How to wear a tallit

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The Tallit also pronounced as Tallis, is a special prayer shawl worn by Jews when they recite their morning prayers. It can also be worn during the Jewish holidays as well as during Sabbath.

How does the different kinds of Tallit look like?

The Tallit is a special shawl that has knotted fringes on four corners. These fringes are known as tzitzit. It is also known as arba kanfot. As per Biblical commandments, the tzitzit is supposed to contain blue thread.

Ancient traditions

As per traditional Jewish customs, the Tallit is gifted by a father to his son or teacher to student. Most synagogues have plenty of such Tallit shawsl for the Jewish devotees.

Personal devotional space

The modern Tallit is still worn by every Jewish devotee. As per the custom of the Jews, the Tallit should never be worn on the skin directly. It should always be worn over some clothing. In fact, the word Tallit is derived from two words namely Tal and Ith. Tal means tent and ith means little. Hence, the Tallit is a small tent, which can be worn to create a personal space to express one’s devotion.

Men and women wearing Tallit

Traditionally, it is mostly men who wear the Tallit as women are not obligated to wear it. However, authorities such as the Rambam, Isaac ibn Ghiyyat permit women to wear the Tallit. Jewish women are exempt from the Jewish commandment performance and hence wearing the Tallit can be considered as an act of arrogance. However, in today’s times, women can wear the modern Tallit.

Unity in differences

When praying amidst a congregation, the Tallit helps neutralize any exterior differences. Thus, while people of different financial status and ethnicities pray, there is no difference between them because all the people wear Tallits.

Colors and materials

The modern Tallit comes in several colors, black and blue being the most popular. The black Tallit is used for mourning while the blue one looks like the Israeli flag. Other colors can represent various aspects or things. Materials commonly used in the Tallit include silk, wool, linen, acrylon etc.

Things to ensure while wearing a tallit

If you are a woman and wish to wear the Tallit there are a few things you need to keep in mind namely:

- Neckband held at either end
- Fringes are correct and held in place
- Repeat the blessing
- Place the Tallit over your head. Bring the neckband as near the mouth as possible
- Bring the Tallit across the shoulders

While wearing a Tallit it is essential that you say the blessing or prayer. In this manner, you heighten the awareness of wearing this religious garment. While putting on the Tallit you need to hold one end of the garment at either end of your collar. The Hewbrew words on the Tallit need to be towards you and be placed so their right side is upwards. You can kiss all the ends of the collar or atarah during this point.

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