I want to sew a Talit for my Bar Mitzvah son. Please help me with the rules/Mitzvah. I need to understand the do's and don'ts of making a talit. I heard you can't have shaatnaz in the talit, but many of them are made of wool with different fabric at the coteret.

  • As it happens one can have shaatnas in tsitsis. When the tallis is made of linen. But today since no 'tcheiles' we dont.
    – cham
    May 1 '15 at 9:49
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    Good for you, @mom! This is a beautiful idea!
    – Lee
    May 4 '15 at 6:23

The essential parts of a Kosher Tallith:

  • It has exactly 4 corners; classically square angles.
    • A Tallith need not be square; it's usually rectangular, so as to reach from the head to the thigh, and to be wrappable around the body comfortably.
  • Each corner has a hole to put the 4 Tzitzit through. This hole is typically reinforced so it doesn't tear from the weight of the Tzitzit.
    • Typically the corners are reinforced with more fabric, about 2" x 2".
  • This hole must be no more than three fingers-lengths away from the edge of the Tallith and no closer to the edge than the distance from the top knuckle of one’s thumb to the end of the finger.
    • Measure straight from the edge of the Tallith; not at an angle.
    • A hole too far from the edge or too close to the edge invalidates the Tallith.
      • This cannot be repaired once unless the Tzitzit are untied and the retied after the repair.

All this and more can be found in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch סימן ט - הלכות ציצית - and translated here.

A Tallith also typically has an Atarah - a crown - some pretty piece of fabric which is worn as the top of the Tallith.

The important part of the Tallith are the Tzitzit; these have to be manufactured by people who have learnt the relevant Halachot to ensure they are kosher. They also have to be tied and knotted properly, as explained in the source I provided.

  • Doesn't the beged (cloth) have to cover a certain area of the wearer's body in order to merit tzitzit?
    – Lee
    May 4 '15 at 7:17
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    @Lee - I thought I covered that with "so as to reach from the head to the thigh, and to be wrappable around the body comfortably". BTW: The Aruch HaShulchan 15:4 says that only a Tallith Gadol needs a shiur. A Tallith Kattan does not. May 4 '15 at 10:50

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