The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 8:4 says; מַחֲזִיר שְׁתֵּי צִיצִיּוֹת לְפָנָיו וּשְׁתַּיִם לַאֲחוֹרָיו כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא מְסוֹבָב בְּמִצְוֹת. - One should return two of the fringes in front, and two behind, in order to be surrounded by the commandments. (Translation from Sefaria).

What about the Yemenite way of wearing a Tallis? They just put it over their shoulders and have all four corners in the front. Are they breaking Halacha?

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    They may or may not be breaking the Shulchan Arukh, but he's not the only Posek who decides Halakha. – Double AA Aug 26 '16 at 20:09
  • Ping @MoriDoweedhYaa3qob ^^^^^ – mevaqesh Aug 26 '16 at 20:29
  • @DoubleAA how come i didnt get a notification someone pinged me. i just happened to click on this thread and see my name – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Aug 26 '16 at 22:29
  • @m.broder the law is to be enshrouded in the talith. you can wear it how you want as long as its lahithatteif. you have to remember that a talith is a piece of clothing you wear. you wear your clothes how you want as long as it is enshrouding your body – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Aug 26 '16 at 22:49

There is no true Halacha on how one wears their tallith. Even when halakhic decisors such as Maran Qaro make such statements, it is not for the intended purpose as being a binding halakha. You see this very clearly if you just read a few sentences before your quote:

Orach Chayim 8:2 -"The manner to wrap oneself goes according to the way people wrap themselves in clothing."

These are suggestions, not halachically binding. You find other codifications making similar mentions or suggestions.

Such as Nehar Misrayim, written in the 1900s on the laws of Egyptian Jewry. i actually have pictures to verify this was how it was done. So you have instances of an entire community, post Shulchan Arukh, not following what was written. Why? Probably because they already had a custom and did not feel the need to follow a new suggestion.

Nehar Misrayim Halachoth Sithsith 4:

ד) במצרים רובא דרובא דהמוני עם משלשלין כל הארבעה ציציות לצד פניהם והטלית מקופל על צוארם וראוי להודיעם שלפחות בשערת העטיפה. יברך ויתעטף בו ראשו ורובו ויעמוד כן כדי הילוך ארבע אמות ואח״כ ישלשלנו על כתפו.

4) In Egypt the most common way is that one drapes all four ṣiṣioth to their front and the tallit is folded on their neck. And it's appropriate to inform them in their time of wrapping. He blesses and wraps his head and most of his body in it and will stand up in the space of four cubits and afterward will drape it over his shoulder.

Also, before Maran ruled the way he did, there were many other methods brought down for how to wear a tallith. Including all 4 sith sith in front, all 4 in back all thrown over one shoulder, and the list goes on. The Yemenites were not the only community in recent times to wear their tallith with all 4 in front. The original Ashkenazic custom was also to wear all 4 in front.

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Here are some other examples of how other communities wore their sith sith. Notice that they are wearing it as an actual GARMENT, not just some extra cape they plop on when they walk into an air conditioned synagogue. The photos are a mix of Afghans and Yemenites. Thanks goes to MoriDoweedhYaa3qob for these pictures.

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    the 3 black and white pics on the bottom are of teimonim. the afghani muslims are in the other thread. the painting is of portugese/spanish congregation of amsterdam. the little boy is ashkanazi . the minhagh of ashkanaz is not having all 4 in the front. idk what it is but if i remember correctly a video by bar hayyim on this topic, he says he read or saw somewhere that ashkanazim wore it like rabbeinu saadyo jo'on says to wear it and thats like a kuffiya around your neck – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Aug 28 '16 at 1:51
  • imgur.com/a/SY00m here are more good pics with drawings of the spanish portugese jews in amsterdam wearing the talith – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Aug 31 '16 at 4:52

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