A garment that resembles Tzitzit

Yesterday, my friend posted about this company tzitzit belts on Facebook. At first I thought that the idea was sort of interesting, but the more I looked at the product, and the more I thought about it, the crankier it made me.



The point of this product is to give the wearer an easy way to wear tzitzit.  They are made in versions for kids and versions for women and men. At first glance it seems like it might be a cool way to do the mitzvah of tzitzit.

But then, you need to look a bit more closely.

Tzitzit need to be attached to a four cornered garment. This belt is technically a four cornered garment. The tzitzit need to be attached a finger's width from the corner.  You can see that the corners are in the back of this belt and the tzitzit hang from the garment with no relationship to the corners.

Tzitzit need to be part of the garment and not pinned  or attached to the garment in a temporary way. The four 'buttons' on this belt are similar to the buttons on jeans jackets. The tzitzit are simply suspended from the belt. They are not integral to the belt. So what you have is strings tied in the manner of tzitzit suspended from buttons on a belt. What you don't have is a garment that allows you to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit.

I spend lots of time re interpreting traditional Jewish ritual objects in new ways. If you do that in a serious manner, you need to also pay attention to halacha, Jewish law. If you don't then what is produced is a toy.  if you just hang a bunch of string tied in the manner of tzitit from your belt loop, you have done something cool but you are not fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzit. I feel sad when I see the public being misled.


Comments

  1. Well put! I suspect it's Christian mitzvah enthusiasts (Messianic Christians) who are primarily responsible for introducing this distortion. One point you could add is that according to halacha, a garment also has a minimum size requirement. Although there are different opinions (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Grach Naeh, Chazon Ish) everybody agrees that under 18 x 18 inches is not considered a garment.

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  2. Ben -

    I know that while there is s minimum requirement...I had head some shoah survivors tell me that some people wore small scale tzitzit that they kept in their pockets to escape detection. So under unusual circumstances the scale can be made smaller.
    Yes, there are also Christians taking on tallit, ztitzit and other central ritual objects and symbolism.That is a whole different essay...I clearly have complicated feelings about using a tallit or a torah scroll within a Christian context. It also makes me thing about how Tibetans feel about people using prayer flags as decor.

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