What is a Tallit?
(pronounced ta LEET)
The tallit is a rectangular Jewish garment used traditionally by men during morning prayers as a prayer shawl. Most often woven of linen, wool, or silk, with stripes across each end. The area around the neck may be embellished with words from Scripture. It is a mitzvah from the origins of Jewish commandments.
On each of the four corners are fringes- tzitzit- often but not always interwoven with blue to call to mind the commandments of the Lord, as detailed in the Old Testament book of Numbers 15:37-41
The Lord said to Moses as follows: Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the Lord and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge. Thus you shall be reminded to observe all My commandments and to be holy to your God. I the Lord am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I, the Lord your God.
- One meaning attributed to the word Tallit is "small tent", and appropriately a personal place for prayer when worn as a prayer shawl.
- In the Jewish tradition, the tallit is worn at morning prayers excepting the Friday evening Torah reading, the Yom Kippur Kol Nidre service, and the evening service of Simchat Torah; major Jewish celebrations (bar/bat mitzvah, weddings, etc.) also call for the wearing of the tallit.
- In modern culture women do wear Tallit, and the acceptable fabrics of Judaic orthodoxy are often replaced with synthetic fine fabrics.
- Messianic Jews who are believers in Jesus also use prayer shawls in worship.
- Before putting on the tallit a prayer is said: "Blessed are You, O Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to wrap ourselves in the fringed garment."