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Assuming one wears his Tzitzis out , is there a preference to leaving only the strings out but the knots in, or is it better to leave out the knots as well?

I teach in a Yeshiva for Baalei Teshuva and I have noticed that a significant amount of them wear the strings out, but among "FFB"'s-frum from birth, including myself seem to leave the strings out and tuck in the knots.

Are there any sources that would suggest there is a preference?

  • I edited the title. When I saw "worn out" I thought you meant that the tzitzit were faded from being worn too much. – DanF Jun 23 '15 at 17:54
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Here's a theory, not sourced from a tshuva, but quoting a source so....

Originally the וראיתם אתו וזכרתם etc. was assumed to mean that our attention was focused on the techeiles, as seen in Sota 17a (and Menachos 43b and Chulin 89a) which brought us to וזכרתם את כל מצות ה׳ etc, being that techeiles resembles the sea which resembles the Rakia which resembles the Kisei HaKavod.

Rashi on that Passuk, as explained by Sifsei Chachamim, felt compelled to mention the practice of having an amount of knots that add up to 613 as a way to explain how our tzitzis, which lack techeiles, will bring us to remembering the mitzvos.

So apparently Rashi would tell you the knots are included in the וראיתם אותם, so if that's the goal of leaving the strings out while the talis is under ones clothes, the knots would have to be out too.

  • Ha:) my favorite is the big fat taalis gadol strings hanging down to the ankles. Of course one would have to take care that they are not trampled or mivuza. But in any case I'm not convinced that the talis underneath and strings on the outside is the way to go. And of course we don't know if Rashi would have heard of or approved of this taalis kattan invention. So there are alot of variables. But I do think his cheshbon of knots only works if you see the knots. – user6591 Jun 23 '15 at 14:45
  • assuming "seeing" is a thing to begin with ala' rav ovadia – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 23 '15 at 14:55
  • To what do you refer? – user6591 Jun 23 '15 at 14:59
  • Rav Ovadia famously claims that the drasha urisem oso is a made up drasha and that one doesnt need to see the tzitis – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 23 '15 at 15:10
  • Gotcha. And my thought process is coming from the other direction. Assuming there is uri'issem, why is that going on seeing strings without seeing the four cornered garment they are effecting so as to be a mitzvah. – user6591 Jun 23 '15 at 15:31
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I'd heard in yeshiva that back when people did their own knots, you didn't want to shame those whose knots weren't so pretty, so the practice became to tuck in the knots and only expose the strings.

  • What defines pretty knots? Can you source your claim? Edited meant to type knot not string – Shoel U'Meishiv Jun 23 '15 at 10:57
  • @Mefaresh the strings all look the same. Some people tie better KNOTS than others. – Shalom Jun 23 '15 at 11:00
  • @Mefaresh I'm afraid I don't have an official text or rabbi. Just several older guys in yeshiva who told me that's how it was done, and why. – Shalom Jun 23 '15 at 11:00
  • As someone who ties tzitzit and teaches people how, all knots are definitely not equal. – Aaron Jun 23 '15 at 16:51
  • @Aaron, I personally prefer to tie my own tzitziot, despite the fact that my knots don't look very nice. Of course, I do this mainly on tallitot gedolot, where everyone will see them. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jun 23 '15 at 18:01
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I have never heard this given as the reason, but I suppose it is possible:

R' Menashe Klein writes that there is an issue with tucking the garment in and pulling the strings out to hang down, since the garments are often made very long in order to ensure they are the proper size, when they are pulled out it will inevitably end up pulling up the bottom of the garment and folding it over. R' Klein understands this to be a problem in the fulfillment of the mitzvah based upon Shulchan Aruch O.C. 301:29&31 (see the link for how he concludes this).

However, if you just pull out the strings and leave the knots tucked in, then the garment will not be folded up as the length of the knots will allow the garment to hang below.

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