Create your own personal space during prayer when you wear a tallit. The tallit, or prayer shawl, is an important part of the Jewish faith, so picking the right one that speaks to you is important, as it is used as a tool to facilitate your conversations with God.
The tallit, also known as talith or tallis, is a shawl that a Jewish person wears during prayer in order to create a personal meditative space. The name of the garment comes from two Hebrew words; "TAL" means "tent" and "ITH" means "little," so the word tallit literally means "little tent."
How a Tallit is Worn
A tallit is meant to cover your back, shoulders, arms, and head while you pray. The intention is to shut out the rest of the world so the quality of your prayers can be enhanced, allowing you to have a deeper and more meaningful conversations with God. By tradition the tallit is only worn during morning prayers, with the exception of the Yom Kippur Kol Nidre service. In some sects, the tallit is a garment only worn by men. A tallit can be made from wool, silk, linen, or synthetic material, as long as linen and wool isn't combined, as the Bible prohibits. It doesn't really matter which material the tallit is made from, or the pattern it has – what makes a tallit special are the tzitzit, or the fringes on the four corners of the prayer shawl. The tzitzit are a reminder from the Torah to carry out all of God's commandments.
Wool, Silk, or Cotton Materials?
There are benefits to each type of tallit, but ultimately it comes down to what you feel most comfortable with. A silk tallit provides a cool, luxurious feeling, while wool is a heavier and therefore warmer material. A cotton tallit is typically lightweight. One important thing to remember is to keep it kosher: a tallit must never contain a mixture of linen and wool, as stated in the Bible. The type of tallit you choose to worship in depends on your personal preference, and tallits come in many styles and colors, including simple and modest blue, silver, or black stripes, or bold and modern designs featuring images of Jerusalem.
Tallit clips are small objects connected by a chain which hold the two corners of the prayer shawl together, so it won't slip off while you're praying. They come in different styles featuring various symbols of Judaism, such as the Ten Commandments, the Star of David, the Hoshen Twelve Tribes, Hebrew Blessings, and scenes of Jerusalem. Tallit clips are can be made of metal or pewter, and some are even made of sophisticated materials such as gold or silver. Tallit clips make wonderful gifts, whether for a loved one or yourself.
Tzitzit Tallit Katan
Traditional Jews wear what is known as a tallit katan, or a small undershirt containing tzitzis. Though the term tzitzit refers to the fringes of the garment, sometimes the tallit katan is referred to as tzitzit. Tzitzis are only worn by men, and there are many different colors and styles to choose from. These garments make the perfect gift for the special man in your life, or a beloved male family member. As with the tallit, the tzitzit tallit katan is kosher and doesn't mix wool with linen.
Finding the right tallit may seem like a daunting task, but you'll know the right one when you see it. As with any other faith-related item, choose the one that speaks directly to your soul. The tallit is an intimate garment that enhances your prayer sessions, so choosing the right one is important in order to shut the rest of the world out and focus solely on your meditations with God.