Tzitzit…Positive Commandment 14

The 14th mitzvah is that we are commanded in the actions1 involving tzitzis.

The source of this commandment is G‑d‘s statement (exalted be He), "And it shall be to you as tzitzis…And they shall attach a thread of blue on the fringe of each corner."2

Although we have a basic principle,3 "The lack of blue thread does not prevent one from fulfilling the mitzvah of white thread, and the lack of white thread does not prevent one from fulfilling the mitzvah of blue thread," [and, as explained in the 11th Principle,4 this would be sufficient indication that they are independent and count as two separate mitzvos,] nevertheless, they are not counted as two mitzvos.

This is stated explicitly in the Sifri:5 "One might think that there are two mitzvos: the mitzvah of blue thread and the mitzvah of white thread. However, the Torah says, ‘And it shall be to you as tzitzis. 6 This shows that it is only one mitzvah, not two."7

Women are exempt from this mitzvah, as explained in the beginning of tractate Kiddushin.8

All the details of this mitzvah have been explained in tractate Menachos.9


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FOOTNOTES
1.

As mentioned above in P12 and P13, all aspects of the mitzvah are included; in this case, the actual spinning of the strands, tying them to the garment, and wearing the garment. See Kapach, 5731, note 65.

2.

Num. 15:38.

3.

Menachos 38a.

4.

That elements of a single mitzvah (such as the four species — lulav, esrog, etc.) are counted as one mitzvah. When one element can be fulfilled separately, however, such as here, this Principle indicates that they should count separately.

5.

Parshas Shelach.

6.

Num. 15:39.

7.

Therefore, since our Sages say explicitly that it is one mitzvah, we cannot count it as two (unlike, tefillin, which the Sages call two mitzvos; see P13). See Megillas Esther, end of Principle. 9.

The reason the Sages called it one mitzvah, according to this line of reasoning, is because the verse refers to the tzitzis in singular form — "it." See Kinas Sofrim, Principle 11.

8.

33b. Since the mitzvah is not in effect at night, it is considered a "time-bound mitzvah," from which women are exempt.

9.

38a ff.

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