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Would it be permitted to attach tzitziyot using a cow hitch (a way of attaching a rope or lead without use of a knot - pictured below), in order to be able to remove them before washing a garment so that they do not become untied or unraveled?

Is it permissble to attach them this way according halakhic tradition? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/66/T%C3%AAte_d%27alouette.jpg/226px-T%C3%AAte_d%27alouette.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_hitch

NOTE: In the picture above, the bar represents the corner of the garment, while the rope represents the loop at the top of the tzitziyot.

Thanks.

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    Welcome back to Mi Yodeya! Please edit in more information about what a cow hitch is. – Isaac Moses Jul 7 '15 at 16:53
  • I see the concern. This is an interesting device, although, from the pic, it looks huge! At any rate, AFAIK, the requirement of having loose tzitzit applies only when you are wearing it. While I don't thin you can intentionally destroy the existing knots (why would you want to?) I don't think there is any problem doing anything else you want with the strings including making an extra temporary knot, if that helps. In this case, it seems that your intention is "meritorious" as you are trying to preserve their shape. Offhand, I don't think there's a problem. Have to find supporting source. – DanF Jul 7 '15 at 17:16
  • To clarify further, where the bar is in the picture, you would put the corner of the garment, with the top of the bar corresponding to the inside of the hole in the garment. Is that right? If so, @DanF, this mechanism is in place of the standard method of tying to the garment, which involves putting all of the strings through the hole and then tying them together with a square not. – Isaac Moses Jul 7 '15 at 17:58
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    This would either be passul as not being a kesher only an aniva, or if you would consider it a kesher, it would be taaseh v'lo min ha'asui. – user6591 Jul 7 '15 at 18:03
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    From the Mishna Brurah 11:64 at the end of the seif he writes...ודע דמש"כ קשר אחד ר"ל מהה' קשרים שרגילין לעשות אבל הוא היה ב"פ זה על גב זה כדלקמן דבלא"ה לא מיקרי קשר שאינו מתקיים: that a knot on a knot(double knot) is considered a knot since it won't open anything else isn't called a knot – sam Jul 7 '15 at 20:34
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Great question.

The halakhah actually discusses the idea of having "ready-made" ssissiyyoth which are then attached to the corner of a garment. This concept is called `oseh min ha-'asui (essentially, "attempting to fulfill the misswah [of ssissith] from something already made beforehand"), and it is not permissible.

The Rambam (Hilkhoth Ssissith 1:12-13) says the following:

wa-ssissith shen-na`asath min he-'asui miq-qodhem pasulah. kessadh? hevi kanaf shey-yesh bo ssissith uthfarah 'al hab-beghedh afilu yesh be-othah hak-kanaf ammah 'al ammah pesulah, shen-ne'emar "wa-'asu lahem ssissith" wa-lo min he-'asui she-hareizeh domeh le-mi shen-na'asath me-eleyha. Umuttar le-hattir ssissith mib-beghedh zeh wa-lithlothah be-veghedh ahher - ben lavan ben tekheleth.

Translation:

"And [when the misswah of ssissith is] performed using [ssissiyyoth] that were already made, it is invalid. What is a practical example? Someone brought a [severed] corner of a garment on which there is [already a] ssissith, and sews it onto another garment - even if that corner has a square ammah of cloth still attached (i.e. the smallest possible area of a garment that is still subject to the laws of ssissith) - it is invalid. As it is said, 'wa-`asu lahem ssissith - And they shall make for themselves ssissith' (Bamidbar 15:38) [in order to perform the misswah] and they should not attempt to perform it [using ssissiyoth] that were already made, for this is like a garment that became messuyyesseth ("tassled") on its own. But it is permissible to untie ssissiyyoth from one garment and [re-]tie them onto another garment - whether they contain tekheleth or whether they are completely white."

[See also 1:14-16 for cases involving this concept.]

And although it should be obvious, the transferring of ssissiyyoth from one garment to another mentioned in the closing statement this halakhah does NOT mean that one may take whole/tied ssissiyyoth from one garment and simply attached them - with a cow's hitch or by any other means - to another garment. To do so would violate the first statement of the halakhah. Rather, it means to completely untie the ssissiyyoth on one garment, thread the strings into the corner of another garment and re-tie them.

As it says in the new edition of the Mishneh Torah with explanatory notes by HaRav Yohai Maqbili (יצ"ו) and jointly published by yeshivoth "Or Wiyeshua`" and "Torath Hhayyim":

להתיר ציצית... ולתלותה - שאינו מעביר את הציצית בשלמותה מבגד לבגד אלא מתיר את החוטים ועושה מהם ציצית חדשה

(Translation: "To untie ssissiyyoth...and to hang them" - Not that one is transferring the ssissith while it is still fully-tied. Rather, he is completely untying the strings and from them making a new ssissith.")

In short, ssissiyyoth that are put onto any garment while already fully-tied are invalid without exception. Thus, attaching them impermanently with a "cow hitch" to the corners of your garment so that you may remove them and easily re-attach them is not permissible.

Hope this helps. Kol tuv.

  • @DoubleAA - Not sure of the exact reason for the linkage, but I hope I did justice by my comments there above. Let me know if you think anything else needs to be done. Kol tuv. – user3342 Jul 9 '15 at 6:11

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