Tallit Buying Guide
The idea of wearing a tallit dates back to Torah times, when the Jewish people were commanded to attach "tzitzit" (fringes or knotted tassels) to the corners of any four-cornered garment. The purpose of this was to remind the Jewish people of the 613 mitzvot (commandments)- the Hebrew word "tzitzit" has the numerical equivalence of 600, and each tassel has 8 strings with 5 knots, which together equals 613. At the time, huge squares of white material were worn constantly as protection from the scorching desert sun, folded into scarves and wrapped around the shoulders in the evening when the desert's temperatures drop. When this stopped being normative practice, the Rabbis decreed that a four-cornered tasseled garment must be worn every day, so that the notion of tzitzit wouldn't be lost.
If you close your eyes and imagine what Jewish prayer looks like, the archetypal image that comes to mind is that of an older, bearded man, praying as the sun rises while wrapped in a prayer shawl. These shawls - or tallitot in Hebrew and talleisim in Yiddish - are worn by Jewish men (and a growing number of women) during prayer services, and are an iconic and integral part of Jewish clothing and image. After all, they are worn under the chuppah (marriage canopy), throughout the whole of Yom Kippur, and eventually, for burial. In some communities, boys begin wearing a tallit when they reach Bar Mitzvah; in others, men begin donning the garment at their weddings. In either case, the tallit is often given as a special gift from the boy's parents or the man's future bride.
Traditionally, talleisim can be made from wool, cotton, linen or silk, but most authorities on Jewish law champion wool as the best option. We carry a selection of beautiful traditional tallitot, made from pure, unblended wool, with classic blue or black stripes. This classic design has evolved over the years to include decorative corners and collars in a variety of colors and sizes. Want something a little more contemporary? There are plenty of colorful options as well! A tallit's stripes can really play off a person's personality, as seen with this gray, bordeaux, and silver tallit which gives off a more serious tone compared to this playful light blue and silver tallit.
Our range of modern talleisim includes talleisim made of a blend of synthetic fibers, suitable for vegans who avoid animal products like silk and wool. These are relatively simple talleisim that feature the traditional blue striped design, but there are also those that feature decorative stripes with stunning patterns like those of Jerusalem, tallesim with bases in beautiful colors, finishes and sizes. In this section you will also find the famously colorful Bnei Or tallit with stripes in every color. These tallitot are ideal for everyday use, and for stockpiling in the back of synagogues for members who may not have their own.
The designer tallesim that we carry are truely something special. Many of these include a fantastic display of hand painted designs, embroidery and applique in a number of vibrant colors, as seen with this multicolored musical tallit and this sheer lilac one. These designs feature stunningly decorated collars and yokes like this Jerusalem one, which make up truly beautiful shawls that will make anyone feel loved! Brightly colored tallesim are almost made for someone who enjoys making a statement and standing out among the average. One can choose between a solid white and let the decorations do the speaking, like with this embroidered Tree of Life or let the tallit as a whole impress those around you as with this peach colored one.
Talleisim have a tendency to slip off one's shoulders, which can be annoying to constantly fix when trying to pray, and tallit clips will solve that problem right away in style ! A subtle way to decorate your tallit and make it a little more special, tallit clips come in all different styles featuring Jewish symbols like the Star of David and the Lion of Judah that will perfectly match your tallit or add something to it that you feel is missing. Enamel clips will add some extra color to your tallit, as with these Shema Yisrael clips and others will bring you a bit closer to Jerusalem, like with these Jerusalem Stone menorah clips. Don't miss out on our exciting collection clips made from shining silver, colorful enamel, Jerusalem Stone and more!
Traditional talleisim are a square, making it difficult to know which way is up and which is down. Many chose to put an atarah along the collar to mark just that, while decorating their tallit. Atarah, literally translating to crown, is a beautiful piece of fabric often written with the blessing for the tallit, like with this Star of David one, that sits at the nap of the neck unless one wears their tallit over their head, then it really sits as a crown. However, one can also choose a beautiful embroidered one with an image of Jerusalem in color or outlined in silver, or just ornamental designs like pomegranates and flowers. While it is not necessary to have an Atarah, and many do in fact come with one, it can really add to the tallit by making it extra special.
If you've chosen the perfect tallit, you need to pick the perfect bag to store it in too! We have an alluring selection of bags crafted from the best-quality materials and featuring some of the most unique artwork in the Judaica world! Many of these bags also include a matching tefillin bag, added for convenience. In Israel, one of the most popular styles is this protective travel set, as Israelis are constantly on the go. One can choose between bags that say exactly whats inside like this velvet set or go for something more decorative, like anything from the embroidered selection, including this gold pomegranate bag set. There are even faux leather bags available that look luxurious, like this black one.