|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 6
Tosefta 151[If a person] makes a Lulav (date palm branch)2 for himself he says [the following Beracha (blessing) after completing it]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shehigiyanu Lazman Hazeh.3 When he takes it (i.e. the Lulav) [on the holiday of Sukkot] he says [the following Beracha]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Al Netilat Lulav.4 And he must say this Beracha [before taking] it all seven days [of Sukkot].5 [If a person] makes [a garment] with Tzitzit (fringes)6 [on it] for himself he says [the following Beracha after completing it]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shehigiyanu Lazman Hazeh. When he wraps7 himself in it he says [the following Beracha]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehitatef Batzitzit.8 And he must say this Beracha [before he puts on the garment with Tzitzit] every day.9 [If a person] makes Tefillin (phylacteries)10 for himself he says [the following Beracha after completing it]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Shehigiyanu Lazman Hazeh. When he puts it on he says [the following Beracha]: Baruch [Ata Hashem Eloheinu Melech Haolam] Asher Kideshanu Bemitzvotav Vetzivanu Lehaniach Tefilin.11 When does he put them (i.e. Tefilin) on? In the morning. [If] he did not put them on in the morning he [can] put them on the whole day.12
מסכת ברכות פרק ו
העושה לולב לעצמו אומר ברוך שהגיענו לזמן הזה. כשהוא נוטלו אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על נטילת לולב. וצריך לברך עליו כל שבעה. העושה ציצית לעצמו אומר ברוך שהגיענו לזמן הזה. כשהוא מתעטף בה אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להתעטף בציצית. וצריך לברך עליהן בכל יום. העושה תפלין לעצמו אומר ברוך שהגיענו לזמן הזה. כשהוא מניחן אומר ברוך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להניח תפלין. מאימתי מניחן? בשחרית. לא הניחן בשחרית מניחן כל היום כולו.
- The Tosefta continues on the same subject from the previous Tosefta. It is not related to any Mishna.
- The Torah commands each person on the holiday of Sukkot to take the four species. See Vayikra 23:40. They are: an Etrog (a citron), a Lulav (a branch of a date palm), Hadasim (myrtle branches), and Aravot (willow branches). These 4 species are tied into a bundle and picked up on Sukkot. The Tosefta singles out the Lulav specifically because it is the biggest of the four species; however it is referring to the whole bundle together, since the Lulav by itself cannot be taken. It must be taken together with the whole bundle as the Torah commands.
- See note 5 on the previous Tosefta. According to the Tosefta the Beracha of Shehechiyanu is said after preparing any item for the performance of a Mitzva.
- ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על נטילת לולב – Blessed You Hashem, our God, King of the world, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to take the Lulav. As with all Berachot said on the performance of Mitzvot, the Beracha is said right before the person performs the Mitzva and not after it, as was explained in note 3 on the previous Tosefta.
- The Torah explicitly says that the four species bundle has to be taken only on the first day of Sukkot and not all seven days. See Vayikra 23:40. However Talmud Bavli (Sukkah 45b-46a) explains that during the times of the Bet Hamikdash the Lulav was taken in the Bet Hamikdash itself all seven days. After the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash the Rabis decreed that all people everywhere should take the four species all seven days as well as a commemoration of the Bet Hamikdash. Therefore on the first day of Sukkot it is a Torah obligation to take the four species, where as on all consequent days of Sukkot it is a Rabbinical commandment. As was mentioned in note 2 on the previous Tosefta, even Rabbinical commandments require a Beracha. This poses a problem with the wording of the Beracha since in the Beracha we say the word “Vetzivanu” meaning that it is God who commanded us to perform this Mitzva, how can it be said on a Rabbinical commandement since it was not God who commanded us to perform it in the Torah, but rather the Rabbis. This issue is resolved by the Talmud Bavli (Shabbat 23a) by explaining that since God in the Torah has explicitly commanded us to listen to the Rabbis (see Devarim 17:11) it is therefore as if each Rabbinical commandment has been commanded by God directly and therefore the wording of the Beracha remains valid even when said on Rabbinical commandements.
- The Torah commands to put Tzitzit (fringes) on all four cornered garments. See Bemidbar 15:37-41. There is no obligation to specifically wear a four cornered garment in order to put Tzitzit on it, but rather if a person wants to wear a four cornered garment then he has to put Tzitzit on it. In ancient times four cornered garments were very common and mainly served as cloaks. Today such garments are still generally worn in Central and South America and are called ponchos or chamantos. If a Jew would want to wear a poncho he would have to put Tzitzit on it. Jews today wear special garments not for the purpose of clothing themselves but rather to specifically fulfil the Mitzva of Tzitzit. Such a garment is called a Tallit. A large Tallit is usually worn during morning prayers which a person wears over his shoulders on the outside of his clothing, where as a small Tallit is worn all day as an undergarment. I have seen religious Jews wearing the small Tallit with Tzitzit and at the same time wearing a poncho on the outside of their clothes without Tzitzit on it, because that is the way they bought it in the store. This is a clear violaton of the Torah commandment, but I guess they do not realize that they have to put Tzitzit on every four cornered garment that they wear including the poncho.
- Since most ancient four cornered garments were cloaks the person put it on by wrapping himself in it.
- ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להתעטף בציצית – Blessed You Hashem, our God, King of the world, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to wrap in Tzitzit.
- The Mitzvah of Tzitzit applies only during the day and not at night. The reason is because the Torah says (see Bemidbar 15:39) that the Tztzit have to have a blue string that a person must be able to see. Since at night it is dark and people cannot see without artificial lighting the Mitzvah of Tzitzit does not apply. As was explained above in note 7 on the previous Tosefta, if a Mitzva is not continuous, meaning that there is a period when a person is obligated in it (i.e. day) and a period of exemption (i.e. night) then every time the person performs the Mitzva again he has to say a new Beracha on it.
- The Torah commands in four different places to tie the words that contain specific verses in the Torah to a person’s arm and between the person’s eyes, meaning on top of his head in between his eyes. See Shemot 13:9, Shemot 13:16, Devarim 6:8, and Devarim 11:18. The Torah does not describe what Tefillin should look like exactly. By oral tradition we know that Tefillin is black leather boxes with leather straps on them that contain inside them the parchments with the paragraphs from the Torah that contain the verses that mention Tefillin. It should be noted that this tradition of what exactly should be written inside the Tefillin was not always universal. During the excavations at Qumran, in Israel, together with the Dead Sea Scrolls there has been found Tefillin which looked almost exactly the same as our Tefillin, but besides the regular paragraphs it also contained the text of the Ten Commandments and other verses. For a detailed discussion of the Tefillin discoveries and what Tefillin may have looked like in ancient times see Yehudah Cohn, Tangled Up in Text: Tefillin and the Ancient World, Brown Judaic Studies 351, Society of Biblical Literature, 2008.
- ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להניח תפלין – Blessed You Hashem, our God, King of the world, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to put on Tefillin. It is clear from the Tosefta that the custom in Talmudic times in the Land of Israel was to say only one Beracha when putting on Tefillin, which covers both the Tefillin on the arm and the Tefillin on the head and not two Berachot as is the Ashkenazi custom today. For a discussion on this matter see Talmud Bavli (Menachot 36a and Berachot 60b) and Tosafot (Berachot 60b, Asher).
- The Mitzvah of Tefilin really applies the whole day, but not at night. See Talmud Bavli (Menachot 36b). However since the person might forget to put on Tefilin the Rabbis recommended to put it on the first thing in the morning. However if the person was unable to do so or forgot he could do it the whole day. The Tosefta seems to imply that most people in its times wore Tefilin only for a short period of time each day and not the whole day and therefore a person might forget to put on Tefillin all together, because if Tefillin was worn all day long then the Tosefta would not need to specify when it should be put on, since it would be worn all day long. Therefore the Rabbis recommended putting it on as early as possible. For a discussion of various sources regarding when Tefillin was worn in Talmudic times see Yehudah Cohn, Tangled Up in Text: Tefillin and the Ancient World, Brown Judaic Studies 351, Society of Biblical Literature, 2008, p. 132-133.
President George Bush Jr. of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russia
wearing traditional Peruvian ponchos at the APEC summit in Lima, Peru, in November 2008 Chilean Chamantos at the APEC summit in Santiago, Chile on November 20-21, 2004.