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At what point during the prayers do I hold the fringes of the tallit in my hand?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Twice during the morning prayers it is customary to hold the fringes of the Tallit in the hands:

(a) During the Baruch she’amar one takes the two front fringes in the right hand and holds them until the conclusion of the blessing, at which time it is traditional to kiss the Tzitzit before releasing them.

(b) While reciting the paragraph before the Shema, all four fringes of the tallit are gathered into the left hand. Before beginning the third section of the Shema – which speaks of the commandment to wear tzitzit – the tzitzit should be taken also in the right hand, and one should momentarily gaze at its fringes. During the course of the next two paragraphs, the tzitzit are kissed six times and then immediately released. In the Kehot prayer-book (available at www.kehotonline.com), the words whereby the tzitzit are kissed are marked with an asterisk.

  • The tzitzit are not gathered in the hand while reciting the shema during the evening prayers.
  • Ashkenazi boys and men who are not married, and do not wear a tallit, gather together the fringes of their tallit kattan.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Tallit and Tzitzit
Daily Life » Clothing » Tallit and Tzitzit
Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs

Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
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.
Tzitzit
Literally: the fringes which are attached to four cornered garments, as Biblically mandated. Normally this word refers to a t-shirt sized four cornered garment which contains such fringes, and is usually worn beneath the shirt.
Shema
The most fundamental Jewish prayer, recited twice daily. This prayer, of Biblical origin, professes the belief in G-d's absolute unity.