MENACHOS 40 (14 Nisan) - dedicated by Mr. D. Kornfeld l'Iluy Nishmas his grandmother, Chayah bas Aryeh Leib Shpira (nee Sole), on the day of her Yahrzeit.
1) HALACHAH: THE OBLIGATION TO PLACE TZITZIS ON A LINEN GARMENT
OPINIONS: The Gemara records a dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel about whether one is obligated to place Tzitzis on a four-cornered garment made of linen. Beis Shamai says that a linen garment does not need Tzitzis, while Beis Hillel says that it does need Tzitzis. What is the reasoning behind each view?
(a) RASHI (DH Beis Shamai) explains that the main point of dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel is whether the Mitzvah of Tzitzis overrides the Isur of Sha'atnez. Beis Hillel maintains that the Mitzvah of Tzitzis overrides the Isur of Sha'atnez, as the Torah teaches when it places the verse of the Mitzvah of Tzitzis next to the verse that expresses the Isur of Sha'atnez (Devarim 22:11-12). Beis Hillel applies the exegetical instrument of "Semuchin" and derives from the proximity of verses that the Torah permits a mixture of wool and linen in a garment of Tzitzis. Consequently, even a linen garment is obligated to have Tzitzis (of wool) attached to it.
Beis Shamai argues and does not apply the instrument of "Semuchin," and thus Beis Shamai does not permit Sha'atnez in a garment of Tzitzis. Beis Shamai reasons that since the Techeles strings are made from wool, the Torah certainly does not require that they be placed on a garment made from linen, because doing so would create a forbidden mixture of Sha'atnez.
The Halachah follows the view of Beis Hillel. However, in practice we do not wear linen garments with Tzitzis because of a Gezeirah d'Rabanan, as is apparent from the Gemara later. TOSFOS (DH Sadin) points out that according to Rashi's explanation, one should be permitted to wear Tzitzis made from linen on a linen garment. Indeed, Rashi himself in a responsum rules this way (see SHITAH MEKUBETZES #24). This is also the opinion of the RIF.
(b) RABEINU TAM (cited by Tosfos) argues with Rashi and asserts that Beis Shamai agrees that Sha'atnez is permitted in Tzitzis. When the Gemara later says that there is a Gezeirah d'Rabanan that one not wear Tzitzis on a linen garment, it is explaining the reasoning of Beis Shamai.
According to Rabeinu Tam, the decree includes wearing linen Tzitzis on a linen garment, lest one mistakenly place woolen Tzitzis on a linen garment. This seems to be the straightforward intention of the Gemara, since the Gemara does not mention a case of "Sadin b'Techeles" (Techeles on a linen garment), but rather it mentions a case of "Sadin b'Tzitzis" (Tzitzis on a linen garment). Rabeinu Tam quotes RAV AMRAM GA'ON who also rules like Beis Shamai in this case. (See Tosfos to Sukah 3a, DH d'Amar.)
The BA'AL HA'ME'OR in Shabbos (11b of the pages of the Rif) strongly argues with the Rif. He says that "you should know that all of the Ge'onim who ever lived prohibited placing linen Tzitzis on a linen garment until the Rif permitted it." He adds that RABEINU YITZCHAK BAR BARUCH already refuted all of the Rif's proofs. He also quotes Rav Amram Ga'on, who says that in this case the Halachah follows Beis Shamai.
Since the Halachah is that a linen garment is exempt from Tzitzis, the ruling of Rebbi applies. Rebbi (38a) says that without Techeles, one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis with "Lavan" (white strings). Consequently, it is meaningless to place Lavan made of linen onto a garment that cannot have Techeles.
The Ba'al ha'Me'or cites further proof from the incident involving Rav Katina (41a), who was accustomed to wearing a coat of two corners in the winter and a linen garment in the summer. A Mal'ach rebuked him for his conduct, asking him how he would fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis with such a garment. This implies that Rav Katina did not wear any Tzitzis, even strings of Lavan, on his linen garment.
The RAMBAN (in MILCHAMOS HASH-M, Shabbos ibid.) defends the view of the Rif. He explains that the Rif learns like Rashi, as explained above. The Ramban also takes issue with the Ba'al ha'Me'or's statement that the Halachah follows Rebbi, who says that the lack of Techeles prevents one from fulfilling the Mitzvah with Lavan. (See RAMBAM, Hilchos Tzitzis 1:4, who also rules that the lack of Techeles does not prevent the fulfillment of the Mitzvah with Lavan.)
The Ramban also asserts that it is illogical to say that one is prohibited to place linen Tzitzis on a linen garment, because the reason why woolen Tzitzis is prohibited on such a garment is because of a Gezeirah d'Rabanan. The Rabanan do not institute a Gezeirah on another Gezeirah, and thus there is no reason to prohibit placing linen Tzitzis on a linen garment!
The proof that the Ba'al ha'Me'or cites from the incident involving Rav Katina is also refutable. A coat of two corners is exempt entirely from Tzitzis, while a linen garment is exempt from Lavan. The Mal'ach sought to rebuke Rav Katina for wearing both types of garments (the coat in the winter without Tzitzis at all, and the linen garment in the summer without Techeles), and therefore the Mal'ach used the inclusive term "Tzitzis." Consequently, one cannot infer from there that Rav Katina's linen garment had no Tzitzis at all.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 9:6) writes that even though the Halachah does not follow the opinion that one should not place Tzitzis on a linen garment, one who fears Hash-m should be stringent and not make Tzitzis out of a linen garment. The REMA adds that if one has only a linen garment and is unable to fulfill the Mitzvah with another type of garment, then he should fulfill the Mitzvah by placing Tzitzis on the linen garment instead of not doing the Mitzvah at all. The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 9:19) writes that one may recite a blessing on such Tzitzis when one cannot do the Mitzvah in any other way. (If one has a woolen Talis Gadol, he should recite the blessing on the Talis and have in mind his linen Talis Katan.)
The SHA'AR HA'TZIYUN there writes that the view of the VILNA GA'ON in BI'UR HA'GRA is unclear. The Bi'ur ha'Gra states that the Halachah follows the view of Rabeinu Tam, who rules that one may not put linen Tzitzis on a linen garment. On the other hand, the CHAYEI ADAM writes that the custom of those who do place linen Tzitzis on a linen garment is based on the words of the Vilna Ga'on! It is unclear what the Vilna Ga'on's opinion was, or whether he changed his opinion at some point. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) HALACHAH: TZITZIS ON A LEATHER GARMENT
OPINIONS: The Gemara records an argument about what defines a garment which is obligated to have Tzitzis. Rava and Rebbi Zeira maintain that a garment made from wool which has corners that made from leather is obligated to have Tzitzis. A garment made from leather with corners made from wool is not obligated to have Tzitzis, even mid'Rabanan. The LEVUSH (OC 10:4) explains that their source is the verse, "They shall make for themselves Tzitzis on the corners of their garments" (Bamidbar 15:38). A garment ("Beged") is made from threads that have been spun and woven, and not from leather. Since leather is not considered a "Beged" at all, there is no obligation, even mid'Rabanan, to place Tzitzis on a leather garment.
Rav Achai argues and says the opposite: a garment made from wool which has corners made from leather is exempt from Tzitzis. A garment made from leather which has corners made from wool is obligated to have Tzitzis. Rav Achai maintains that the primary composition of a garment (whether it is wool or leather) is determined by the material from which its corners are made.
What is the Halachah?
(a) The Gemara says that Rava's reasoning is that the composition of the garment is based on what comprises the main part of the garment, and not what comprises the corners. The MAHARIK (Shoresh 149) in the name of RABEINU MANO'ACH explains that this is not merely a logical assumption. Rather, Rava bases his view on a verse in the Torah. The verse describes the garment on which one must place Tzitzis as "one with which you will cover yourself" (Devarim 22:12). This teaches that the type of material a garment is made from is determined by the part of the garment that actually covers the person (the central part of the garment, and not the corners). This material is what constitutes the garment with regard to its obligation to have Tzitzis.
The RIF, RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 3:4), and ROSH (#10) rule in accordance with the opinion of Rava.
(b) The MORDECHAI (#942) quotes the TOSFOS SHANTZ who implies that Rav Achai's opinion must be taken into account. He writes that a woolen garment which has corners covered with leather is obligated to have Tzitzis. He adds that the Gemara here, which says that a woolen garment with corners of leather does not need Tzitzis, does not contradict this, because the Gemara is discussing only a woolen garment from which the corners were cut off and replaced with corners of leather. A garment which still has its original woolen corners, but those corners were covered with a protective layer of leather, is still valid for Tzitzis.
It is apparent from the words of the Tosfos Shantz that he rules like Rav Achai. If he would rule like Rava, then his argument would not be necessary.
The Maharik quotes RABEINU YECHIEL who says that it is preferable for one to be stringent and follow the view of Rav Achai. He also quotes the SEFER NACHMENI who apparently rules in one place like Rava, and in another place like Rav Achai. The Maharik explains that this is not a contradiction; the Sefer Nachmeni is merely being stringent to follow both opinions.
HALACHAH: The BEIS YOSEF (OC 10) writes that because the Rif, Rambam, and Rosh are all lenient with regard to a woolen garment with leather corners, one does not need to be stringent to ensure that he has no leather at the corners of his Talis.
It is interesting to note that the Beis Yosef later (end of OC 12) quotes the Tosfos Shantz in a different context in order to prove a point. He writes that the custom in Egypt was for people to have patches of leather on the corners of their garments on which they placed Tzitzis, and he quotes the Tosfos Shantz as support for this practice. The Beis Yosef also quotes in the name of the Mordechai that even according to Rav Achai these garments are obligated to have Tzitzis, as mentioned above. However, this is not exactly how the Mordechai himself phrases this statement. The Mordechai writes that even according to the way we rule (like Rava), such a garment needs Tzitzis. Nevertheless, the Mordechai certainly would agree with the Beis Yosef's paraphrase. The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#2) quotes in the name of the RI the exact statement of the Beis Yosef. (Y. MONTROSE)