what is the purpose of the Jewish prayer shawl?


#1

I am hoping someone here can explain the purpose of the Jewish prayer shawl. Also, do the fringes on the ends have any significance? I am asking this because a Protestant co-worker asked me and I didn’t have an answer.
Any Jewish people on this site? :wave:


#2

Hi Blanka!

You posted:

Any Jewish people on this site? :wave:

Me!

I am hoping someone here can explain the purpose of the Jewish prayer shawl. Also, do the fringes on the ends have any significance? I am asking this because a Protestant co-worker asked me and I didn’t have an answer.

Try this (jewfaq.org/signs.htm#Tzitzit):

**Tzitzit and Tallit **

http://www.jewfaq.org/graphics/tzitzit.gifThe Torah also commands us to wear tzitzit (fringes) at the corners of our garments as a reminder of the mitzvot. Num. 15:37-41. There is a complex procedure for tying the knots of the tzitzit, filled with religious and numerological significance.

The mitzvah to wear tzitzit only applies to four-cornered garments, which were common in biblical times but are not common anymore. To fulfill this mitzvah, adult men wear a four-cornered shawl called a tallit (pictured above) during morning services, along with the tefillin (jewfaq.org/signs.htm#Tefillin). Strictly observant Jewish men commonly wear a special four-cornered garment, similar to a poncho, called a tallit katan (“little tallit”), so that they will have the opportunity to fulfill this important mitzvah all day long. The tallit katan is worn under the shirt, with the tzitzit hanging out so they can be seen. There is no particular religious significance to the tallit (shawl) itself, other than the fact that it holds the tzitzit (fringes) on its corners. There are also very few religious requirements with regard to the design of the tallit. The tallit must be long enough to be worn over the shoulders (as a shawl), not just around the neck (as a scarf), to fulfill the requirement that the tzitzis be on a “garment.” It may be made of any material, but must not be made of a combination of wool and linen, because that combination is forbidden on any clothing. (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11). Most tallitot are white with navy or black stripes along the shorter ends, as in the illustration above. They also commonly have an artistic motif of some kind along the top long end (the part that goes against your neck). This motif is referred to as an atarah (crown).

There is no particular religious significance to the atarah; it simply tells you which end is up! It is quite common, however, to write the words of the blessing for putting on the tallit on the atarah, so you can read the blessing while you are putting the tallit on. If a blessing is written on your tallit, you should be careful not to bring the tallit into the bathroom with you! Sacred writings should not be brought into the bathroom. For this reason, many synagogues have a tallit rack outside of the bathroom.

I wear a tallit katan under my shirt. I usually tuck the fringes in my pants along with my shirt, but if I’m wearing a shirt that I don’t tuck in, then I let the fringes hang out.

I wear my much bigger regular tallit only during morning prayers. I got it a few days before DW & I got married (some men start wearing one right after their bar mitzvah, others wait until they’re married; I meant to wear it during the wedding ceremony jewfaq.org/marriage.htm but I forgot it…:o ). There’s one day (jewfaq.org/holidayd.htm) a year when it is worn for afternoon (not morning) prayers & & one day (jewfaq.org/holiday4.htm) when it’s worn all day.

A Jewish man is usually buried with his big tallit (with one of the fringes cut) over the mandatory shroud. At funerals (jewfaq.org/death.htm) in which the deceased is a man, men who customarily wear their fringes out will tuck them in, out of respect for the deceased (who, of course, is exempt from fulfilling the Torah’s 613 precepts, of which the precept to wear fringes is one; to wear fringes out would be to remind the deceased that we can fulfill precepts while he cannot & this is considered disrespectful).

Howzat?

Be well!

ssv :wave:

I mea


#3

Dear stillsmallvoice,

How good to know this:

quote: stillsmallvoice

A Jewish man is usually buried with his big tallit (with one of the fringes cut) over the mandatory shroud. At funerals (jewfaq.org/death.htm) in which the deceased is a man, men who customarily wear their fringes out will tuck them in, out of respect for the deceased (who, of course, is exempt from fulfilling the Torah’s 613 precepts, of which the precept to wear fringes is one; to wear fringes out would be to remind the deceased that we can fulfill precepts while he cannot & this is considered disrespectful

).

There is a sense of delicacy in this that is inspiring.

Best,
Maureen


#4

Dear stillsmallvoice,

Thank you so much for the response. What a thorough and beautiful explanation! I will share this info with my co-worker.
I am delighted to know that there are Jewish people on this forum. I have a great respect for Judaism because it is the deep root of our Catholic faith. I have frequently made positive remarks about the Jewish faith at work so I guess my Protestant co-worker thought I must know the answer to his question! :nerd: It is sad that Catholics do not know more about Judaism and it’s history.
Your willingness to answer my question has been a great blessing.
G-d bless you! :bowdown2:


#5

Yes, the Jewish prayer shaw is beautiful and one cna see a parallel to the stole a priest wears at Mass in part. This past summer I was fortunate enough to attend an orthodox Jewish Synagouge as part of a college course. The Rabbi and others were quite helpful in explaining different parts of the Shabbat and features in the Sanctuary that I saw similarities to the Catholic Mass. Thanks and God Bless.


#6

Hi all!

Maureen, you posted:

There is a sense of delicacy in this that is inspiring.

I think so too.

Blanka, you posted:

Thank you so much for the response.

You’re welcome!

What a thorough and beautiful explanation!

Thank you!

I have a great respect for Judaism because it is the deep root of our Catholic faith.

I have a similar respect for Roman Catholicism.

It is sad that Catholics do not know more about Judaism and it’s history.

It is similarly sad that too few Jews know anything about Catholicism.

G-d bless you!

Thank you (I need all the help I can get)!

slinky1882, now that you mention it, why do priests wear stoles?

When I travel abroad, I always pack my tallit, little paperback prayerbook & my tefillin (see the link in my first post) in my carry-on baggage. This is because I do not want to risk losing them & I often find that I have to say morning prayers either on the plane or in the airport (because if I wait till I get where I’m going, it’ll be too late in the day). When I was last in the USA (Hanukkah 2001), our oldest boy & I flew from Pittsburgh (where I’m originally from) to Ft. Lauderdale (where I have relatives). There was no time for me to pray either at home or at the Pittsburgh airport, so I waited until the plane was at cruising altitude & then went & stood by the nearest bulkhead. I put onmy black leather tefillin (phylacteries) & then pulled my big tallit over my shoulders. It drapes all the way down to the floor. It took me about 25 minutes. When I was finished & turned to take everything off, I could see quite a few people watching me & a few kids simply staring. I don’t/didn’t mind! To one who has never seen an orthodox Jewish man at morning prayers, we must be quite a sight.

Sometimes, when I’m in the right mood & I really want to especially concentrate on my prayers or some verse from the day’s scriptural reading, I’ll pull my tallit over my head & then it’s like everyone & everything is shut out & it’s just me & God under there & I can commune with Him privately.

Ideally, when a Jew wraps himself in his tallit, he should be wrapping himself in the Divine Presence.

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#7

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Hi all!

Maureen, you posted:

I think so too.

Blanka, you posted:

You’re welcome!

Thank you!

I have a similar respect for Roman Catholicism.

It is similarly sad that too few Jews know anything about Catholicism.

Thank you (I need all the help I can get)!

slinky1882, now that you mention it, why do priests wear stoles?

When I travel abroad, I always pack my tallit, little paperback prayerbook & my tefillin (see the link in my first post) in my carry-on baggage. This is because I do not want to risk losing them & I often find that I have to say morning prayers either on the plane or in the airport (because if I wait till I get where I’m going, it’ll be too late in the day). When I was last in the USA (Hanukkah 2001), our oldest boy & I flew from Pittsburgh (where I’m originally from) to Ft. Lauderdale (where I have relatives). There was no time for me to pray either at home or at the Pittsburgh airport, so I waited until the plane was at cruising altitude & then went & stood by the nearest bulkhead. I put onmy black leather tefillin (phylacteries) & then pulled my big tallit over my shoulders. It drapes all the way down to the floor. It took me about 25 minutes. When I was finished & turned to take everything off, I could see quite a few people watching me & a few kids simply staring. I don’t/didn’t mind! To one who has never seen an orthodox Jewish man at morning prayers, we must be quite a sight.

Sometimes, when I’m in the right mood & I really want to especially concentrate on my prayers or some verse from the day’s scriptural reading, I’ll pull my tallit over my head & then it’s like everyone & everything is shut out & it’s just me & God under there & I can commune with Him privately.

Ideally, when a Jew wraps himself in his tallit, he should be wrapping himself in the Divine Presence.

Be well!

ssv :wave:
[/quote]


This is awesomely so holy! I have noticed that Jewish men and women and younger people have no problem praying intensely in public. Their prayer in front of the Western Wall, bobbing their head back and forth, totally immersed in prayer. I was amazed!

I t reminds me of my confession at St Luke’s Mission in Buffalo, where there was the Divine Mercy novena was being prayed (along with a healing Mass). There was a byzantine priest (actually he was bi-ritual) and I needed to go to confession. I noticed that when he heard confession, he wrapped the penitent with his stole over the head and around the other shoulder. I was taken aback for I have never seen this…so I went to him for I also needed consolation. Being wrapped in the stole, I felt the awesome presence of God, the love and mercy of Jesus and the peace of the Holy Spirit. We talked for one half hour and I felt so blessed for such an experience…but it was also humbling.

stillsmallvoice, the stole for the priest is the sign of priesthood. Tassles usually fringe it and the colour of it would match the liturgical season (purple for advent and Lent, white for Easter, black for funerals, green for ordinary time, red for Pentecost and the death of a martyr in the Church, etc, etc)He wears it for all celebrations of the Holy Mass, confessions, anointing of the sick, etc.

It was this stole that wrapped my body and soul in God’s presence. This symbolism had a profound effect on me…

Blessings,
Shoshana


#8

Yes, that is beautiful the prayer in public. And here’s an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia related to the stole:

newadvent.org/cathen/14301a.htm

Apparently, the origin of the stole is not realted to prayer shaw. I find this interesting as when I visited the synagouge several of the members said it was. **stillsmallvoice **do you have any ideas on this??? Thanks and God Bless.


#9

Hi all!

Shoshana & slinky1882, thank you for telling me about the stole. Slinky1882, you posted:

And here’s an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia related to the stole:

newadvent.org/cathen/14301a.htm

Apparently, the origin of the stole is not realted to prayer shaw. I find this interesting as when I visited the synagouge several of the members said it was. **stillsmallvoice **do you have any ideas on this???

No, I have no idea. I always assumed that the stole was a kind of vestigial tallit but that article seems to rule this out.

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#10

:clapping: Whenever I go to shul and that is often, I love to see the tallitot that the men and women wear. Yes. In my shul, women wear them also especially if they have had their Bat Mitzvah. I am a Conservative Jew who converted from Catholicism and the shul or synagouge that I attend is what is called “Conservadox” or Conservative Judaism with Orthodox overtones.

I love to see the tallit worn. The meaning of it is so very awesome and my love for Judaism grows each and every time I see it. Even though I am an adult woman, I am entering the program for Adult Bat Mitzvah. When I finish my studies in this, I, too, will be able to wear my tallit. Judaism is so practical, so life-affirming. I am grateful to G-d that I a Jew.

Bat-Ami

mountsinai.blogspot.com


#11

[quote=Bat-Ami]:clapping: Whenever I go to shul and that is often, I love to see the tallitot that the men and women wear. Yes. In my shul, women wear them also especially if they have had their Bat Mitzvah. I am a Conservative Jew who converted from Catholicism and the shul or synagouge that I attend is what is called “Conservadox” or Conservative Judaism with Orthodox overtones.

I love to see the tallit worn. The meaning of it is so very awesome and my love for Judaism grows each and every time I see it. Even though I am an adult woman, I am entering the program for Adult Bat Mitzvah. When I finish my studies in this, I, too, will be able to wear my tallit. Judaism is so practical, so life-affirming. I am grateful to G-d that I a Jew.

Bat-Ami

mountsinai.blogspot.com

[/quote]


:crying: :crying: :crying:


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