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Do I have to wear my Tallit now that I'm divorced?

  

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Rabbi Mendy Chitrik: Hi! How may I be of assistance?

SingleAgain: Ashkenazim wear a Tallit only after marriage, is that correct?

Rabbi Mendy Chitrik: Yes.

SingleAgain: So do I have to continue wearing my tallit now that I'm divorced?

Rabbi Mendy Chitrik: Yes. One should continue wearing a tallit.

SingleAgain: Why do I still have to wear it even though I'm not married? Doesn't that label me as a married man?

Rabbi Mendy Chitrik: No. Truthfully, it is a Mitzvah to wear a tallit even before marriage, however, as you mentioned, Ashkenazi custom is to wait until marriage. But certainly when one starts doing a mitzvah we don't tell him to stop! You should be happy that you have the opportunity to do this special Mitzvah every day!

SingleAgain: Thanks for that insight, Rabbi.

Rabbi Mendy Chitrik: You're welcome. Visit again!

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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COMMENTS

Conflicted by wearing my tallit after divorce

Posted by: Anonymous on Jun 10, 2005

isn't wearing tzizit the same mitzvot? so then can't a man just fulfill this mitzvah by continuing to just wear his tallit katan?

i feel like i'm lieing by wearing the tallit in shule, telling all who see me that i am married, even though i am not any more.

when i got married, i cherrished this mitzah, i felt full, a whole person, comforted by wrapping myself in the warmth of the tallit, presenting myself to the community and the world as a married man, now that i am divorced, i feel conflicted and sad by my tallit, the roof of my chupah, and a symbol of my failed marriage.

do you have any further advice for my conflict of wearing the tallit now that i am divorced?

Editor's Comment

While you are performing the mitzvah by wearing tzitzit, it isn't the optimal way to observe the mitzvah. Once you started performing the mitzvah in an ideal way, it isn't appropriate to stop. As for your concerns: there are many people who are (unfortunately) divorced or widowed. You shouldn't feel so out of place. If the issue is really bothering you and you think that there are personal extenuating circumstances, I would suggest you speak to your rabbi and perhaps he can offer you advice.

tallit after divorce

Posted by: Albert, Plainview, NY on Mar 11, 2006

the questioner is somewhat misinformed. wearing a tallit does not automatically signify one is married since the sephardim have the custom of wearing a tallit even when not married. so the gentleman is not "declaring" his status as single or married by donning the tallit. and anyhow he should be proud he has the mitzvah and should be eager to perform the mitzvah proudly.

Editor's Comment

True, however for an Ashkenazi Jew, it is somewhat of a statement.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Tallit and Tzitzit
Daily Life » Clothing » Tallit and Tzitzit

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
Ashkenazim
(pl.) Jews of Northern or Eastern European ancestry. (singular: Ashkenazi)
Tallit
A prayer shawl. A large four-cornered woolen garment with fringes attached to its corners in a specific manner. This garment is worn by males during the morning prayers, fulfilling the Biblical obligation of attaching fringes to four-cornered garments.