When in my daily prayer time, I wear a Jewish prayer shawl, called a Tallit (say "ta-leet") ... it is worn as a garment of praise and worship.
In Ancient Egypt, priests wore fringes on the bottom of their robes to indicate their chosen status, but when Yahweh delivered the Jewish people from their oppression in Egypt, He commanded them to likewise wear such fringes (tzitzit) - see Bemidbar (Numbers) 15:37-39 (noted below) - to indicate their priestly status before Him as a Kingdom of Kohenim (Priests). The commandment, in Bemidbar (Numbers) 15:37-39, refers to four-cornered garments ... but since the normal clothing of today does not have four square corners, the tallit is one answer ... another is to wear what is now being referred to as Blue Jean Tzitzit; these are simply looped into the belt-loops on one's jeans.
The nebi'im (prophets) of the First Covenant wore tallits (also referred to as mantles) ... Yahshua wore one (also referred to as a seamless robe) ... His disciples wore them ... the Apostles wore them ... of course, Jewish people (Messianic and Orthodox) wear them ... and many believers who are looking into the Jewishness of The Way, as established by the Apostles, are beginning to wear them now, as well.
Years ago, after doing some deeper research on this, I was astounded at the inspirational meanings behind the wearing of these wonderful garments and decided I wanted to express the Jewishness of the Tree I've been grafted into as a follower of Yahshua ... and more importantly, I wanted to obey the Father's commandment found in the Book of Bemidbar (Numbers):
The prayer shawl, with the tzitzit at each of the four corners, is called a Tallit ... without the fringes, it is not a Tallit ... and, being a seamless garment, should not be made of any mixed materials:
Each tzitzit has seven strands of white, representing the purity of all the Father's commandments (seven is the number of completeness) and one strand of blue, representing Yahshua, who is the only One capable of fulfilling the Father's commandments perfectly. Each tassel is called a Tzitzit (say "seet-seeth") but when the blue strand is included, the tassel is called a G'dil (say "ga-deel"), meaning Tassel of Greatness.
This garment is really all about the tzitzit ... and the blue strand. Just like the Word is really all about the Father's commandments ... and His plan for Salvation; Yahshua. The Torah commands that we follow the Messiah (Deuteronomy 18:15) and the Messiah commands that we follow the Torah (Matthew 5:19).
From days of old, the blue strand was made with a dye that could only be obtained from the glands of a snail that was found in the Mediterranean Sea ... after being exposed to the air, the dyed material becomes the most vibrant color of blue imaginable. Dark, yet very brilliant and known for it's quality of never fading, this dye was always associated with royalty.
Now, here is where it gets interesting! Ironically, soon after Yahshua was crucified, the snails became extinct and the dye was no longer available! For centuries the blue strand was not to be seen in the tassels ... until 1996 when the snails were discovered once again - a sign of the Second Coming of Messiah! The blue strand is called the Shamash (say "sha-mosh") ... it is used to wrap the white strands in very meaningful numerical sequences and is just beginning to appear in the tassels of Jewish prayer shawls, once again, for the first time in some 1,500 years!
Even now, in 2006, I had a very difficult time locating a Tallit with the blue strands ... and when I did, I still had to order the strands separately and learn how to tie them myself in order to have them the way I wanted them. There seems to be quite a variety of tying techniques so I wound up doing my own style. If you look really closely at the top-photo you may be able to notice a different tying style; three wraps, seven times ... and two blue strands in each tassel - a Yemenite style that came with the Tallit I ordered. I have since changed it with new strands, as seen in the video below.
If you want to purchase a Tallit (prayer shawl), here's the one I purchased - see R-40: Tallit.biz/item.php?id=262
If you want to order and tie your own Tzitzit (white strands) and the Tekhelet (blue strands dyed traditionally; Mediterranean snails) as pictured here, you can do so by visiting TheShofarMan.com
We often read in the Word about those who, referring to Yahshua, wanted to touch the hem of his garment. The original Greek word used for hem in the Scriptures is kraspedon (say "krahs-pe-don") which translates into English as fringe and is a reference to the tzitzit on Yahshua's Tallit. Further, the Hebrew word for hem also translates as wings and the woman who touched the Messiah's tzitzit in Matthew 9:20, was obviously familiar with Mal'aki (Malachi) 4:2 which, in English, reads there is healing in his wings (tzitzit) - she knew this Scripture spoke of His tzitzit.
The Tallit is often referred to as a mantle - a sign of ministerial authority and divine calling. When we read about the Mantle of Elijah, for example, the Scripture is referring to Elijah's Tallit ... in 2 Kings 2:8, Elijah parts the waters with his Tallit ... and after passing his Mantle (and his anointing along with it) on to Elisha, in 2 Kings 2:14, Elisha also parts the waters with Elijah's Tallit.
The traditional Tallit has an equal number of stripes on each end ... in either blue or black. Blue represents Yahshua ... black represents mourning for the destruction of the Temple. The number of stripes vary but, in any case, they remind us that by His stripes we were healed. My Tallit bears nine stripes representing the nine Gifts of the Ruach - See 1 Corinthians 12:8-10:
The Three Gifts of Revelation:
The Word of Wisdom
The Word of Knowledge
The Discerning of Spirits
The Three Gifts of Power:
The Gift of Faith
The Gifts of Healing
The Working of Miracles
The Three Gifts of Voicing:
The Gift of Prophecy
Divers Kinds of Tongues
Interpretation of Tongues
The Tallit should only be worn with dignity, integrity and humility. Before it is worn, one should begin with praise to the Father and His hallowed Name, taking the four tassels in hand and meditating on their meaning while thanking Him for His wonderful plan ... for His gift of Salvation through His Son ... looking forward, prayerfully, to His gathering of the Bride and to the redemption of Israel.
The Tallit Katan:
The Tallit Katan is a piece of rectangular cloth, with a hole large enough for your head to go through, that has tzitzit on each of the four corners. It is to be worn like a T-shirt under one's clothing, but not directly next to the skin.
You can purchase one: Click Here