Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Series - Ben Ish Chai's Laws of Tzitzit

With H-shem's help, we would like to start learning Hilchot Tzitzit with the Ben Ish Chai, Hacham Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad. The sefer is translated by Shmuel Hiley and published by Yeshivath Ahavath Shalom Publications in Jerusalem 5765/2005. He calls the names of the Chapters by the names of Parashiot, so instead of Chapter One, the first chapter is called Parashath Bereshith, Laws of Ziziyoth. Please note these are for learning purposes only.  For the halacha lemaaseh, i.e. for what to do yourself please ask your own Rav.  So let's begin:

Parashath Bereshith, Laws of Ziziyoth, Page 1
1.  Before reciting the  berachah over the tallith, and wrapping oneself in it, one should have in mind to fulfill the commandment to wear a tallith with ziziyoth affixed to it according to Halachah, as it is written (Bemidhbar, 15:38) 'Let them make for themselves zizith on the corners of their garments.' [According to the Qabbalah], it is also necessary to have i mind that this commandment is one which is governed by time.

Before reciting the berachah, it is correct ot first recite the prayer beginning 'Leshem yihudh... I am preparing myself to don a tallith with ziziyoth affixed to it according to the Halachah, as H-shem, our G-d, commands us (ibid.) 'they shall make for themselves zizith on the corners of their garments....' One should also have in mind, as one wraps oneself in the tallith, that the Holy One, blessed be He commanded us to wrap ourselves in a tallith with ziziyoth affixed to it, so as to recall all of His commandments, in order to perform them.  The Poskim Ha'Aharonim write that whoever fails to meditate on the content of this prayer becomes the subject of the verse (Yishayahu, 29:13) 'And their fear of Me is {no more than} the practice of men acting out of habit.'

This learning should be in memory of Maran, HaRav HaGaon Ovadia Yosef, ztz'l.

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