1) TZITZIS ON A FOLDED TALIS
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which discusses the Halachah in the case of a large, folded Talis. The Tana Kama says that such a Talis must have Tzitzis on its four corners. Rebbi Shimon says that such a Talis is exempt from Tzitzis.
To which four corners does the Beraisa refer? Does it refer to the four original corners of the long Talis that are visible when the Talis is spread out, or to the new four corners that are formed when the Talis is folded? Why would Rebbi Shimon exempt such a Talis from Tzitzis?
(a) The NIMUKEI YOSEF explains that the Beraisa refers to the original four corners of the Talis. Since it is a four-cornered garment, the Tana Kama maintains that it requires Tzitzis. Rebbi Shimon argues and maintains that since the Talis is such a long garment (twice as long as an ordinary garment), it is not considered a "Beged" as far as the Mitzvah of Tzitzis is concerned, because it is not fit for a person to wear. The Tana Kama apparently reasons that since the long Talis could be folded over and worn in that manner, it retains the status of a "Beged."
(b) RASHI (DH v'Rebbi Shimon) explains that Rebbi Shimon exempts the newly-formed four corners from Tzitzis because when the Talis is folded over, the middle of the Talis becomes a corner of the Talis, and one cannot place Tzitzis on what would be the middle of the Talis when the Talis is spread out (since Tzitzis must be placed only on the corners of a garment). This implies that, according to Rashi, the Tana Kama maintains that one should place Tzitzis on what is now the visible corners of the Talis even though, when spread out, those parts of the Talis would no longer be the corners.
1. The BEIS YOSEF (OC 10:6) explains that Rebbi Shimon does not mean that the Talis is entirely exempt from Tzitzis. Rather, Rebbi Shimon argues merely that one cannot put Tzitzis on a part of the Talis which is still considered the middle of the Talis. However, Rebbi Shimon agrees that one should put Tzitzis on the real corners of this Talis. He supports this assertion from the wording of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 1:17), who says that "one should not fold a Talis in half and put Tzitzis on the corners when it is folded." This implies that one should not put Tzitzis only on the new corners of the Talis in its folded state, but one should put Tzitzis on the real corners of the Talis.
It seems that the Beis Yosef understands the Beraisa like Rashi and not like the Nimukei Yosef. According to the Nimukei Yosef, one should not put Tzitzis on any part of the garment, since it is not considered a "Beged" that is fit to wear.
The TAZ (OC 10:7) suggests that the Beis Yosef is not necessarily siding with Rashi; he may agree with the explanation of the Nimukei Yosef. The Nimukei Yosef understands that in the Beraisa's case, the Talis is folded because it is too long to be worn without being folded. The Beis Yosef agrees that in such a case the Talis would not need Tzitzis at all according to Rebbi Shimon, since it is not called a "Beged." Rashi learns that the Beraisa is discussing a case in which the garment is folded over by choice, even though it is fit to be worn when fully spread. In the case of such a Talis, the Beis Yosef maintains that Rebbi Shimon would agree that Tzitzis are required on the real corners of the Talis. (See MISHNAH BERURAH OC 10:16.)
2. The DARCHEI MOSHE (OC 10) disagrees with the Beis Yosef. He points out that Rebbi Shimon says that the Talis is "Patur," exempt, from Tzitzis. This wording implies that Rebbi Shimon entirely exempts such a Talis from Tzitzis. If, as the Beis Yosef asserts, the argument in the Beraisa involves where to put the Tzitzis (on the original corners, or on the new corners of the folded Talis), then the Beraisa should quote the Tana Kama as saying that the Tzitzis must be placed on the folded corners, and Rebbi Shimon as saying that the Tzitzis must be placed on the original corners! (See KEHILOS YAKOV #24 for further discussion of the Darchei Moshe's opinion.)
HALACHAH: Although the Rambam, as mentioned above, and the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 10:6) rule like Rebbi Shimon, many other Rishonim apparently rule like the Tana Kama. The RIF and ROSH make no mention of whom the Halachah follows, implying that the Halachah follows the view of the Tana Kama, as is usually the case in such disputes. The Beis Yosef explains that this why the TUR rules that a folded Talis must have Tzitzis.
The REMA (OC 10:6) takes these opinions into account and writes that although one should place Tzitzis on such a Talis, he should not recite a Berachah upon donning this garment. The MISHNAH BERURAH has difficulty with the ruling of the Rema, and he concludes that one should avoid wearing such a garment. However, the Mishnah Berurah in SHA'AR HA'TZIYUN (#27) writes in the name of many Acharonim that the Halachah follows the Shulchan Aruch, and one may place Tzitzis on the real corners of such a garment and he may even recite a Berachah. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) MAKING THE STRINGS OF TZITZIS THE SAME COLOR AS THE GARMENT
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa that states that the obligation to place Tzitzis on a garment is fulfilled only when the Tzitzis are "of the same type" as the garment. The Beraisa continues and says that if one's garment is made entirely from Techeles, then one should place on it strings of Techeles and another type.
What exactly does the Beraisa intend to teach?
(a) RASHI (DH Meisivei) explains that the first part of the Beraisa is teaching what color the strings of Lavan (the non-Techeles strings) must be. For example, if one's garment is dyed red, then it requires red strings as its non-Techeles strings (to fulfill the obligation of "Lavan"). However, if the garment is made from Techeles (that is, the entire woolen garment is dyed with Techeles), then one should not make all of the strings of the Tzitzis from Techeles, because the Torah requires two types of strings, Techeles and Lavan (non-Techeles). However, since the garment is entirely Techeles, the Lavan strings are not going to be of the same type as the garment! Therefore, the Beraisa says that one may place strings of any color other than Techeles to fulfill the requirement of "Lavan."
TOSFOS (DH Ein) is perplexed by Rashi's explanation. The Gemara earlier (38b) quotes Rava who exclaimed, "Is the color [of the garment] the determining factor [of the color of the garment's Tzitzis]?" According to Rashi's explanation, the Beraisa clearly contradicts Rava's statement. How did Rava make such an exclamation against an explicit Beraisa?
1. Tosfos suggests an answer for Rashi. Perhaps the Beraisa's Halachah is only a Mitzvah d'Rabanan. The Beraisa is teaching that one should beautify the Mitzvah of Tzitzis in accordance with the verse, "Zeh Keli v'Anvehu" -- "This is my G-d and I will glorify Him" (Shemos 15:2), as the Gemara in Sukah (11b) teaches. The Mitzvah of Tzitzis is beautified when the color of the Lavan strings is the same as the color of the garment. However, one still would fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis with Lavan strings of any color. Rava's rhetorical question was that it is not reasonable to suggest that the Torah absolutely requires that the strings be the same color as the garment such that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis at all if the strings are not the same color as the garment.
2. The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Tzitzis 2:8) gives a different explanation. When Rava (38b) said that the color of the garment does not dictate the color of the Tzitzis, he was addressing the view of Rami bar Chama. Rami bar Chama said that when one places Tzitzis on a garment made of Techeles, he should place the Techeles strings on the garment first, before the Lavan strings, even though the Lavan strings are usually placed on the garment first. Rava responded, "Does the color of the garment dictate changing the order of the placement of the Techeles and the Lavan?" The Lavan is always first, Rava asserted, as the Torah states, "They shall place on the Tzitzis of each corner a thread of Techeles" (Bamidbar 15:38), implying that the Tzitzis of Lavan have already been placed on the garment. Rava was not saying that the color of the garment does not affect what color the strings should be. This might also be the intention of Rashi.
The TUR (OC 9) understands that this is also the opinion of the RAMBAM.
However, the BEIS YOSEF (OC 9) quotes the MAHARAN CHAVIV who understands that the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 2:8) argues with Rashi. The words of the Rambam imply that he does not require the strings of Lavan to be the same color as the garment. Rather, one should not tie black strings, or Techeles strings, in place of the Lavan strings, but one may tie strings of other colors in their place. The Beis Yosef, however, agrees with the Tur's understanding of the Rambam.
(b) According to the Maharan Chaviv's understanding of the Rambam, how does the Rambam understand the Beraisa quoted by the Gemara here? The Rambam evidently learns the Beraisa the same way that TOSFOS (ibid.) learns it. Tosfos explains that the Beraisa is expressing the Halachah that the Gemara earlier (39b) teaches: the Tzitzis must be made from the same material (and not necessarily the same color) as the garment (with the exception of wool and linen strings, which may be used for any type of garment).
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 9:5) writes that "there are those (Rashi and the Rambam) who say that the Tzitzis should be the same color as one's garment, and those who are meticulous are accustomed to do so." According to this stringency, one would specifically make red Tzitzis on a four-cornered, red garment. However, the REMA states that "Ashkenazim have a custom to make only white strings even on colored clothing, and one should not change from this."
The MISHNAH BERURAH, taking into account all of these opinions, concludes that one who is meticulous about Mitzvos should have only a white four-cornered garment, so that he fulfills all of these opinions (by having only white Lavan strings, and by having Lavan strings that are the same color as the garment). The Mishnah Berurah gives another reason, in the name of the BACH (OC 24), for why one should have a white garment and white Tzitzis. The verse says, "Levushei ki'Slag Chivar" -- "His garment was white like snow" (Daniel 7:9). The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (17b) teaches that this garment refers to the Talis of Hash-m, as it were. The Bach quotes a source that derives from this verse that a person's garment should be white as well.
It is interesting to note that RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a is quoted (in Kovetz Teshuvos, p. 11) as saying that both of these opinions -- the view of the Shulchan Aruch that one's Tzitzis should be the same color as the garment, and the view of the Bach that one's Talis (and Tzitzis) should be white like the garment of Hash-m -- would be neglected by putting on what only might be Techeles. If the Techeles is not actually Techeles, then, according to the Shulchan Aruch, the strings are not the same color as the garment, and, according to the Bach, the strings are not all white (see also Insights to Menachos 41:1). (Y. MONTROSE)