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Modern day dilemmas that come while wearing Tzitzit

Mitzvot Dilemma: Tzitzit In The Modern Age

Guest post by Ken Lane

Most of you will agree that tzitziyot are ALWAYS meant to be worn OUT. Yes, dangling, seen, exposed, and not restricted…for the most part. They are a sign of the mitzvot and of the G-d you serve. You are a child of Israel. Now, don’t you forget it!

Still, in this modern age, I think the wearing of tzitzit needs its own handbook of the tzitzit protocol for certain situations. I think when Moshe Rabbenu, bless him, came off Sinai with these funny things on his clothes, he might have also had some tips on how not get stuck in certain dilemmas.

Bathroom Ettiquette:
1. Heaven forbid you should pee on your tzitzit! Even if by accident! Still, back in the day, the tallit-katan was much longer and I don’t imagine that it hit right at crotch level. Maybe the ancient Israelites had a similar problem; but what do you do? Surely you don’t tuck them in your pockets. Then they can’t be seen when you’re in some of the most tempting of settings of breaking a tenant of shomer negiah (don’t you touch that!)!

-Solution I’ve found: string them through your side belt loops. That way they are visible, but safely out harm’s stream. Cause it pays to protect your strand of blue from your stream of yellow!

2. So, you gotta drop some heat. No biggie, even the most righteous tzaddik had to take the Browns to the Superbowl. But how do you keep these righteous threads from being contaminated by pagan white-porcelain god worship? Do you take them off? Still, that’s a lot of work, taking off your shirt, then your tallit-katan hanging up somewhere within 4 cubits walk? Negatory.

-Solution I’ve found: If you bring them all to the front, twist them altogether, and roll them up in your shirt, that will keep them safely out of duty’s way. Yes, they will be temporarily invisible, but it will be hard to leave it that way…unless you insist on walking out of the bathroom with your shirt rolled up to your nipples.

Transportation Dilemmas:
1. Any frum person who drives a low-sitting car knows the dilemmas of getting your tzitzit stuck in the car door. Yes, its annoying, but is it breaking halakha? If anything, I think it could be increasing halakha! There you are, walking down the street, when you see a car with tzitzit hanging out the door. Your sense of Jewish pride and you’re instantly reminded of G-d and His Torah.

-Solution: Don’t fret it. Yeah, your tzitzit might end up getting a little gross, but gross tzitzit mean they’ve been around and not just collecting dust somewhere. Yes, though it is bad to do, people are judged on the perfection of their tzitzit. If they’re sparkling white, it probably means they haven’t been used enough!

2. So your car starts to make those super-fun “dank-dank-dank” noises because you were off davening so long, you forget to change the oil on your mitzvot tank. You go buy a quart of oil to shut the thing up till you can change the oil FOR REAL, but when you pop the hood and lean over to pour the stuff in, you tzitzit are wiping the radiator clean of grease and grime! Oy vey! Do you not put in your oil and let your kosher-caddy fry?

-Solution: Same as last time, dirty ’em up! Tzitzit are not supposed to keep you from life, but inspire you to live! (Unless you have a different definition of “living”…then by all means, yes, they are you keep you from that!)

3. Say you’re a bicycle commuter; good you. I’m glad you’re getting your exercise and saving the planet at the same time. Now, on your bike, your tzitzit tend to fly into your rear spokes and get tangled. Do you stop wearing tzitzit when you ride?

-Solution: Heaven forbid, just ride faster! The faster you ride, the more your tzitzit will be fly backwards in the thrust of the breeze you’re creating and stay out of those pesky spokes. I think if we kept this up, I think frum riders would be winning Tour De Frances right and left.

My thoughts:

I wear my tzitzis out primarily because I don’t like when they dangle on my legs and they always get caught in my car door, my fly and once in a while during bathroom situations, although I think the above post is quite obviously written by a BT because I never really thought too much about these issues, I just accepted them.

{ 52 comments… add one }
  • Veebee March 17, 2009, 6:11 PM

    My tzitzit fall off when bungee-jumping. Any suggestions?

    • yosef May 1, 2011, 9:30 PM

      wear a gartel

    • yosef May 1, 2011, 9:31 PM

      wear a gartel ..

  • Double M March 17, 2009, 6:49 PM

    Ummm… if you look there are many authorities who say at this point in time they are to be worn on the inside of your garments… can you guess which great rabbanim have said this?

  • tzitzis Not March 17, 2009, 6:51 PM

    Back when I was a senior in HS I got this slick car after Pesach. I was rolling around Flatbush blasting some rap music, windows low, seat back, cap back and shades on. I’m sitting by a red lights near Laundaus Shul when this old jewish man comes over to my car. He says “your tzitzis are hanging out of your door”

  • Phil March 17, 2009, 7:23 PM

    Some sefardim believe they MUST remain tucked in and wearing them out is a sign of haughtiness (Rav Mansour quoting I believe Rav Ovadiah Yosef).

    I wear mine out. As I wear perftzit, I often don’t wear a t shirt, just the tzitzis. As I’m a fishing addict, I actually printed some of my perftzits with fishing logos, other Jews that see me in them flip out.

  • Veebee March 17, 2009, 7:27 PM

    Phil – there is a Rabbi in my shul who is in the army and sports a camouflage tallit gadol.

  • Business Maven March 17, 2009, 8:00 PM

    This is a very funny post and I sent links to all my friends.

    About tucking the tzitzit into the belt on the sides, I’ve tried that before and the strings get stuck in my cellphone or beeper clip and they tear on the way out.

    Anyways thanx for making me laugh.

  • Double M March 17, 2009, 8:32 PM

    Phil like the idea… how did you do it and is there a place that sells a New York Central logo or a Pennsy logo?

  • Phil March 17, 2009, 8:54 PM

    Double M,

    I actually took online picture, brought them into Photoshop, customized them to my liking and printed them on transfer paper. As the perftzit are cotton, they work very well. The only drawback is that no matter how good the trasnfer paper is, it eventually peels off after repeated washing.

    Sil, at less than $1 per transfer 8 x 11 transfer sheet, you can print multiple tzitzis with just one logo.

    Check out of the prints:

    Musky art:


    Storm logo with carp caricature:


    Freshwaterphil carp club sponsored by Stella Artois:


  • Dale Rosenbach March 17, 2009, 9:31 PM

    It’s nice to know that the photographs I place on Wikipedia go on to grace worthwhile comedy like this!

  • Shmuly March 17, 2009, 10:40 PM

    doing a number 1, the back of my forarms holds the tzitzis against my belt line.

    unloading timber, before i sit down, i bundle all 4 in front of me and make sure they stay put after i’m comfortably seated.

    how long do tzitzis have to be to get caught in bike spokes? maybe i’m just to tall for it to be an issue.

  • Frum Satire March 17, 2009, 11:46 PM

    Dale that is crazy coincidental – that was you huh? Good picture – I found it on google images.

  • smooth shemp March 18, 2009, 12:03 AM

    the roll up technique is great, but my patented idea is better!!!

  • Talmudist March 18, 2009, 7:54 AM

    There’s no mitzvah to wear ’em unless you’ve got a four cornered shirt on, which is not too common.

  • Markcofc March 18, 2009, 8:21 AM

    So how do you wear your Tzitzit? I, a BT, was taught to tuck them into my pants along the belt line. It is a pain to wear them this way because they are always digging into me. Plus there are always one or two strings that flop out.

    Is it against Halakha to have them dangling down inside my pants?

    I totally admire anyone who wears there Tzitzit out. I live in SW Florida where the only other frum people are Chabad Rabbis. I stick out like a sore thumb just because I wear a Kippah.

  • Phil March 18, 2009, 8:37 AM


    If you’re already wearing a kippah everywhere, you might as well have the hanging out.

    I often end up in very remote areas where people have never seen Jews, I find the kippah sticks out more than the tzitzis, even when I wear the tzitzis without a shirt on top.

    Nothing wrong with wearing them dangling inside your pants, though some people say it’s prefferable not to have them touching your skin. You can always tuck them into your pockets.

  • Critic March 18, 2009, 9:20 AM

    I change my underwear, socks, and shirt every day. But i only change my tzitzis once a week, friday, when i put on my shabbos cloth. I dont know why it doesnt gross me out its just very weird. I do wear t-shirts as undershirts and wear my tzitzis under y shirt, but still, i wear it for a week. (Like girls who dont change/wash their bra’s every day, i dont get it)

    I always wondered what others do. Do ppl have 10 pieces in their drawer, next to their underwear and socks? and put on fresh ones every day?I know in yeshiva, most guys would never wash their tzitzis, but as adults, what do most guys do?

  • Phil March 18, 2009, 9:45 AM


    That’s nasty. I have a good 10 pairs of cotton pertzit, they go in the washer on gentle mode and a hung to dry. You change you shirt and undershirt everyday, what about what’s in between?

    The wool ones are a pain as they need to be hand washed or dry cleaned, probably why most yeshiva guys don’t wash them too often.

  • Double M March 18, 2009, 2:01 PM

    Phil thanks for the information…. Btw those are some whoppers you caught congrads.

  • Phil March 18, 2009, 2:16 PM
  • Yochanan March 18, 2009, 3:18 PM

    I take them off before going #2.

  • Ken Lane March 18, 2009, 4:23 PM

    Phil, that’s pretty clever and creative. I saw some of the NaNachs do something similar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VFjV9s27U4

    In those instances when its too hot to wear 3 layers (undershirt, tallit-katan, and overshirt), I usually just rock my wool tallit-katan with the black stripes over an undershirt. Then again, this can make you look a little too frum. Anyone else do that?

    I find that the perftzit and the neatzit look too much like undershirts to be worn as an outer garment.

  • LearnedShiksa March 18, 2009, 5:20 PM

    On occasion I watch over my nephews on long weekends. Little boys being little boys, I got tired of washing his tallit after a few accidents. I put in a few stitches in the front and back so it it sits a little higher in the center. The reminder to keep his tzitzt from hitting the water is always a pleasure. He giggles ‘cuase knows I’m refering to PooP.

    I’m not sure this is kosher but his father hasn’t said anything about it as yet.

  • Frum Satire March 18, 2009, 8:49 PM

    Yochanan that is such a pain in the rear

  • Phil March 18, 2009, 9:44 PM


    It’s just the redneck hillbilly part of my personality. I also ovreheat very quickly, but my wife hates it when people come over and I’m shirtless, especially on Shabbos.

  • Michal bas Avraham March 18, 2009, 11:13 PM

    You? A fishing addict, I’m stunned…
    I suppose some may not read this blog as regularly as I have been…

    Oh, yes, this post makes me happy to be a woman.

  • Rebec March 18, 2009, 11:34 PM

    tzitzis Not,
    Did I see you in Boro Park a couple weeks ago? I saw a guy in a low rider blasting rap music so loud he was vibrating my car. I turned around at a red light and noticed he was wearing a black hat and had a child in the car with him. I thought for sure my eyes were playing tricks on me, but after a few more lights I realized that for sure I wasn’t crazy….

  • Anonymous March 18, 2009, 11:40 PM

    Michal — Your a woman?

  • Lion of Zion March 19, 2009, 8:45 AM


    “You change you shirt and undershirt everyday, what about what’s in between?”

    you change the undershirt because it gets all sweated up. you change the shirt because it gets dirty from being exposed to food, the elements, etc.

    but tzitzit are perfectly protected in the middle. i’m surprised some people change them at all. 🙂

  • Ken Lane March 19, 2009, 8:58 AM

    Eh, mine still get a little funky from time to time. Then again, I’m one of those bicycle commuters.

  • Phil March 19, 2009, 9:03 AM


    Perftzit tend to take on more sweat, so they need to be changed very often. They also get dirty when I’m not wearing a shirt over them.

    I haven’t worn wool tzitzis since my yeshiva days, I don’t remember how often I changed them, but it was less definitely less often than perfs.

  • Ken Lane March 19, 2009, 9:20 AM

    I think I’ve washed my wool tzitzis 3 times in the year or 2 I’ve had them.

  • lubab March 19, 2009, 9:49 AM

    there is a point in changing your tzitzis every morning, in order to make the bracha for ‘putting on’ Tzitzis, though it could be the same 2 pairs switching every day.

  • Rabbi's Wife March 19, 2009, 10:27 AM

    My DH gets a new set every Pesach/Rosh HaShana. never have to wash them!

  • Yochanan March 19, 2009, 3:00 PM


    It’s worth it.

  • Left Brooklyn March 19, 2009, 4:04 PM

    Brit milah is also a mitzva, I don’t see any guys wearing that mitzvah outside.

  • Soul Bratha March 19, 2009, 4:29 PM

    I hate when the tzitzis hang down inside the pants and rub against the legthats a really ichy nasty feeelin anyon else experience that dillema

  • simcha March 20, 2009, 1:17 AM

    The reason we wear the tzitzis out as appose to the bris is because there is no Urieeeeesem oso on that!

  • shlong March 26, 2009, 4:08 PM

    So if I ‘Wear’ one of those umbrella hats with lots of points do I need to have tzitis on each end?

    Someone should have invented the shtreimel or Black hat tzitis pack. This way you could wear them high on your head and not get into car or bathroom issues.

    Why not a four cornered yarmulka while we’re at it?

    PS – Bluetooth add on would be a nice accessory too.

    – Thanks.

  • jacobshaner June 19, 2010, 5:23 AM

    Thank you all for some fun and some answers. Since Ive been disabled and spending most my time at home, i wondered how to wear the tzitzit that used to be so simple when I wore a suit . . . as i spend most my time in shorts, warmups or pjs i wanted a simple answer == do i wear a t shirt, then the tzitzit, then another t shirt over top? seems excessive, i guess, but living in upstate ny it gets sweaty in the summer . . . oy, im dyin here…
    any feedback>

  • yosef May 1, 2011, 9:41 PM

    I have had a long colourful experience with my tzitzit. From first exploring the trials of bathroom ettiquite how to organise my tzitzit without taking them off and i did end up with the solution that is noted above.
    However this particular experience shows how very precarious the lives of our tzitzis really are. I was using a petrol blower to blow leaves away from the driveway lichvod shabas kodesh. All and good. However i had my tzitzis waving in the breeze. why not? Until… My tzitzis got inhaled by the petrol blowers air intake. My tzitzis were shredded by the fan. I wrestled with the tzitzis to try and force the petrol blower release them I only got the mangled tufts. I felt like my tzitzis had been attacked by a mechanical shark. When i realized that i was wearing a 4 corner garment without one corner of the tzitzit then they needed to come off. very traumatic. But On a positive note i was given the opportunity to make new tzitzit myself.

  • Ben Slobodkin June 27, 2011, 6:12 AM

    Although Rav Moshe zt”l wrote that in hot weather even Ashkenazim can wear a cotton tallis katan lechatchila, wool has a lot going for it.


  • John S. January 15, 2013, 7:32 PM

    I ran across this site in my wayward searches for conversion information online and of course I get caught up in the minutiae of Judaica (not to mention wondering how I’m going to afford all this STUFF if I’m allowed to convert…)

    ANYWAY despite my best efforts to find the answer: How DO you wear tzitzit? Do you wear a regular undershirt, then the tzitzit, and then a third shirt (or vest) over *that*? How does this work when you wear, say, a button-down dress shirt that’s tucked in? (button-down, tzitzit, vest?)

    I’m the proverbial fish out of water here (NEW GUY ALERT) and this may seem to be a really low-level question for you guys, but I ask because I honestly do not know! Please expand my knowledge on this topic!

    • John S. January 15, 2013, 7:37 PM

      I have no idea where that picture that little icon/photo came from.

    • Mel July 6, 2013, 1:51 PM

      I’m a Jew by Choice (Reform but I wear tzitzit), I usually wear the tzitzit under my shirt. I hate wearing them with dress shirts that have to be tucked in because I have to hold the tzitzit with one hand as I carefully tuck in everything around it so you only see the actual tzitzit out (normally over a belt) and not the shirt. When I am wearing casual clothing, I don’t worry about it.

  • Greg January 17, 2013, 6:48 AM

    How do I wear tzitzit in the workplace when they forbid us to wear anything that a machine can grab?

  • Adler August 27, 2013, 2:08 PM

    I’m new to Torah, and just got my first set of tzitzit, and them seem too short to get stuck in a car door, or any of those situations described above. Is there a certain length that my tzitis should be?

    I have much to learn.

    I hope to hear from someone.


  • Adler August 27, 2013, 2:10 PM

    Oh, one more thing…

    I meant to click on the notify me buttons below my question in my last post.

    • Jake September 25, 2013, 4:21 PM

      Hi Adler,

      Are you Jewish?

  • devron walker December 9, 2017, 2:46 PM

    I know I’m really late to this, but this was hilarious. I started wearing tzitzits and immediately ran into the first two problems. Lol! Thanks for the laughs. Shalom

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