Donning The Tallit
Putting on the Prayer
Tallit, commonly referred to in English as a
"prayer shawl," is a four-cornered garment or cloak to which the tzitzit
are affixed. The tzitzit endow the garment with its religious
significance. The term
tallit is derived
from the Hebrew-Aramaic verb
The Tallit is worn during the Shacharit (Morning) service. Among Sephardic and
German Jews, the Tallit is worn even by children, but in most Ashkenazic
congregations it is worn during prayer only by one who is or has been married.
The preferred material is wool, but silk is also used in making the tallit.
Minhag (Custom) is that although one is to recite the appropriate blessing over
each garment upon donning it, but one who wears a tallit at Shacharit does not
recite the blessing
al mitzvat tzitzit
(regarding the commandment of tzitzit) when donning the tallit katan. Instead
before donning the large tallit he has in mind that the blessing
lehitatef batzitzit (to wrap ourselves in tzitzit) should apply to
Before donning the Tallit, one also must examine the tzitzit carefully for
tangling and torn strings (torn strings invalidates the tzitzit and the garment
may not be worn).
Bless Hashem, O my soul; Hashem, my G-d, You are very great;
You have donned majesty and splendor; cloaked in light as with a garment,
stretching out the heavens like a curtain
Many recite the following declaration of intent before donning the tallit:
For the sake of the unification of the Holy One, Blessed
is He, and His Presence, in fear and love to unify the Name -
vav-kei - in perfect unity, in the name of all Yisrael.
I am ready to wrap my body in tzitzit, so may my soul, my two hundred
forty-eight organs and my three hundred sixty-five sinews be wrapped in the
illumination of tzitzit which has the numerical value of six hundred thirteen.
Just as I cover myself with a tallit in This World, so may I merit the
rabbinical garb and a beautiful cloak in the World to Come in the Garden of
Eden. Through the commandment of tzitzit may my life-force, spirit, soul, and
prayer be rescued from the external forces. May the tallit spread its wings over
them and rescue them like an eagle rousing his nest, fluttering over his eaglets
(Devarim 32:11). May the commandment of tzitzit be worthy before the Holy
One, Blessed is He, as if I had fulfilled it in all its details, implications,
and intentions, as well as the six hundred thirteen commandments that are
dependant upon it. Amein Selah!
Unfold the Tallit and hold it in readiness to wrap around yourself, and recite
the following blessing:
Baruch atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech ha-olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvatov
v'tzivanu lehitatef batzitzit
Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who
has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to wrap ourselves
Wrap the tallit around head and body and recite:
How precious is Your kindness, O G-d! The sons of man
take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. May they be sated from the abundance
of Your house; and may You give them to drink from the stream of Your
delights. For with You is the source of life - by Your light we shall see
light. Extend Your kindness to those who know You, and Your charity to the
upright in heart (Tehillim 36:8-11).
Tehillim 104:1 Bless Hashem, O my soul. Hashem, my G-d, You are very great; You have donned glory and majesty; 2 covering with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a curtain.
Devarim 32:11 He was like an eagle arousing its nest, hovering over its young, spreading its wings and taking them, carrying them on its pinions.
Artscroll Complete Siddur
- To Pray As A Jew - Rabbi Hayim Donin
- Encyclopedia Of Jewish Concepts - Philip Birnbaum