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Menachos, 40


OPINIONS: The Gemara records an argument between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel regarding whether or not 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 argument between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel is whether or not 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 we derive from the fact that the Torah places the verse that teaches the Mitzvah of Tzitzis right next to the verse that expresses the Isur of Sha'atnez (Devarim 22:11-12). Beis Hillel maintains that we apply the tool of "Semuchin" and derive from this proximity of verses that the Torah permits a mixture of wool and linen in a garment of Tzitzis. Consequently, a linen garment is also obligated to have Tzitzis (of wool) attached to it.

Beis Shamai argues and does not apply the tool of "Semuchin," and thus Beis Shamai does not permit Sha'atnez in a garment of Tzitzis. Beis Shamai therefore reasons that since the Techeles strings are made from wool, the Torah certainly does not require that we place them on a garment made from linen, for doing so would create a forbidden mixture of Sha'atnez.

We rule in accordance with 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), however, points out that according to Rashi's explanation, it 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 as well. 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 we rule like Beis Shamai.

Once we rule that a linen garment is exempt from Tzitzis, we apply the ruling of Rebbi (38a) who says that without Techeles, one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis with "Lavan" (white strings). Consequently, says the Ba'al ha'Me'or, 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, challenging him how would he fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzis. This implies that Rav Katina did not wear any Tzitzis on his linen garment, even strings of Lavan.

The RAMBAN (in MILCHAMOS HASHEM, Shabbos ibid.) defends the view of the Rif.

He explains that the Rif learns like Rashi, as we explained above. In addition, he takes issue with the Ba'al ha'Me'or's statement that we rule like 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 Rambam also asserts that it is illogical to say that it 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. We know that 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 wanted 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, we 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 says that one should not place Tzitzis on a linen garment, one who fears Hashem should be stringent and not make Tzitzis out of a linen garment. The REMA adds that if one only has 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 as well.)

The SHA'AR HA'TZIYON there writes that the view of the VILNA GA'ON 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 started based on the word 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)


OPINIONS: We have learned in the previous Sugyos that whether or not Tzitzis must be placed on a garment depends on many factors, including the type of material from which the garment is made. Our Gemara records an argument regarding the defining factor of a garment that is obligated to have Tzitzis. Rava and Rebbi Zeira maintain that if a "Beged," a garment made from wool, has corners that were made from leather, it is obligated to have Tzitzis. If, on the other hand, the garment was made from leather and its corners were made from wool, it is not obligated to have Tzitzis, even mid'Rabanan. The LEVUSH (OC 10:4) explains that this is derived from the verse, "They shall make for themselves Tzitzis on the corners of their garments" (Bamidbar 15:38). A garment ("Beged") is made from cloth material that has been spun and woven, and not 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 exact opposite -- a garment made from wool that has corners made from leather is exempt Tzitzis, while a garment made from leather that has corners made from wool is *obligated* to have Tzitzis. Rav Achai maintains that we determine the primary composition of a garment (whether it is wool or leather) by the material from which its corners are made.

Which opinion do we follow as the Halachah?

(a) The Gemara itself says that Rava's reasoning is that we determine the composition of the garment based on what the main part of the garment is made from, and not 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 we determine what type of material a garment is made from by looking at the part of the garment that actually covers a 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 the ROSH (#10) rule in accordance with the opinion of Rava.

(b) The MORDECHAI (#942) quotes the TOSFOS SHANTZ who apparently holds that we must take into account Rav Achai's opinion. He says that we cannot prove from the Gemara here that a woolen garment that has corners covered with leather are invalid for Tzitzis. 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 are covered in a protective layer of leather, are still valid for Tzitzis.

It is apparent from the Tosfos Shantz that he rules like Rav Achai, for if he rules like Rava, then this argument is not necessary.

In addition, 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 was merely being stringent to follow both opinions.

HALACHAH: The BEIS YOSEF (OC 10) says 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 and make sure 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 the Mordechai as saying 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 that way *we* rule (like Rava), such a garment needs Tzitzis. Nevertheless, the Mordechai certainly would agree to the Beis Yosef's paraphrase. The SHITAH MEKUBETZES (#2) quotes the RI as saying the exact statement of the Beis Yosef. (Y. Montrose)

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