Women Wearing Tzitzis

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 14/7/2019

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Women Wearing Tzitzis

Although women don’t wear Tzitzis,[1] there were a few that did.


The Gemara[2] tells us that R’ Yehuda would affix Techailes (Tzitzis) to the four-cornered cloak of his wife. R’ Amram Chasida also placed Tzitzis on his wife’s cloak.[3]


The Levush[4] writes even though by other מצות עשה הזמן גרמא; positive commandment governed by time like Succa and Lulav women are accustomed to performing and saying a Bracha…, by Tzitzis they are not accustomed to except by one out of a thousand like Michal Bas Shaul and the like. Therefore they shouldn’t wear Tzitzis.   


It is said that the first Rebbitzen of the Ohr Hachaim (1696-1743) wore Tallis and Tefillin like Michal Bas Shaul.[5] It is also related that the second wife of the Ohr Hachaim as well did this.[6]


The Maharil[7] (1365-1427) writes …although I saw women who wear Tzitzis and one of them live in our neighborhood,[8] it seems that it is strange, it is considered Gaava and they are called הדיוטות.


Let us conclude with the comments of Targum Yonasan on לא יהיה כלי גבר על אשה;[9] male garb shall not be worn on a woman- לא יהיה גוליין דציצית ותפילין; a woman shouldn’t wear Tzitzis and Tefillin.

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] See Orach Chaim 17:2

[2] Menachos 43a

[3] Succa 11a. R’ Yehuda and R’ Amram Chasida held that Tzitzis is a מצות עשה שלא הזמן גרמא; positive commandment not governed by time, and as such, women are also obligated in it (See Rashi s.v. לפרזומא and Tosafos to Succa 11a, s.v. דרב עמרם).

[4] Hilchos Tzitzis 17:2

[5] Sefer Maaseh Tzadikim 1:2, authored by R’ Avraham Halevi Ibn Shushan. Also see the Sefer Ner HaMaarav p 217 authored by R’ Yaakov Moshe Toldano (1880-1960), Av Beis Din of Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt.

[6] Sefer מסעות ירושלים, מאמר סדר יום שני הערה 11. See, however, שו"ת ים הגדול, 40, authored by R’ Yaakov Moshe Toldano, who writes that he is puzzled concerning the Ohr Hachaim’s wife wearing Tefillin, as it goes against what it says in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 38:3 that we protest against a woman who wants to wear Tefillin… So, how could the Ohr Hachaim not protest against his wife doing this? (see אוצר פלאות התורה, Bamidbar, pg 554)

[7] שו"ת מהרי"ל החדשות, Siman 7

[8] This was Rebbitzen Bruna and he didn’t protest since she may not listen and on something like this Chazal said מוטב שיהיו שוגגין ואל יהיו מזידין; (Beitza 30a) it is preferable that they be unintentional violators and not be deliberate violators (Maharil, Minhagim Hilchos Tefilin, 4).

[9] Devarim 22:5

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