A Tallit prayer shawl is a great piece of clothing to help you get ready for the mitzvah. It is worn by men attending synagogue and it’s a religious item that helps them pay attention to the ceremony. While it is a religious piece, a Kosher traditional Tallit Gadol has some fashion value also, and it is important to pick one that goes with your personality and tastes. The traditional Tallit Gadol has tassels of blue. These are part of the garment as directed in the Old Testament in Numbers 15:38-41. There are a couple of types of tassels, and you can definitely make a fashion or personal statement with the choice of fabric and tassels on your prayer shawl. Lighter blues provide a more subtle look, while brighter blues are more dramatic. The shawls come in a wide variety of colors and designs so that you can express your personal style as you participate in the mitzvah.
Choosing the Right Fabric
Black stripes are a common choice for a Tallit shawl, but there are more subtle weaves also that are not so dramatic. A bold look of black or colorful stripes works for some, but less outgoing personalities might choose a more monochrome design.
Perhaps the largest choice you can make when it comes to a traditional Tallit Gadol is the choice of thread type. Most Tallit shawls are made of wool, but you can also find some in certain types of acrylic or silk. The Biblical recommendation is wool, but acrylic Tallit shawls are Kosher if they are supervised by the Chief Rabbinate of Tel Aviv.
Most people buy wool shawls. There are a few major types of shawls made of wool. They are:
- 100% ewe’s wool shawls. These are made according to the rules of Halacha. Most of Poskin’s opinions tend toward this type of shawl. It is often called a “AA wool” shawl.
- The Kalit is a specially woven shawl developed by Mishkan Hatchelet. These shawls are developed for lightness and comfort. They come in an extra-large size also.
- Tashbetz’s Tallit is a specialty type made from wool squares. Its design enables the shawl to stay on the shoulders better.
Choosing a Size
No one wants a shawl that is too small. There are sizes for all ages and heights, with the men’s shawls being a good deal larger. There are many size charts available with an online search, or you can measure your old Tallit to get an idea of your measurements.
You can go a little longer if you want with a shawl, but not by much. The variant for average height is about five inches.
Choosing the Tassels
Besides the colors, the next fashion statement in a traditional Tallit Gadol is the type of tassel. You can get one or two threads of blue per eight strings in a tassel. They come machine made or handmade in all variants of the exotic or neutral. The goal is to choose a shawl that will help provide a barrier from the outside world while you pray.
Connecting with God isn’t always easy, but it can be a little easier with the right shawl. Dress well by choosing a shawl that goes with your complexion and doesn’t make you look either washed out or awkward, and you will likely have an easier time praying.
How things are made is of great value when shopping for clothing. The rare is usually more expensive, and if you are looking for a bargain you should consider an acrylic Kosher shawl. Prayer should be a good chance to connect with God, but you can also connect with others by wearing something that is in style and goes with your personality. If you are looking for something rarer, go for a more expensive wool and handmade dyes.