A tallit (also called prayer shawl) is a rectangular mantle-like garment worn around the shoulders like a blanket. Traditionally it's composed of wool; however cotton or silk may also be used occasionally.
Tallits, according to Torah law (Numbers 15:38), feature four fringes called tzitzit at each corner, two in front and two behind.
why does a tallit have stripes?
A tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl made of wool, cotton or silk material and usually features blue or black stripes with fringes (tzitzit) attached at its four corners as specified in Scripture (Numbers 15:38).
The Tallit is one of the most vital pieces of ritual clothing worn by Jews. Worn during morning prayers as well as Yom Kippur and other holy days, and often worn by prayer leaders in many communities during other services.
Tallits come in various styles and designs. White is typically the go-to color choice; however there may be religious sects which prefer other hues.
Historically, a tallit was a large rectangular mantle worn as clothing or as burial shroud by Jewish individuals during biblical times and still worn today as an emblem of identity and Jewish pride.
G-d commanded His people, the Israelites, to attach tzitzit (four-cornered string) to their garments throughout their lives as a reminder of His commandments and to keep wearing clothing with four corners. If clothing styles change in the future, Israelites would still need tzitzit as an anchor point on which they could base a new garment design using the same four corners as before.
Additionally, it was used as a way of representing the four sections of the Hebrew Bible – Torah, Prophets, Writings and History. Furthermore, it reminded Israelites of their royal connection with G-d and His commandments.
Tallitot are known for featuring multiple blue stripes woven into the white material, according to Zohar teachings which relates this idea to representing kindness (chesed) vs. aggression or hostility (gevurah).
Some individuals are beginning to add an embroidered collar with blessings they can recite when donning their tallit, providing an easy and practical solution for those unable to memorize them but wanting a way of recreating them when wearing their tallit.
Tallit is traditionally composed of coarse half-bleached lamb's wool. Although Maimonides and Alfasi did not support using silk for making tallitot, some strictly observant Jews prefer tallitot made from this material.
why is the tallit blue and white?
A tallit is an iconic Jewish prayer shawl. Typically white with blue stripes to represent its color-coding of tzitzit fringes – fringes on its corners used during prayer – this religious garment often bears blue tzitzit fringes required for prayer.
According to the Hebrew Bible, God ordered that each corner of a standard garment – known as a tallit – should be fringed with tzitzit. This tradition later evolved into the Israeli flag and continues today.
In the past, tzitzit strings were often dyed using tekhelet, an extract obtained from snail shells which produced an intense dark blue hue.
Rabbinic sources assert that the color tekhelet was inspired by the clear sky on a clear day, as well as representing nobility and status granted from God.
Rabbis continue to believe that original tekhelet was an extremely expensive blue dye. Many also believe it is no longer possible to obtain such dye; however, recently an effective formula for creating blue strings on tallits or tzitzits has been discovered and made widely available.
Blue and white hues have long been part of Jewish life, from Hebrew Bible pages to Israeli flag designs and Hanukkah decorations.
While traditional tallits feature white stripes, any hue is possible; Ashkenazi communities have even begun using colored tallits during Bar Mitzvahs and weddings.
Tallits feature white with blue stripes for another reason – these colors were chosen because they represent those used on Israel's flag, designed by the Zionist movement in 1891. Furthermore, these hues also symbolize Hebrew letters – making the tallit a very significant symbol within Judaism itself.
A tallit is an iconic and beautiful symbol of Jewish tradition that can be treasured through generations to come, deepening one's connection to Israel and deepening one's sense of tradition. A great present for any special event — from weddings and Bar Mitzvahs to birthday parties!
why is tallit sacred?
Tallit, or prayer shawl, is an integral component of Jewish tradition and should be worn sacrosanct. Ideally it covers head and shoulders; however, different garments may also serve this function.
The tallit is an essential part of Jewish prayer and should be worn by every Jew, representing an essential symbol of Jewish identity and belonging.
Wool shawls are large woven shawls made from wool that come in various colors; most commonly white with blue or black stripes.
Traditional tallits are considered kosher; however, other materials and designs may also be suitable.
Traditional tallits were traditionally woven of fine wool; however, modern versions can now be found made of cotton or even raw silk – although many traditionalists prefer the look of an all-wool tallit.
As part of the construction of a tallit, it is customary to attach fringes known as tzitzit that symbolize the 613 commandments of God to each corner. When attaching them, they are sometimes tied in knots for more security.
God instructed Moses to instruct the Israelites that they should attach fringed garments with 613 commandments of the Torah as a reminder. These fringes serve as a visual representation and help keep these laws fresh in their minds.
To comply with this commandment, Israelites devised a special type of tallit known as a tallit gadol; it serves as prayer shawl that all male participants in morning services in synagogues wear during morning services; additionally in many communities this prayer shawl may also be worn by the leader during afternoon and evening prayers.
A tallit is an object of great spiritual significance that should be constructed with care and meticulous detail. A well-constructed tallit will allow for enhanced prayer experience and bring confidence and enjoyment when praying with it.
Why buy a handmade tallit?
Tallit (prayer shawl) is one of the most recognizable items of Judaica, worn during prayer services and Torah readings as well as marriage ceremonies and circumcisions and Bar/Bat mitzvahs by Jews worldwide.
Authentic tallit prayer shawls are often constructed out of wool. These prayer cloths typically feature blue and white (with or without gold accents), black or all-white hues or even be made of wool/silk blend.
These beautiful shawls are both beautiful and highly practical. Made from durable fabric that breathes well and feels soft against your skin. Wear it all day long comfortably!
As well as being lightweight and wrinkle resistant, the fabric is also odor-free and takes up minimal space when travelling.
Most modern commercial tallits are comprised of polyester and wool blends, which are less costly than pure wool varieties while adding durability and drape to their shawls.
However, if you wish to uphold Jewish law strictly, 100% wool fabric tallits may be more appropriate and easier to find in stores.
When shopping for a tallit to wear during morning prayer services, it is crucial to purchase one that satisfies Jewish law standards. A quality tallit should include a kippah (head covering), bag for holding tefillin and atara (neckband).
By supporting an artist by purchasing handmade tallits, you are giving back something tangible that makes them feel accomplished and valued – something a large chain store cannot provide.
Handmade tallits make great gifts because you can personalize it to reflect your beliefs while making it even more memorable. Customization makes the purchase even more meaningful.
Are you shopping for yourself or someone else? A handmade tallit is an ideal addition to any prayer wardrobe, providing peace, comfort and strength that are difficult to come by in other items.