Jewish Prayer-Shawl explained


1 Jewish Prayer-Shawl in Scripture...
2 The Tallit is the Jewish prayer shawl
3 Representation of the Torah's 613 prohibitions &  affirmations
4 The ineffable Holy Name of G-d!
5 Halakhah” means “walk” or "Teaching's
6 "Shuts out” the world around you...
7 To recite a blessing, thanking G‑d (YHVH - HaShem} - צִיצִת -Tzitzis
8 Techelet (Blue Thread)
9 The strings of the tzitzit & Tallit must be inspected, to ensure that they are still kosher!
10 Prayer shawl - common use
11 What is the deeper significance of the Tallit?
12 So what is a woman who wishes to wear a tallit to do?
13 Kabbalah teaches...
14 To remove a Tallit before entering...
15 Tallis/Tzitzis, according the Chumash
16 Fringes of the Garment
17 The woman with the 12 years of blood issue
18 The "mantle" of Elijah
19 Related Links
20 Resources

Jewish Prayer-Shawl in Scripture...

And the L-rd said to Moses,  Speak to the Israelites and bid them make fringes {or} tassels on the corners in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and put upon the fringe of the borders {or} upon the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. And it shall be to you a fringe {or} tassel that you may look upon and remember all the commandments of the L-rd and do them, that you may not spy out {and} follow after [the desires of] your own heart and your own eyes, after which you used to follow {and} play the harlot [spiritually, if not physically], That you may remember and do all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d,  Who brought you out of the land of  Egypt to be your  G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d. (Numbers15:37-41)

The Tallit is the Jewish prayer shawl

The Tallit is the Jewish prayer shawl, the most authentic Jewish garment used during prayer that reminds the wearer of both G-d's Covenant and His Commandments that a believer must follow. During prayers, the custom is to wear a large rectangular garment with tzitzit (tallis gadol) and pray while wrapped in it. G-d gave His people a visual “picture” that would cause them to remember all the (613) commandments of the L-rd, and do them; so that they would not follow after their own heart and their own eyes! In ancient Israel man wore a four cornered tunic, and these tassels were connected to that tunic. The tassels were tied to the four corners of their garment {Prayer-Shawl}. This outer garment eventually throughout history became known as a (Hebrew) “Talith” (Jewish Prayer-Shawl)! It eventually evolved into a more formal Prayer-Shawl, which is what most Jewish people wear in their Synagogue of congregation or in a “Holy place”!

Representation of the Torah's 613 prohibitions & affirmations

Why the tassels? Because the tassels are what is important! (These Fringes) These tassels were to remind each Jewish man of his responsibilities to fulfill G-d’s 613 commandments!

The fringe tassels themselves are called tzitzit. Their strings and knots are a physical representation of the Torah's 613 do's and don'ts. Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a corresponding numerical value. The numerical values of the five letters "צִיצִת -Tzitzis" that comprise the Hebrew word tzitzit add up to 600. Add the eight strings and five knots of each tassel, and the total is 613.

There are 613 "laws" better: Instructions/teaching's in the Law of Moses! There are 365  prohibitions. Thou shall NOT” and 248  are  affirmations “Thou shall”! These knots also corresponded to the ineffable Holy Name of G-d! In the “Torah”, the Old Testament or Jewish writings: “YHVH”! (For that title of the Name of G-d)  {The word "Torah" means "teaching" or "instruction"; not "law"!}

Alternatively, the fringes are like a royal insignia, reminding their wearers that they are always in the service of the King. The reminder is provided by the symbolism of the turquoise thread, which is the reminiscent of the Throne of Glory!

The ineffable Holy Name of G-d!

No one has ever really knows for sure how to pronounce the ineffable Holy Name of G-d! (Except for some very elite Jewish Holy Rabbis’) So in the course of time they came to a Name:  the Name “G-d” and occasionally, when you read a Jewish writing or something written by a Messianic Jew and you get to the Name of “G-d” you will notice it  as “G-d”! They never spell out the Name "God"; they make a “form” of the Name for G-d, because they revere the Holy Name of G-d, even to this day to be so HOLY, that you should not even pronounce “it”! What they did is to take the Name “Adonai”, which come together with the Name for G-d and took the vowels of “Adonai” and put them in the name of “Y-H-V-H” and that’s how we came up with the Name “YHVH”, another   way Westerners say “Jehovah” which is not a right translation: see at: "YHVH Elohim" for more) They replace the first letter "Y" (Yud in Hebrew) "with the English letter "J",  which does not exist in the Hebrew Alphabet.

It is the Jewish practice never to write this Secret Name, but to replace it with the Name of HaShem / Adonai, meaning, "the L-rd". There is also a Rabbinical tradition of saying "G-d's Name simply as " HaShem", meaning "the Name"! It is a Jewish way in the Jewish literature that may appear odd to non-Jewish readers. When writing the Name  "God", the Jewish writer will leave out the "o" and write it "G-d"! This way the Name of G-d has  not been fully written; therefore it is not defiled.     See also: Is the Name of "Jehovah" the Name of G-D?

Halakhah” means “walk” or "Teaching's

Because they were hanging on the four corners of the garment they were in full view of everyone including the one wearing the garment. And G-d said "that this will be a constant reminder of G-d's laws". The translation of the Hebrew word for “law” which is “halakhah” it also means “walk” or "Teaching's"! The word "Torah" means "teaching" or "instruction"; not "law"! The translation of the word "Torah" are greatly misunderstood by most Christians. The Christian translators nearly always translate both "Torah" and "Nomos" as "Law" even though that is not the meaningfor either the Hebrew or the Greek! (Source: One new man bible; William J. Morford; Page1794/Glossary)

Here we see a very profound message from G-d! He wants us to have our daily walk governed by the {Law} Teaching's/Instructions of G-d! It’s not  something we visit on “Sabbath” and then forget the six other days of the week!   G-d said: I want to give you a garment that’s going to remind you about My Holy Law every moment of every day! So that you can look down and see G-d's 613 Commandments and know that you have to live every day of your life in such a fashion that you obey them and honor YHVH! Representing the "Teaching's" or the "Law" of G-d, by putting on a rope around it; literally tying it around yourselves and carrying "His Teaching's" is what G-d intended that wherever we go we will be constantly reminded of His Divine Word!

Today because Jewish people wear Western clothes, instead of Eastern clothes they keep this law by wearing a four corner garment as an undershirt. The little tassels are coming out of the four corners around their beltline, Why?  For the Orthodox Jew, this is their way of honoring the commands given to them in the Book of Numbers. This modern day undergarment (an adaptation of the traditional Prayer Shawl) keeps them focused on G-d’s commands throughout their day.

"Shuts out” the world around you...

When deep in prayer a Jewish man will put his prayer-shawl up over his head, and crosses over the fringes of the “tsiy tsith" representing the Law and the Name of a Holy G-d {YHVH}. A Jewish man will began to pray and in this fashion literally “shuts out” the world around him. Therefore when they pray under the “talith”, the prayer-shawl, they are symbolically and literally covering themselves with the Shekinah presence of G-d! From Ancient Biblical times a custom was a “prayer-clothed” If you ever visit a Jewish Synagogue or at the Western Wall in Jerusalem you will see a Jewish man praying, covered with his Prayer-shawl

·         The white color on Prayer Shawl is representing the purity and G-d's Heavenly Holy Throne! This is the dwelling place of the L-rd!

·         The  Blue Color representsRuach HaKodesh” the Holy Spirit of G-d! 

It’s likely was the L-rd Yeshua, Jesus the Christ, means in Matthew 6:6  for Yeshua/Jesus is talking about praying and He said: But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you {in the open}. (Matthew 6:6 Amplified)

The Greek word here for “closet” is the Greek Word “tameion”.  It literally means an inner chamber or “secret Room” (does not really refer the closet in your room or a room at home; but it could used as a double application!) The “closet” is actually the covering of the “Tallit”! Prayer is an intense intimate personal interaction between G-d and man! Prayer is dialogue, it means that man speaks to G-d and G-d speaks to man! You speak to G-d and then you hear from G-d! It is a conversation that occurs when a man is intensely focused entirely on communion with G-d, having “shut out” all the rest of what is in the world! You can easily get rid of the distractions!  When a Jewish man wraps himself in a “Prayer-mantle, he is secluded from everything external! So that his soul is consumed in thoughts of reverence toward G-d!

He realizes that just his “talith” adds value to his person, so his faith is to be effective! It must involve the totality of his life! All of a Jewish man’s actions throughout the day are directly connected with his faith! That is why they respond the way they do in protecting their land, in protecting their people! They don’t just go to the job and do their military stuff during the day and come home and think about G-d! We segment G-d to a certain day and segment G-d to a certain place! A Jewish man will have a “prayer closet” with him always reminding him of the "commandments" of G-d and of His Holy Name!

There is something's we need to discern, understand, learn and apply in our lives! Prayers sent to YHVH should not be a public display of vain repetitions characterized (acculturated) by religiosity! Prayer is a form of "2 ways" communication with G-d! It is most effective when all surrounding distractions are removed. This is why a Jewish man encloses himself in a “talith,” shutting off the mundane and elevating his spirit; only to commune with  G-d! A secret place of prayer!

The mitzvah of tzitzit is in the third section of the Shema, which is recited during the morning prayers. Therefore, during the morning prayers it is customary to don a tallit gadol (“big tallit”)—a prayer shawl. Wearing a tallit is the ideal way to observe the mitzvah, for only in a tallit is the individual enwrapped in the garment.

To recite a blessing, thanking G‑d (YHVH - HaShem} - צִיצִת -Tzitzis

The Hebrew writing on the “Atarah”

The Blessing is placed over the head, on the outside, just like the tent walls of the Holy Tabernacle so that they would always hang the same way. As the “Atorah” was placed over the head, it formed his own "tent". “Wings” of the garment were formed when the arms were held out.

Before performing a mitzvah, we are commanded to recite a blessing, thanking G‑d for sanctifying us with His commandments. The following blessing is recited before putting on the t

zitzit: (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9)

בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה' אֱ-להֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ עַל מִצְוַת צִיצִת

Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu al mitzvat tzitzit.
[Blessed are you, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the mitzvah of tzitzit.]

One who wears a tallit while praying need not recite this blessing. When reciting the blessing on the tallit, he should have in mind that this blessing covers his tzitzit as well.


Before the morning prayers, we put on the tallit before donning the tefillin. The ideal way to perform the mitzvah of tzitzit is by completely draping oneself in the fringed garment, which is accomplished only through wearing the tallit. A slightly different blessing is recited when putting on the tallit:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה' אֱ-להֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהִתעַטֵף בְּצִיצִת

Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu l'hit-atef b'tzitzit.
[Blessed are you, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to enwrap ourselves with tzitzit.]

The Shema

Related Links:

Techelet (Blue Thread)

The Torah commands us to include a blue ("techelet") fringe among the tzitzit fringes. This fringe must be dyed blue with the blood of a shellfish called "chilazon." This rare fish is a denizen of the Mediterranean Sea. After the Jewish people were exiled from the Holy Land {Israel}, the chilazon was no longer available. For many centuries Jews wore tzitzit without a techelet fringe.

If techeilles treads are unavailable, however, this absence did not prevent the performance of the blue thread, the commandment of tzitzis remains in effect nowadays even without techeilles

The original requirement was to have a blue thread among the white threads; however, since the precise shade of blue is no longer known and the source of the dye used, only the white threads are used (except among certain chasidic groups that claim to know the "dye formula").

In the past century, there have been certain venerable rabbis who claimed to have identified the chilazon, based on this fish's distinguishing features described in the Talmud. Since then, tzitzit with techelet has made a comeback, and one can often spot people sporting such tallitot. There are many, however, who have cast doubts on the re-identification of the chilazon.

 (Turquoise wool. One of the strings of each fringe is to be dyed turquoise  with the blood of an aquatic creature known as chilazon. The exact indentify of the creature that is the source of this blue dye unknown nowadays, so that techeilles is unavailable currently.

Rabbi Sholom DovBer, the fifth Rebbe of Lubavitch, maintained that according to the teachings of Kabbalah the chilazon will not reemerge until the coming of the Messiah!

Three commandsblue ribbon:

1. Tell Israel to make fringes upon the borders of their garments.
2. Put a ribbon of
blue on the fringes.
3. It is a sign for you to remember and do all the commandments of the L-rd (Numbers 15:39-40).

Related Links:

The strings of the tzitzit & tallit must be inspected, to ensure that they are still kosher!

Since torn tzitzit strings could invalidate the entire tallit (see The Garment and Fringes), the strings of the tzitzit and tallit must be inspected every day before they are worn to ensure that they are still kosher.

During the tzitzit inspection, it is proper to separate and disentangle the individual fringes. Each string is representative of a particular and unique mitzvah, and shouldn't be "entangled" with another.

Prayer shawl - common use

In most Ashkenazi communities, men begin to wear the tallit only after marriage (and continue to do so even if they are widowed or divorced). According to Sephardic tradition, boys begin wearing a tallit at the age of bar mitzvah (age 13) or even earlier.

In most communities, a person who is called up to the Torah for an aliyah—even if he is a bachelor or isn’t praying at the moment—dons a tallit out of respect for the congregation. Similarly, the chazzan always wears a tallit, even if he isn’t married, and even during the afternoon and evening services, when he is the only one who wears the tallit. On the other hand, many, including Chabad, do not follow this tradition.

What is the deeper significance of the Tallit?

The main idea of Jewish prayer is to connect to G-d. But how can a finite, limited human being connect to an infinite, unlimited G-d? Really, it should be impossible. But G-d wants a relationship with us, so He "limited" Himself. He did this by expressing Himself in creation. The world we live in is actually an expression of G-d and everything in it is G-d's work of art. We can't see G-d but we can see His creation. So just like by looking at a painting or hearing a song we can get a feeling of who the artist is, by observing the beauty of this world, its complexity and its rhythms we can begin to appreciate G-d.

The Tallit has two parts - the garment itself and the tzitzit or fringes. The garment surrounds our body, and the fringes hang off it. They represent the two aspects of G-d's being. His true self is totally beyond our capacity to grasp, represented by the garment that envelops us. It is only a tiny fraction of His being we can experience, the little fringes dangling off the corners, that we can experience.

No matter how holy we feel, G-d is infinitely Holier. He is the Tallit that surrounds us. But no matter how unholy we feel,  G-d comes down to us and asks us to talk to Him. He is the Tzitzit reaching down for us to grab onto and kiss. We need to have this in mind when we pray, so we wear a Tallit.

So what is a woman who wishes to wear a tallit to do?

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, eminent 20th century halachic authority, writes that a woman who desires to wear a tallit may do so, provided that she wears a distinctively feminine tallit. He cautions, however, that this applies only to women whose desire to wear a tallit stems from a yearning to fulfill the mitzvah, though recognizing that they are not required to do so, and not to individuals who don a tallit as a "protest," a means of challenging what they perceive to be a gender bias in Jewish law. Such an individual is not fulfilling a mitzvah, and to the contrary.

Kabbalah teaches...

Kabbalah teaches that the tallit garment is a metaphor for G‑d's infinite transcendent light. The fringes allude to the immanent divine light which permeates every element of creation. By wearing a tallit gadol or a tallit katan, a Jew synthesizes these two elements and makes them real in his life.

To remove a Tallit before entering...

It is customary, however, to remove a Tallit before entering a restroom. This is an act of respect accorded to a garment which is reserved for prayer It is customary, however, to remove a Tallit before entering a restroom. This is an act of respect accorded to a garment which is reserved for prayer  (The same for your kippah)

Tallis/Tzitzis, according the Chumash
Bamidbar/Numbers 37-41 Tzitzis and all the commandments
According the Chumash/ Stone Edition/ Commentary Pages: 816, 817; the Orthodox Jewish Torah

The commandments of the tzitzis, the Torah states, it is a "vehicle" that enable the Jew to remember all the Torah's precepts. The passage contains other general commandments that are essential to maintaining allegiance to G-d, and concludes with the oft-repeated statement that He took the Ancient Jewish people out of Egypt and as a consequence of that,,  the Jewish people (in that time and so today for us as well) obligated to accept Him as our G-d!

38  צִיצִת -Tzitzis i.e., fringes, Alternatively, the word refers not to the fringes themselves, but to what they call upon their wearers to do. The translated word "צִיצִת " " Tzitzis"  means to peer at something intently (Song of Songs 2:9), and as states in verse 39, one should look at the tzitzis  in order to remember all the commandments.

On the corners of their garments. The corners of a garment are accessible and visible, which is important in the context  of this commandment, since the fringes must be seen in order to serve as reminders. Garments are a person's means of playing a role, of presenting himself to the world as he would like to be perceived. It is important,  therefore that garments be "consecrated", as it where, with reminders of G-d, so that they not become the means to entice people away from His service

By performing this commandment with the proper intent, one can learn to see that G-d guides the world, so that, in effect, one sees Him and remembers the duty to be loyal to Him!.

Fringes of the Garment

*Hem: Greek:' kraspedon' (GSN-2899), a tassel of twisted wool (Matthew 9:20; Matthew 14:36; Matthew 23:5; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44). One was required at each of the four corners of the outer garment (Numbers 15:38-41; Deuteromony 22:12).  Pharisees considered tassels special marks of sanctity and sought to enlarge them (Matthew 23:5). 

 The woman with the 12 years of blood issue

She had heard the reports concerning Jesus, and she came up behind Him in the throng and touched His garment, For she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health. And immediately her flow of blood was dried up at the source, and [suddenly] she felt in her body that she was healed of her [distressing] ailment. And {Yeshua}Jesus, recognizing in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around immediately in the crowd and said, Who touched My clothes? And the disciples kept saying to Him, You see the crowd pressing hard around You from all sides, and You ask, Who touched Me? Still He kept looking around to see her who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done for her, though alarmed {and} frightened and trembling, fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health. Go in (into) peace and be continually healed {and} freed from your [distressing bodily] disease. (Mark 5:27-34 Amplified)

The woman with ‘the 12 years of blood issue’ had made a demand on the anointing-power of G-d! Her faith has made her whole! Just by touching in faith the “tassels” of His Garment! The L-rd spoke to her, that her trust and confidence; which is her faith, in Him, in G-d was the reason of her restored health.  (Mark 5:34 Amplified)

G-d will never say "No" to anyone who comes to Him in faith (Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:22; Mark 9:23; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:1-15; John 15:7,16; James 1:5-8). Jesus/Yeshua recognized that she had faith enough to get her healing. Here is an example of true faith and determination which all can follow with profit. The touch of faith is different from the physical touch but it is just as real. Too many people are looking to the faith of the preacher or the one who prays instead of getting and exercising personal faith. It is all covered by the promises of G-d. Personal faith comes by hearing the Word of G-d (Romans 10:17) and by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians. 12:4-11).  Nothing is impossible for our "faith" today as in woman's time (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:23).

Scriptural References:

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment; {The authority of a Jewish man} For she kept saying to herself, If I only touch His garment, I shall be restored to health. {Yeshua} Jesus turned around and, seeing her, He said, Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well. And at once the woman was restored to health.
(Matthew 9:20-22

And {Yeshua}Jesus said, Who is it who touched Me? When all were denying it, Peter {and those who were with him} said, Master, the multitudes surround You {and} press You on every side! But {Yeshua}Jesus said, Someone did touch Me; for I perceived that [healing] power has gone forth from Me. And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came up trembling, and, falling down before Him, she declared in the presence of all the people for what reason she had touched Him and how she had been instantly cured. And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your confidence and trust in Me) has made you well! Go (enter) into peace (untroubled, undisturbed well-being). (Luke 8:44-48 Amplified)

You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your cloak with which you cover yourself. (Deuteronomy 22:12 Amplified)  Remember the commandment of the L-rd  to wear the twisted coils! 

The "mantle" of Elijah

The Mantle was a covering that represented a calling to service, protection, sanctification and covenant relationship with G-d. The word "Mantle" translates to mean "Glorious", "Powerful", "Noble" and "Worthy". According to Jewish tradition, the mantle of Elijah was placed in a small chamber in the golden altar. Hundreds of years later, Zechariah removed the garment and kept it for the ministry of his son, John the Baptist. When John appeared, many believed he was Elijah, perhaps due to this special mantle.
John operated in the "spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17). He was the forerunner to the appearance of Messiah Yeshua  (Mark 1:2-3). In some way, the spiritual mantle of Elijah rested upon John during his ministry.

We are told that Elijah the prophet will appear in the future to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Malachi 4:5). Yet, just as John the Baptist carried a special anointing upon his life, we believe G-d will raise up a team of men who carry the boldness and vision for ministry that both Elijah and John carried in their generation! Elijah was a leader. As a man of G-d you are called to be a leader. Elijah was bold and uncompromising. You are called to be bold and uncompromising. Elijah carried a special prayer anointing. As one of G-d’s end time righteous; un-compromising and over-comers - saints of the End-time. you are destined to carry a special anointing!
See also at: Revelation Ch 11 & The two Tribulation Witnesses

Just as Elijah & John prepared a way and "made ready a people for the L-rd" (Luke 1:17), G-d is rising up men to help prepare the people for the return of Yeshua Messiah!
© Source of "this part" was from Bob Gesing; "Elijah mantle" with his permission! (Part of Perry Stone Ministries; ©Trademark Picture! Permission to use.

The Prophet Elijah passed his "mantle" on to Elisha in (II Kings 2) Many believe that this “mantle” was actually his “Tallis” and was symbolic of the power of prayer that Elijah had saturated that “mantle” with. This “mantle” that Elijah left behind as he was taken up by a whirlwind into Heaven was what Elisha struck and parted the waters of the River of Jordan with!

"This is my G-d and I will glorify Him" ( Exodus 15:2) The Talmud states "Beautify the Jewish man in front of Him with Mitzvot... a tzitzit!" (Shabbos 133b). This is the way of style in the garment of tzitzit for these are the essence of hiddur.  NeaTzit strings are tied under strict Rabbinic supervision!

Related Links

Related Links according the Orthodox Jewish Chabad

Related Links according the Jewish Library

Scripture verses out of the Dake's annotated Reference Bible (KGV)
Amplified Bible
One New Man Bible
The Chumash/ Orthodox Jewish / Stone Edition/ Jewish Torah
Jewish Virtual Library

Some in just only a "few smaller parts" after editing; with permission out  of preaching- tape 2002 from
"God's News Behind the News" Dr. Joe Vankoevering; P. O. Box 10475; St. Petersburg, FL 33733 USA

God’s Outreach Research Center
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