When I decided I wanted to create my own line of tallitot, there was a big learning curve. One of the challenges was learning to tie on tzitzit. I have to confess -- it seemed really daunting. This is why I offer to tie them on for anyone who orders one of my tallitot. But that said, once you get the hang of it, tying tzitzit is actually really easy. Moreover, it is a mitzvah and can be a very meaningful experience!
Tzitzit are the four fringes that hang from the corners of a Jewish prayer shawl, which is called a Tallit. The fringes symbolize a commitment to G-d’s commandments because numerical value of tzitzit, coupled with the number of knots and strings used to make these fringes, is 613, equal to the number of commandments. Tying your own tzitzit is a meaningful mitzvah. If you are giving a tallit to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah child who is entering the Jewish community as an adult for the first time, you may consider doing it together as a family.
Here are some quick directions to help you out. If you still feel like tying on your own tzitzit is too big a challenge, don’t worry, I am happy to tie them on for you before sending your tallit your way – just choose that option before you check out.
10 Steps to Tying your own Tzitzit
Your pack of tzitzit will come all bundled together, but when you take it apart you will find that it has four sets of four strings (one for each corner). In each set will be three strings of the same length and a longer one. The longer string is called the Shamash (yep, just like the lighting candle on Hanukkah!). You will use the shamash to wrap around all the other strings in the set.
1. Pick the corner you want to start with. Place four strings (three of the same length and the shamash) through the hole. Even the ends so that you have seven that are the same length and one longer one.
2. Tie a double knot using four strings on each side. While you tie the knot, you may want to say “LeShem Mitzvat Tzitzit” – for the sake of the commandment of tzitzit. You can repeat this each time you tie a knot.
3. Take the shamash and wrap it seven times around the other seven strings.
4. Tie another double knot.
5. Take the shamash and wrap it eight times around the other seven strings.
6. Tie another double knot.
7. Take the shamash and wrap it eleven times around the other strings.
8. Tie another double knot.
9. Take the shamash and wrap it around thirteen times. This is your last wrapping for this corner!
10. Finally, tie one last double knot. Let the rest of the string hang free. They may not be even and that’s ok! Repeat for the other three corners of your tallit.
So don't be scared, pick your favorite tallit from the Wearable Art Tallit Collection. All my tallitot come with a pack of kosher wool tzitzit and whether or not I tie them on for you or you want to take on the mitzvah yourself is entirely up to you. Mazel Tov!