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I saw this happen at minyan this morning and wondered what the correct response is. The shul has a rack of talitot for people who don't bring their own. Somebody took one from the rack, made the b'racha, donned it, sat down, began to daven, and only then noticed that one of the tzitzit was missing (which I understand renders it invalid).

Upon noticing the problem, does the wearer replace the talit immediately? With or without a new b'racha? (Does the original still apply, or was it never valid?) Does the amount of elapsed time matter?

  • I wonder if there is a general principle for cases where you discover afterward that what you made the b'racha on wasn't valid. One could ask the same question about lighting Chanukah candles and learning only later that they won't burn long enough, for example. Or maybe each case is different. I'm asking about talit, but if there's a general principle that applies, I hope someone will explain that in an answer. – Monica Cellio Jun 4 '15 at 14:47
  • Hi Monica. Offhand, I think each case is different. E.g. - I believe that the rules regarding Tefillin are quite strict. E.g. - if after wearing it someone says that the head knot is too short such that no adjustment would make it fit correctly until you replace the strap, I think you have to remove it. I don't believe that there is a general rule. Depends what invalidates it and what activity you're doing. The tallit problem that you mentioned is, sadly, quite common. Last year, my shul formed a committee before Rosh Hashanna to visually inspect about 200 tallitot. We discarded many of them. – DanF Jun 4 '15 at 14:57
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If someone is wearing a four cornered garment without Kosher Tzitzit (and missing one corner invalidates the whole thing (OC 13:1)), they must either tie on Kosher Tzitzit or take it off. (On Shabbat, of course, the former action is impossible.)

If taking it off right there would cause serious embarrassment, the Rama (OC 13:3) allows one to remain with it on, at least until the next opportunity to take it off privately. Later commentaries there discuss the precise scope of this leniency (and how quickly one must seek such a private place), with greater leniency being offered on Shabbat as one can claim an exemption from the obligation of tying Tzitzit to that garment due to Oneis, and less leniency with our modern Talitot Gedolot which are worn over our clothes where there is less embarrassment in taking them off. A lot probably depends on the circumstances and how embarrassed the wearer feels. I note one suggestion, particularly relevant to the case of a Shul's public Talitot, is to renounce any ownership claim to the garment, thereby exempting you from any obligation to attach Tzitzit to it for at least 30 days (OC 14:3).

In terms of the Bracha, essentially the Bracha said on the invalid Talit was Levatala/invalid unfortunately and does not accomplish or exempt anything. So it's a clean slate moving forward.

  • What about if the tallis doesnt belong to you. You mustnt wear it but you dont need a brocho. Their are other heterim of not making a brocho if you are not really putting it on to wear it. – cham Jun 4 '15 at 17:15
  • Why are you mentioning that case? Was anyone talking about stealing a talis? – Double AA Jun 4 '15 at 17:16
  • One can borrow a tallis to use in shul. @double aa – cham Jun 4 '15 at 17:17

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