The Color of the Tallit

One who is looking for a Tallit can be overwhelmed by the fantastic selection of colors available today on the market. It should be noted that there are no specific rules regarding what color a Tallit must be. The color of the garment is not the important aspect- rather, the fringes that hang off the four corners and the measurements of the Tallit are the important details.


Tallit

Traditionally, Tallitot have white backgrounds, as well as blue or black stripes. The blue stripes were meant to represent the special Techelet dye that was reportedly used in centuries gone by on ritual fringes. In the Bible, G-d commands the Jewish males to wear fringes on the corners of their garments so as to have a visual reminder of Him and His commandments at all times. Part of the commandment is to wear a blue fringe among the white fringes. Once upon a time, the source of this blue dye was known- today it’s source is the subject of debate. Therefore, it became traditional for people to have blue stripes on their Tallitot, representing the blue we are commanded to wear on our fringes.

In recent years there has been a tendency to wear all sorts of color schemes on Tallitot. There are those who prefer to stick with the traditional white background, seeing as white symbolizes purity. In the same line of thought, it is rare to find people wearing Tallitot with black backgrounds as black is seen to signify mourning, death and grieving.

Today, the white Tallit with blue stripes has an additional meaning, due to these colors being the colors of the Israeli flag too. This is not happenstance- the Israeli flag was actually modeled off the Tallit.

There are those who will go for shades of gold and silver on their Tallit due to the luxurious effect that these colors evoke. Carrying out G-d’s commandments in the most beautiful way possible is highly regarded in Judaism and these colors seem to add a special effect to the commandment of wearing a Tallit.

The choosing of a Tallit today can be a highly personal experience, with each person choosing the color scheme that most suits him. There is nothing more enjoyable than being able to put on a Tallit every morning that truly does one good to look at and envelop himself in. Although the color of the Tallit is a side detail, it can definitely be used to create a truly personal prayer experience.

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