Is there anything wrong with cutting the strands of ציצת?

Specifically, if I wanted to take the strands off to replace them with a new set of strands, it is very tedious to try and unwind the old pair, in order to remove them from the בגד. Would it be considered disrespectful to the ציצת if I would just cut off the strands (and then put them in שימת)?

Also, I know that after winding a personal pair of ציצת, the שמש, or the other "regular" strands might be a little long. Would I be able to shorten them by cutting them?

  • 1
    #1. Seems that the Poskim use לְהַתִּיר - to untie them - and never mention cutting them off. #2 - there's a Hidur for all 8 strings to be the same length - twice the size of the knotted section - when wearing them. So cutting them is recommended. Can't find a source at the moment for either staements. Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


The Chayei Adam writes that if it's difficult to untie tzitzit, you can snip them off (11, 32). Professional tallis dealers do this on a daily basis. One of the reasons is that on many standard talleisim, the manufacturer ties on machine-spun tzitzis, so if you want handspun, thick, techeiles, etc., you have the remove them.

As R' Schoemann mentions, there is a hiddur brought by the Rosh for the loose section to be twice the length of the tied section. Lately I've seen a lot of yeshiva-leit leaving their shammash string long. Seems to be a fad to me. If you ask me, based on the Rosh, very long tzitzit are just frumkeit, and are less of a hiddur than tzitzit that are only 2/3 loose.

But part of the reason is that there is a custom to avoid using metal implements to cut tzitzis.

(All of these issues are discussed in a blog post I wrote. http://www.tallit-shop.com/can-you-cut-tzitzits/)

  • I've heard that leaving the shamash long is some sort of minhag derived from kabbalah (I do so in case I need to re-tie my tzitzis) Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 13:40
  • Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 9:5: וְהַנּוֹי הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כָּל הַחֻלְיוֹת בְּיַחַד שְׁלִישׁ וְהַחוּטִים הַתְּלוּיִים שְׁנֵי שְׁלִישִׁים, עַל כֵּן יְדַקְדֵק שֶׁתְּהֵא כָּל חֻלְיָה כְּרֹחַב אֲגוּדָל, וְיִהְיוּ כָּל הַחֻלְיוֹת אַרְבָּעָה אֲגוּדָלִים וְהַחוּטִים הַתְּלוּיִם שְׁמוֹנָה אֲגוּדָלִים. וְאִם הֵם אֲרֻכִּים יוֹתֵר, יַעֲשֶׂה הַחֻלְיוֹת גַּם כֵּן קְצָת אֲרֻכּוֹת יוֹתֵר Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 15:47

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