orthodox poseq permits wearing a tallit gadol in such a manner. Therefore, I don't think your answer answers the question. – Lee Jun 22 '14 at 11:15
  • @user6591 "almost unanimously accepted" is not a good reason to assume it's correct, unfortunately. – Danny Schoemann Jun 22 '14 at 13:50
  • Actually the fact that people do wear it in such a manner is exactly what makes it muttar to wear like that on shabbos, see shulchan aruch siman 301 siff 31. Also starting from siff 29 untill the aforementioned siff it would seem everyone and by this i mean the shulxhan aruch and ramma and all the achronim would agree that pulling the rear strings to the front is fine. (I didn't mean pok chazi etc;)) Even tying the ztitzis together in a temporary manner is not enough to be mivatel the mitzvah as we see in orach chayim siman 23 siff 2. – user6591 Jun 23 '14 at 15:52
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    My understanding is that there is a big difference between wearing a tallis bunched up on your neck (or an 18" wide tallis), and wearing it wrapped around the arms like Yemenites and Yekkes. I think just sitting on the neck and hanging in front is clearly not ituf, whereas you could certainly make a good case for a tallis that wraps around your shoulders and arms and then comes in front. In fact, in some ways it's easier to understand this form of ituf than the more common one with two tzitzis in back. – Ben of Ben's Tallit Shop Nov 12 '15 at 9:02

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