Perhaps your son, grandson or nephew is getting Bar Mitzvah-ed? You’re getting married, or your daughter or granddaughter is and you want to know what to buy the groom?
The Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl is the fitting present in any of the above scenarios. In Sephardi circles boys over the age of Bar Mitzvah wear a Tallit. According to Ashkenazi custom, a man wears a Tallit after he gets married. There is also a custom to make a blessing over a new Tallit under the wedding canopy.
What is the special message of the Tallit?
The message of the Tallit essentially lies in its fringes on the four corners. These fringes are meant to remind the wearer of G-d and His commandments and his obligation to fulfill them.
Moreover, according to Kabbalah, scholars of the Torah wear the Tallit over their heads as this signifies the light of the Torah that envelops them. Most of us are not Torah scholars but there are those with the custom of covering their head for the entire prayer. This act creates a special, private space for the wearer. The envelopment helps him to focus on personal connection with the Almighty.
Some pointers for the Tallit buyer
- Traditionally, the Tallit is worn flowing down the back with two shoulders draped over the shoulders. Conservative and Reform Jews often prefer a smaller Tallit, some often as small as scarves. It should be noted that according to Orthodox Judaism one cannot fulfill the commandment of Tallit with such a Tallit as according to the letter of the law it needs to cover the entire body.
- Regarding the color of the Tallit, traditional Tallitot (plural of Tallit) are white, often woolen with stripes which are usually black. There are also different colors of stripes. Modern Tallitot can come in many different materials and colors. They will often still have a white background but may have colorful silk paintings or embroidery on them.
- The edge of the Tallit that is worn over the head or shoulders is called the Atarah. Some men will have Hebrew text or their name embroidered onto the Atarah. Others have a band of silver-colored metal sewn into it.
Have a look over here at our selection of Tallitot. We supply Tallitot in materials such as wool, silk, cotton and polyester. Whether you’re looking for something traditional, modern or handmade we provide all styles. In addition, if you’re looking for that extra special touch, we can personalize the Tallit for your loved one.