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What is a Tallit Prayer Shawl?

The Tallit or Jewish prayer shawl is a rectangular garment with Tzitzit strings tied to each of its four corners which help to remind the Jews of God and His commandments. In terms of Jewish law and tradition, the tallit is considered a ritual object for this commandment.

Historically, only men used to wear the tallit during prayers at the synagogue, but with the change in time and mindset, nowadays women are also adorning the tallit prayer shawl during special or daily occasions in the synagogue. Furthermore, there is a smaller garment called the tallit-katan, which is worn every day all day long, in order to keep the mitzvah of the tzitzit at all times.

According to ShulchanAruch, only a woolen or linen garment can be used for the fulfillment of the mitzvah, and therefore, the tallit should only be made out of pure ewe’s wool. Also, garments made of synthetic materials carry the obligation of Tzitzit (Rabbinic ruling)- as per some Jews traditions. As so, there are also cotton and polyester tallitot.

The source of the commandment is mentioned in the Torah:

…” Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the lord, so as to do them”… (Numbers 15, 38-41)

The Torah says that the purpose of this mitzvah is to remind the person of the commandments of God and to distance him/her from following the wrong intentions of his/her eyes and heart. It means to distance him/her from evil influences or deeds. The tallit assists the worshipper to find focus in the prayers; thereby, creating a barrier between him and his surroundings.

In Ashkenazic communities (which comprise the majority of the Jews today), it is traditional for men to wear a prayer shawl or tallit after their Bar Mitzvah ceremony. It is custom that the Bar Mitzvah boy or Bat Mitzvah girl receive their first Tallit prayer shawl from their parents or grandparents.

In the Sephardic tradition, young boys from the Bar Mitzvah age or even earlier need to wrap themselves in the prayer shawl, while in Yemenite communities, the ritual is to wear the tallit from the age of about five years. Although the tradition has been entirely abolished but historically in Yemen, the boys would wear the tallit all day long, folding it narrowly over the shoulder when outside.

What are the principles of buying a suitable tallit for men and women?

In summary,

● First, decide whether you want a traditional or a modern design tallit.
● Choose from the collection of prayer shawls made from wool, polyester, cotton, silk or any other material.
● Select the exact size according to your height.
● Pick the color and style of your preference.
● Select the tzitzit: smashing or handmade, thick or thin, or machine-made.
● Order a tallit bag and kippah for thetallit and add a personalized name embroidery to the tallit bag, enhancing it as a meaningful Jewish gift.

To Sum Up

Galilee Silks has a tremendous variety of tallit prayer shawl sets in traditional and modern designs that comes with a matching bag and kippah to suit all your needs. No matter whether you are looking for tallit for boys, girls, men or women, you can find high-quality Tallits in a fantastic selection of colors, handmade in Israel at an affordable price. Visit the online webshop today!

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