Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 11 – The strings

  1. The strings must be spun specifically for the mitzva of tsitsis. Otherwise they’re possul. (ShA1)
  1. You should be machmir to have the strings combed for the mitzva as well. (MB3)
  1. They must be twisted l’shma. (ShA2)
  1. The best way for the mitzva is to have each string 8 ply. (BeH “utzrichim”)
  1. If the tsitsis are twisted tightly, it’s better not to knot the ends. (MB18)
  1. After fashioning the five knots (see ShA 14 below), measure from the first knot until the bottom of each of the eight strings – it should measure at least 24cm (28.8cm – Chazon Ish) This is very important – less than this is meakayv mid’rabbonon. If they end up too long they can (and should – Bais Yosef) be cut so that the “anaf” measures twice as long as the “gedil”. (“anaf” = the free hanging strings – “gedil” = knots and winds). The tsitsis should be a little longer than 24cm so they’ll still have the lechatchila length if ever worn away from the bottom.  (ShA4 – MB 21,24 – Rama14)
  1. Chazal instituted these shiurim for noi tsitsis. (BeH “ain”)
  1. Make the hole between 4-6cm from the edges of the corner. This measurement counts even though the top knot of the tsitsis is pulled tight and folds the begged to less than 4cm. (ShA9,10 – MB41)
  1. If, after you tied the tsitsis in the hole, the tsitsis ripped the begged to the edge, it is still kasher as long as it is still hanging. (MB48 – BeH “odd”)
  1. It is customary to reinforce the holes and the edges of the begged so the tsitsis don’t rip too close to the edge. (Rama10)
  1. The thread used to reinforce the hole shouldn’t be woolen if it’s be white unless the tallis is woolen. (ShA end of siman15 – MB there)
  1. Cut away the tassles (or any extra threads) from the corner before hanging the tsitsis in the holes. (MB57)
  1. Cut four long strings (with your teeth not with a knife – MB61) stick, stick them into the hole, and then double them so that eight ends are hanging. (ShA12)
  1. One string should be longer than the others in order to do the winds with it. (ShA14)
  1. Take four ends on one side of the begged and four on the other and tie them into a double knot. Take the extra long string (shammash) and wind it around the other seven strings. Then make another double knot. Keep making winds and knots until there are four spaces between five knots. This is now the gedil. (ShA14)
  1. You are allowed to make tsitsis at night – like immediately after Shabbos. (MB 66)
  1. There should be a 2cm (2.4cm Chazon Ish) space between each knot and the spaces should be equidistant. (MB68)
  1. The first space should have seven winds. The second should have 8 winds. The third should have 11 and the fourth 13, which in total equals the gematria of Hashem Echad. (ShA14 – MB70)
  1. It’s good to make the strings middle-sized  – not too thick, not too thin. To beautify the mitzva. (MB71)
  1. Hang the tsitsis off the length of the tallis so that they’re “dripping” off the corner not hanging straight down. The length is from side to side. The width hangs head to heel. (ShA15 – MB52)
  1. If you wear the begged in a way that the “dripping” can only happen if the tsitsis hang off the width, hang them off of the width. (BeH “l’orech”)
  1. Lechatchila, if the tsitsis slip down, return them to the side. But be very careful not to let the tsitsis hang diagonally off the corner – that is what the Karaites do. (MB73)