Hilchos Tzitzis (Part 2)

  1. When one thread of the tzitzis is torn off in a way that
    the tzitzis remain kosher, some are machmir not to change the tzitzis
    even though they are now lacking one of the 32 strands. Since they are still
    fit to fulfil the mitzvah of tzitzis, it is considered better not to untie
    them. Others are machmir to change the tzitzis so that they will have
    32 kosher strands. Every person should conduct himself according to the
    custom of his community.

  2. If a thread that has not yet been attached to a garment
    tears, it may be tied together (with a permanent knot) and used for
    tzitzis, for when the two pieces of thread are tied together, they are
    considered as one. The same halachah applies when one of the two ends of a
    thread tears, even if less than the amount of thread required to tie a bow
    remains, for the tzitzis remained kosher. And if the second end of the
    thread tears off afterwards so that a bow could not be tied with what
    remains, the tzitzis remain kosher because the first knot was tied while
    the tzitzis were still kosher. But the Chazon Ish disagrees.
    According to the Chazon Ish, tzitzis may not be made from threads
    that were tied to the garment after the tzitzis were already attached to
    the garment. Therefore, even though the tzitzis were kosher when the first
    piece was tied on, since it was tied on after the tzitzis were already
    attached, it cannot be considered part of the tzitzis. Therefore, if the
    second end of the thread tears, the tzitzis are posul.

  3. Tzitzis cannot be made from threads that were
    previously attached to a garment. Therefore, if the threads of the tzitzis
    are torn so that the pieces remaining are less than the minimum length
    required (the length required to tie a bow), or if the thread is cut at
    the point where it passes through the garment, the tzitzis cannot be
    rendered kosher by tying on the pieces that tore off. The tzitzis have
    become posul. The threads that are still attached to the garment
    are considered to have been tied there previously. The tzitzis cannot,
    therefore, be rendered kosher by adding threads to those that are already
    there.

  4. The threads of the tzitzis should measure (after all
    the knots and wrappings have been made) at least 12 thumbs (24 cm.
    according to the Grach, 30 centimenters according to the Chazon Ish)
    from the edge of the garment. The long string used to wind around the
    other threads should also measure 12 thumbs. This measure is Rabbinical,
    but some hold that the minimum length required, the length required to tie
    a bow, is from the Torah.

  5. The tzitzis may be longer than 12 thumbs. The Arizal
    wore long tzitzis so that even if the ends tore off, the length remaining
    would be 12 thumbs.

  6. Tzitzis that were made too long may be shortened, but
    they may not been cut with a metal knife or scissor, for it is written “do
    not raise iron upon them.” They should be cut with the teeth. The pieces
    that are torn off should not been discarded, but put into the geniza.

  7. Regarding tying knots at the ends of the threads so
    that they will not unravel: Some say that it should not be done because it
    adds to the number of knots that are tied. Others say that if there is
    reason to believe that they will unravel, the ends should be knotted.