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.
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.
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.
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.