This week we got an inquiry from someone who was essentially asking if our tzitzis are kosher! A bit blunt, but I suppose it's a legitimate question.
Who ties the tzitzis? I hope you don't mind me asking. Are they made lishmah/is there a hechsher on the tziztis tying? Do the beged, strings and tying all have to be lishma? All the best, Ari
P.S. The site is very informative.
I explained to Ari that when you see a hechsher on a tallis gadol or tallis katan, you have to read the small print. Usually it just means the tzitzis strings have a hechsher. Just about all tallis katan products have a hechsher that covers the strings, but not the tying or the beged.
The tallit katan garment definitely does not have to be lishmah. Anyone can make the beged -- a woman, a child, a goy, etc. Obviously it can't have shaatnez, but shaatnez is not an issue with a tallis katan, and only very rarely with a tallis gadol. The key to kashrus of a tallis katan beged is that the holes are properly positioned (they should be 5 cm from the edges; if they are 7 cm or 3 cm from the edges, you have a problem on your hands) and that the dimensions of the beged are sufficient. The latter is a very complex issue (see here and here).
The strings definitely do have to be lishmah. The big question is from which stage. Most people who adhere to halacha carefully choose hand-spun (not niputz lishmah, which is according to strict opinions, and not machine-spun, which is according to lenient opinions). To understand the issue, see here and here.
The tying also has to be lishmah, but that's pretty easy. You have to say, "leshem mitzvah tzitzis" when you get started (and again if you get distracted at any point). Who's qualified? I've never gotten a reliable answer to that question. In Israel, manufacturers who need to have 10,000 or 20,000 or 50,000 tzitzis tied (i.e. machine spun on undershirt tzitzis, etc.) sometimes even take them to prisoners (which is not necessarily posul)!
One moreh hora'ah told me the geder is if it's someone who wears tzitzis, he's qualified to tie tzitzis. I don't think that's an authoritative opinion, but in practice, I think that's fairly common.
Our tzitzit tie-er is a kollel man with over ten years' professional experience tying. He comes from a very erlicht, respected family in Bnei Brak.