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Making the bracha on the mitzvah of ‘tzitzis’?
MBY 19:1-2 Question: What exactly is the mitzvah of tzitzis? Is the mitzvah performed at the moment that one ties the tzitzis onto the garment, as the pasuk states (Bamidbar 15:37), ”…that they shall make themselves tzitzis on the corners of their garments“, in which case the bracha should be made upon the act of tying, or does the mitzvah relate to the wearing of the garment, in which the bracha should be made when one wears it? In other words, is the mitzvah to tie the tzitzis on, or to wear the garment with tzitzis on it? (See the difference clearly?)
Answer: Indeed, one could certainly think that the mitzvah is garment-related, not wearing-related, based upon the above pasuk. There is, however, a second pasuk which relates tzitzis to wearing: (Devarim 22:12) – “… on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.” These two pesukim give rise, in fact, to a debate among the early Sages (called Tannaim – lit. teachers), about whether tzitzis is a ‘chovas gavra’ (oblgation upon the one who wears the garment) or a ‘chovas talis’ (an obligation “upon the garment”) - i.e. the obligation begins as soon as one obtains the garment, even if he never actually wears it! In halacha we accept the ‘chovas gavra’ position, and hence, no bracha is made upon the making of the garment, but rather upon wearing it. (Note: A similar query could be raised about the mitzvah of mezuza: If I build myself a house but do not move into it for a time, when am I obligated to affix the mezuzos – when the home is built or when I move in? Here also, the halacha rules that it is related to the living in the house, and one may not make a bracha until he is ready to move in!)

(Ed: If you are really astute, you should raise an objection against what I have written in this lesson based upon something we learned in a recent lesson… C’mon, let’s try to stump the rabbi!)

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