OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses Rav's ruling that Tzitzis made by Nochrim are not valid. He derives this from the verse, "Speak to Bnei Yisrael and say to them, and they shall make for themselves Tzitzis on the corners of their garments" (Bamidbar 15:38). The Torah's emphasis here that Moshe Rabeinu is to speak to "Bnei Yisrael" implies that Tzitzis may be made only by a Jew, and not by a Nochri.
However, the words "Bnei Yisrael" also imply that only men may make Tzitzis. If a woman makes Tzitzis, are they valid?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Minayin) says that a woman may make Tzitzis. This is implied by the fact that the Gemara says only that a Nochri may not make Tzitzis.
Tosfos asks that the Gemara later (42b) derives from the Hekesh of "u'Keshartam" with "u'Chesavtam" that with regard to Tefilin, "those who cannot wear them cannot write them," and since women cannot wear Tefilin, Tefilin made by women are Pasul. Why does the Gemara not teach a similar Derashah with regard to Tzitzis, and say that "those who cannot wear Tzitzis cannot make them"? Tosfos answers that there is no similar Hekesh with regard to Tzitzis; there is no Hekesh between wearing Tzitzis and making Tzitzis.
This is also the opinion of the SEMAG (Mitzvas Aseh 26), ROSH (#13), and the TUR (OC 14).
(b) The MORDECHAI (#949) says that there are some authorities who maintain that Tzitzis made my women are Pasul, like Tefilin made by women. The Mordechai quotes the RI who argues that this is not the Halachah, but he then writes that he found that the MAHARAM was stringent that women should not make Tzitzis. Accordingly, the Mordechai suggests that the requirement that Tzitzis be made by a man is only l'Chatchilah. B'Di'eved, Tzitzis made by a woman are valid.
However, the HAGAHOS MAIMONIYOS (Hilchos Tzitzis 1:9) states that the Maharam ruled that women should not make Tzitzis because the verse says "Bnei Yisrael," implying that only Jewish men may make Tzitzis, and not Nochrim or Jewish women. He explains that this refers only to the tying and knotting of the Tzitzis strings, but not to making the garment or manufacturing the strings themselves.
(c) The Hagahos Maimoniyos quotes the opinion of RABEINU TAM, cited by TOSFOS in Gitin (45b). Rabeinu Tam rules that a woman should not make any object used for a Mitzvah that she is not commanded to perform, such as binding together the Arba'as ha'Minim or making Tzitzis. Rabeinu Tam derives this from the Gemara's statement about Tefilin, and he applies it to all other Mitzvos. The Hagahos Maimoniyos mentions that there was a woman in Troyes who used to make Tzitzis, and Rabeinu Tam ruled that they were Pasul, in accordance with his opinion.
However, the Gemara in Avodah Zarah (39a) seems to contradict the view of Rabeinu Tam. The Gemara says that there was a woman who used to tie Tefilin onto the arm of her husband, who was a Talmid Chacham. According to Rabeinu Tam, how could the woman have tied the Tefilin onto her husband's arm? Since she is exempt from the Mitzvah, any act that she does for the Mitzvah should not be valid. The Hagahos Maimoniyos gives two explanations. It is possible that when the Gemara says that she tied them on his arm, it means that she merely helped him tie them, and not that she did the actual tying. Alternatively, Rabeinu Tam rules only that a woman cannot make the object of a Mitzvah from which she is exempt, such as writing the Parshiyos of Tefilin or tying Tzitzis or Arba'as ha'Minim, but she may help a man perform the Mitzvah with the completed object.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 14:1) rules like the first opinion and says that a woman may make Tzitzis. The REMA records the second opinion and says that, l'Chatchilah, it is proper to have one's Tzitzis made by a man. (The Rema in DARCHEI MOSHE comments that he has seen only men make Tzitzis.)
The MISHNAH BERURAH records only the reason of the Maharam to explain the Rema, and not that of Rabeinu Tam (who learns from Tefilin to all other Mitzvos). In the BI'UR HALACHAH (DH l'Hatzrich), he explains that the reason why he recorded the Maharam and Rabeinu Tam is that the Darchei Moshe, Olas Tamid, and Artzos ha'Chayim all quote only the Maharam in their rulings, implying that the Maharam's explanation is the accepted one.
A Halachic difference between the reasons of the Maharam and Rabeinu Tam exists in the case of Tzitzis made by a child. According to the Maharam, Tzitzis made by a child are valid, since a child is included in the term "Bnei Yisrael." According to Rabeinu Tam, it stands to reason that since a child is not commanded to perform the Mitzvah and cannot write the Parshiyos of Tefilin (42b), he also cannot tie Tzitzis. The Bi'ur Halachah says that one should be stringent l'Chatchilah with regard to Tzitzis made by a child, since the PRI MEGADIM and the DERECH HA'CHAYIM mention Rabeinu Tam's reason for why women cannot make Tzitzis. (See the Bi'ur Halachah there regarding a child tying his own Tzitzis, and whether or not he should untie them and make them again when he reaches the age of Bar Mitzvah.) (Y. MONTROSE)


OPINIONS: Rav rules that Tzitzis made from "Kotzin," "Nimin," and "Gardin" are Pasul. Tzitzis made from "Sisin" are acceptable. Shmuel says that even Tzitzis made from "Sisin" are Pasul, because Tzitzis must be spun Lishmah, with specific intent for the Mitzvah of Tzitzis.
What exactly are these different materials, and what is the basis of the argument between Rav and Shmuel?
(a) RASHI explains that Kotzin are strings that hang off of a garment, which are usually cut off and discarded. Nimin are strings that hang off of a garment after it is sewn. Gardin are rings of excess cloth which are still attached to the garment. All of these types of strings are invalid as Tzitzis, since they were not tied onto the garment Lishmah; they were simply attached to the garment as part of its manufacturing process (see also Rashi to Sukah 9a, DH Pesulah). However, if one detaches these strings from the garment and then ties them back with specific intent for the Mitzvah of Tzitzis, then they are valid Tzitzis.
According to Rashi, Rav maintains that the strings of Tzitzis must be put onto the garment with intent for the Mitzvah, but they do not need to be spun Lishmah. Therefore, Rav says that Sisin, which Rashi (Sukah 9a, DH Sisin) explains are balls of thread (which were already spun), are valid as Tzitzis as long as they are put on the garment Lishmah. Shmuel argues, because he maintains that the strings used for Tzitzis also need to be spun Lishmah.
(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR in Sukah (9a) in the name of the GE'ONIM argues with Rashi's explanation of the Gemara. He translates Kotzin as pieces of wool that are caught on thorns, left there by the sheep that walked near the thorns and rubbed up against them. Nimin are hard strands which are found in freshly sheared wool. Gardin are leftover strings that are disqualified from use as Tzitzis even if they would be detached from the garment and re-attached. This is also the explanation of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tzitzis 1:11).
Why are these types of strings unfit to be made into Tzitzis? The Ba'al ha'Me'or explains that the verse of "ha'Kanaf," "the corner" (Bamidbar 15:38), teaches that Tzitzis strings must be made from the same material from which the garment is made, and not from material which is never made into a garment.
The BEIS YOSEF (OC 11) gives a different reason for why these types of strings are Pasul. He writes that it is "Bizuy Mitzvah," a disgrace to the Mitzvah, to make Tzitzis out of such things.
According to the explanation of the Beis Yosef, Rav was not discussing the issue of making Tzitzis with or without proper intent.
It is interesting to note that the Rambam's ruling is the exact opposite of Rashi's ruling. The Rambam rules (1:11) that the Tzitzis must be spun Lishmah, and he also rules (1:12) that if the Tzitzis were put on without any intention (by a Yisrael), they are still valid. The YAD BINYAMIN states that it is apparent that the Rambam maintains that the laws of spinning are more stringent than the laws of the actual tying and knotting of the Tzitzis, which do not need to be Lishmah. As mentioned above, Rashi maintains that everyone agrees that the tying and knotting of the Tzitzis must be done Lishmah. Rav and Shmuel argue only about whether or not the spinning of the strings must be Lishmah. (Y. MONTROSE)