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Does tzizis have to show?


I would like to know if the tzizis fringes are suppose to show; I am rather uncomfortable having it out.
If you can kindly show the sources I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much!


The tzitzis are supposed to show, as the Shulchan Aruch states O:CH 8-11, “The main mitzvah of wearing the tallis katan is to wear them on top of our clothing in order to be able to see them all the time”. The Mishna Berura (ibid 26) explains that this is based on the posuk “u’reisem oso”, and you should see the tzitzis. There are opinions that the tallis katan should be worn under one’s shirt, but the actual tzitzis should be showing (see M:A 8-13).

We should not be embarrassed of our tzitzus, it is our mitzvah, our privilege, and we should be proud of them. They are a sign, and a badge of honor. Imagine a soldier that got a badge of honor from the president, he would wear it on his clothing all the time, especially when we wears his uniform. If he is embarrassed of the badge of the king, what does that say?

The tzitzis are a symbol, “I am connected to Hashem”. The tzitzis are worn in a way, that the four corners of the tzitzis surround the person. When we look in front of ourselves we see the two front corners, (see S:A 24-50). The two corners have ten knots, (five on each), and a total of 16 strings, which together equal 26. This represents the name of Hashem, Yud- Hey- Vav- Hey, which numerically equals 26. Meaning, when we wear our tzitzis, we are taking Hashem along with us. It is really more than that. As an interesting point, we wear the tzitzis in a way that the four corners are like a box around us. Any direction that we look, we will see two corners of the tzitzis. Therefore it is like we are walking in the street surrounded by the name of Hashem. This is perhaps one of the reasons why our tzitzis is a protection for us- Hashem is our body guard.  (See the sefer Tztzis Utcheles, R’ Tzvi Cohen chapter 16, where he elaborates on many ways that tzitzis provide us with a protection.)

If you are still embarrassed from the tzitzis you can stick them into your pants pocket after they come out of your shirt, so that they can still be seen, even though they are not hanging out a lot.

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  1. Nevertheless, there are opinions (Arizal/ Sephardic custom) that the tzitzis (strings) should be completely concealed, and so was the minhag in pre-war Lita (even among Ashkenazim and even among roshei yeshiva, and even in Radin where the Chofetz Chaim lived). There is no mitzvah to “show off” how frum one is. The verse states: ‘Walk humbly with your G-d.” Frumkeit is something that is between me and the Borei Olam; I don’t need to show off to everyone what a big tzaddik I am and how I daven the longest Shemoneh Esrei and make all sorts of faces during davening and have strings hanging out, etc. Furthermore, part of the manners and middos of a ben torah is to be neat and presentable, which includes not having strings hanging out of one’s clothing. In certain professions, one will look ridiculous if he shows up wearing his tzitzis out.

    On the other hand, the rav certainly makes a good point that tzitzis is part of Jewish pride, and a person should never be ashamed to look and to behave like a Jew. Contrary to those who are ashamed to behave in the Jewish way and (for example) when they meet a lady they shake her hand because they are embarrassed to say that this is forbidden by Jewish law. A person has to work on himself to develop a sense of Jewish pride and not to be ashamed to look and to behave like a Jew.

    1. I wrote the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch and the MIshna Berura. It is true we should walk humbly and not show off, but not when Hashem says that this is my symbol and I want you to make it visible!

  2. Thank you very much for your beautiful reply, it is very helpful! In Reference to the above comment, would you know where I can find the Arizal quoting that tzizis should be concealed?

  3. I’ve heard from R’ Michel Shurkin that he has testimony from his father that the chofetz chaim himself did not wear his tzitzis out. Apparently, he was chozer. Any thoughts on this?

    1. We don’t go according to rumors of testimony when he wrote something clearly in the Mishna Berura. If you look at what he writes there, he is very clear and strong about it. He might have worn the cloth inside but the strings outside.

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