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Nowadays a beged (i.e. garment) with tzitzis has 4 strings on each corner that are then tied in such a way so it comes out as 8 strings altogether hanging down. It is then connected to the beged with 5 knots and a number of times wrapped around between each knot (with various minhagim (i.e. customs) on how to tie the tzitzis exactly.)

This is what we do now, however M'Doraisa (i.e. Biblically) what does a beged with tzitzis look like? How many strings would satisfy the requirement M'Doraisa? Would one string (tied in a single knot -- kesher elyon d'oraisa (the top kesher in min hatorah) and hanging down as 2 fulfill it? Do we need 4 (doubled to 8) strings M'Doraisa?

  • I would assume that all 4 strings are required M'Deoraisa, by the fact that the Tzitzis become Pasul if even 1 string is missing, while there are many other elements that could be missing and the Tzitzis would still be Kosher B'Dieved (like the knots 2-5 you mentioned, one end (half a string) being ripped). – Salmononius2 Jun 29 '15 at 16:17
  • @Salmononius2 Why would you assume that? Can't it be Pasul Miderabanan and still be Pasul? – Double AA Jun 29 '15 at 16:18
  • @Salmononius2 That's true however perhaps only according to Shulchan Aruch which might be only m'drabbanan. It's exactly the question though, do we say all 4 strings are d'oraisa? – Yehoshua Jun 29 '15 at 16:18
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    @IsaacKotlicky, maybe the OP just isn't familiar with the relevant Gemara? Turn it into an answer! – Yishai Jun 29 '15 at 17:30
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    @IsaacKotlicky It doesn't seem that way to me. – Double AA Jun 29 '15 at 17:40
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MiD'oreisa you need four strings. In Menachos the gemara learns this out the posuk (Devarim 22:12). The Mishnah Berurah explains this in O.C. 11, 11, 58.

To have kosher tzitzis you have to tie the first double knot, do at least three wrappings and then tie a second double knot. The Mishnah Berurah (ibid. 66) explains that if you do this you meet the minimum requirement min HaTorah and can rely on this in a bind (no pun intended) if it's getting really close to Shabbos.

  • Many that wear techeles and tie like the Rambam only have one knot at the top and nothing at the bottom. Why is this? – Yehoshua Nov 16 '15 at 12:40
  • Shammai says that you only need three strings, rather than the four called for by Hillel. – Noach MiFrankfurt Nov 16 '15 at 13:37
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    Yeshoshua - MiD'oreisa you need to have a knot and windings. There's a safek whether the critical knot is at the top or the bottom. Most hold that it's the top knot. According to some opinions Rambam knots may not have a din of the required knot, so those who do not have a mesora from the Rambam might be choshesh and add a double knot, or even one at the top and another at the bottom, to play it safe. Another answer is that it's simply more pragmatic to make a double knot before you start tying the chulyoth. I'm pretty sure most Temanim tie a double knot before the chulyoth. – Ben of Ben's Tallit Shop Nov 24 '15 at 10:32

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