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MBY 21:1-4 What to do with tzitzis that are no longer usable etc.
MBY 21:1-4 What to do with tzitzis that are no longer usable etc.
Intro: This siman deals with more than its title would suggest. Not only are there halachos about what to do or not to do with tzitzis strings and talis garments when they are old or torn; halacha also outlines several points which deal with proper and improper usage of them while they still qualify for, and are currently enlisted in, mitzvah use. I feel that a lesson such as this one can be best expressed and absorbed by the use of tables. Here are two which will hopefully be self-explanatory:

Table 1: While they are still valid and usable

Plain tzitzis strings
‘Talis gadol’ (large) with tzitzis on it
‘Talis katan’ (small) with tzitzis on it
Using them in a degrading way* asur
(forbidden) asur asur
Using them in a non- degrading way** asur dispute mutar
(permitted)
Wearing them in the bathroom n/a asur (mutar to urinate not in a bathroom) mutar
Lying down or sleeping in them n/a mutar mutar
*e.g. to dust or clean something
**tying or wrapping something up in it to protect it

Table 2: When they are no longer kosher or usable
Plain tzitzis strings***
‘Talis gadol’ (large) with/w.o. tzitzis on it ‘Talis katan’ (small) with/w.o. tzitzis on it
Using them in a degrading way asur asur asur Using them in a non- degrading way mutar mutar mutar Discarding them directly into a trash pile dispute (Note: All agree that they may be placed near the pile even if they will be carried away by non-Jews) mutar (i.e. if the tzitzis have been removed) mutar
(i.e. if the tzitzis have been removed)
Respectfully burying them admirable but not mandatory without tzitzis on it, there is no need to without tzitzis on it, there is no need to Using them for another mitzvah**** admirable but not mandatory without tzitzis on it, there is no need to without tzitzis on it, there is no need to

***the same would apply to other mitzvah objects that are “spent” and no longer usable, e.g. lulav, sukkah materials, shofar etc. ****e.g. using a worn out tzitzis “tassel” as a sefer-mark

One last point: One should take care to avoid having his tzitzis strings drag on the ground or floor, for two reasons: 1) it is disrespectful to the mitzvah object, and 2) one could more easily step on it, thus causing it to become invalidated.

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