How to Wear a Prayer Shawl

by Laura Dixon

A prayer shawl, or tallith as it is known in Judaism, is a symbolic garment worn during important Jewish events and holidays. Though the prayer shawl is traditionally worn by men, women can also don the tallith to demonstrate their faith. This piece of clothing has important religious significance and is meant to be worn with reverence--according to the commandments of the Torah.

Step 1

Know the different types of talliths. The smaller tallit katan, which is more like a shirt, is worn throughout the day by Orthodox Jewish men. The larger tallit gadol is known as the prayer shawl.

Step 2

Open up the prayer shawl and hold it in front of you so that you are facing the neckband. At this point, the traditional Jewish practice is to say a blessing.

Step 3

Hold the shawl over your head for a quiet moment of reflection or meditation, then drape it over your head so that both sides hang parallel to one another over your clothes. The shawl should cover your shoulders.

Step 4

Make sure that the tallish’s corner threads are visible, as they are meant to remind Jewish people of the Torah’s commandments.

Tips

  • When in doubt, ask a rabbi or another member of your congregation for help. When you enter a graveyard, it is customary to tuck the four fringed corners of the prayer shawl into your shirt or jacket.

Warnings

  • Do not wear a prayer shawl in the restroom, as this can be viewed as a sign of irreverence.