I heard somewhere that Rav Saadiah Gaon writes how to wear tzithtzith/tallith. By throwing it over ones shoulder in accordance with "the midrash." Does anyone know this source and can they provide it in Hebrew?

Many thanks.

  • FWIW, The Hebrew in much of R' Sa'adia Gaon's writing is actually a translation of Arabic, which he used in his commentary on the Torah, his Siddur, Emunot v'Deiot, and others of his works. Aug 23, 2015 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


This is brought in Beit Yosef on the Tur: Hilchot Tzitzit: 8. The midrash the Gaonim are quoting can be found in Yalkut Shimoni: Beshallach: 234. It should be noted that Yalkut Shimoni is a collection of earlier midrashim and was actually authored after the period of the Gaonim. The text from the Yalkut Shimoni is:

והמים להם חומה בשעה שירדו ישראל לים ירד גבריאל עמהם והיקפם ושמרם כחומה והיה מכריז בין מים למים לימין הזהרו בישראל שעתידין לקבל התורה מימינו של הקב״ה. ולשמאל היה אומר הזהרו באלו שעתידין להניח תפילין בשמאל. ולמים שלפניהם היה אומר הזהרו באלו שעתידין שיהו חותמין לפניהן בברית. ולאחריהם היה אומר הזהרו באלו שעתידין להראות קשר של תפילין וכנף ציציותיהן מאחריהן.

  • 1
    Apparently my Hebrew isn't good enough to translate this. Could you or someone else please translate this into English as well?
    – Aaron
    Aug 24, 2015 at 0:53
  • The waters were a wall for them at the time Israel descended into the sea. And Gavriel descended with them and encircled them and guarded them like a wall. And he declared between the waters and the waters, to the right, beware in regard to Israel who in the future are to receive the Torah from the right hand of the Holy One, blessed be He. And to the left he said beware of these who in the future are to lay tefillin on the left. And to the waters in front of them he said beware of these who in the future will be sealed with the Brit in front of them. Aug 24, 2015 at 3:47
  • And to the waters behind them he said beware of these who in the future are to be seen with the knot of tefillin and the corner of their tzitzit behind them. Aug 24, 2015 at 3:49
  • Is this his instruction on how to wear tzithtzith, or is this the midrash that is referenced?
    – Aaron
    Aug 25, 2015 at 17:56
  • According to the Tur, the Gaonim base their decision in halacha upon this midrash. In other words, they rule this to be an halachic midrash. The fourth "warning" deals with the requirement for "atifa gemura", being completely wrapped, like the Yishamelim do. This is also the preferred way according to the Alter Rebbe as written in the Chabad siddur. Aug 25, 2015 at 21:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .