Tallit & Tefillin Gift Guide
For most men, and sometimes women, saying tefillah- prayers- on a weekday morning or on Shabbat, does not just involve a Siddur- prayer book. During the week, all men over the age of 13 wear Tefillin- phylacteries- while saying the Shacharit- morning prayer. Married men and Sephardi boys over Bar Mitzvah age also wear a tallit, which is also worn during Shacharit on Shabbat and holidays but without the tefillin. These two special items represent the connection between the Jewish people and Hashem, showing that they acknowledge someone above them. Both items have a special history and meaning to them.
The tallit resembles an article of clothing worn in biblical times and was actually the inspiration for the Israeli flag. Choosing a tallit is never easy because there are just so many to choose from! There are traditional tallitot to choose from like this black stripped one and modern ones like this Jerusalem one or any of these silk tallitot. There are also plenty of handmade tallitot to choose from that are bursting with color. Yair Emanuel tallitot come with a matching kippah and bag which makes it perfect for a Bar Mitzvah boy or for anyone that wants to have a full matching set. A tallit is first worn at one's Bar Mitzvah or at one's wedding, and any of these would be a great choice for someone's first tallit.
Being that we wear the tallit on top of our clothing, we are also at risk for having it fall off. Tallit clips help keep the tallit in place, and look beautiful. Many of them are like adding a little piece of art used to exemplify this holy moment. The tallit clips at the Judaica WebStore have many different themes like the Ten Commandments, Star of David, the Kotel (Western Wall) and more. They are also made by some of Israel's most beloved artists such as Rafael, who incorporates exquisite materials into his works, like with these Menorah clips made with sterling silver and Jerusalem Stone.
Tefillin, also known as phylacteries, are worn by boys, and in some sects of Judaism by girls, after they become Bar Mitzvah age. The month before the Bar Mitzvah, boys often begin wearing tefillin during Shacharit- morning prayer- on weekdays, though never on Shabbat and holidays. There are two leather boxes that make up the set, both of which have leather straps and inside is a scroll with different quotes from the Torah, one of which is Shema Yisrael. One is placed on the upper arm and wrapped down to the fingers while the other is placed in the middle of the upper forehead. The idea of tefillin is mentioned a few times in the Torah, and some commentaries say that they are used as a reminder to focus on praying.
If you own your own pair of tallit and tefillin, having something to carry it in and keep it safe is important. There are many stylish options made by Israeli designers like this modern embroidered set and this classy silver and white set, and there are really practical choices that are popular in Israel like this protective case. Many of these come as a set but there are a few that come as just a tallit bag so you can bring it with you on Shabbat while looking good, like this Jerusalem bag. Tallit and tefillin bags are fashionable and will last you a long time while protecting your special tallit and tefillin purchases!