A Tallit (or Tallis) is prayer shawl worn while reciting morning prayers (Shacharit) as well as in the synagogue on Sabbath and holidays.
The tallit has special twined and knotted fringes known as tzitzit attached to its four corners.
There are actually two types of Tallit. The one that is worn during prayer services is called a Tallit Gadol (a large Tallit) and the Tallit Katan
(Small Tallit) which is worn as an undergarment. Both of them have tzitzit. Different customs for making the knots have evolved during the years.
The Torah commands us to wear Tzitzit on the four corners of our garments. Many Orthodox Jewish men wear the Tallit Katan to fulfill this commandment.
The blessing that is said before putting on the Tallit
Baruch ata Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivonu l’hitatef ba’tzitzit.
Praised are you, Lord our G-d, Sovereign of the Universe, who has made us holy with the Mitzvot and instructed us to wrap ourselves with tzitzit.
Putting on the Tallit
1) Say the Blessing above.
2) Put the Tallit on over shoulders and back
3) Fold the Tallit over your shoulder
4) Side view of how it looks finished
Interesting facts about the Tallit
- A Tallit is worn during the Shacharit (Morning Service), with the exception of Yom Kippur Kol Nidre (which is held at night and Tisha B’Av (when it is worn in the afternoon).
- Tallit is always put on before Tefillin. This is because Tallit are worn every day and tefillin are not worn on Shabbat and Holidays.
- Many traditional men and boys wear a Tallit Katan under their shirts all day. They use a Tallit Gadol just during morning prayers.
- Many people follow the custom of bringing the tzitzit to their lips and kiss them each time the word “tzitzit” is mentioned during the reading of the Shema.
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