Why is the Tallit so important?
The Tallit, (or Tallis) is the prayer shawl that accompanies the Jew throughout all stages of life.
The Tallit is present when the eight-day-old Jew male is circumcised, when this same 13-year-old boy becomes a Bar-Mitzvah and takes on the religious responsibilities of adulthood,
when the Jewish couple is wed, and is also present when the Jewish individual is buried and returned to earth, wrapped in a Tallit.
The Tallit has been a part of Jewish tradition throughout the generations - in happiness and in sorrow - and from the biblical period onwards, Jews have observed the divine commandment:
"They will attach fringes to the Four Corners of their garments forever, and, looking at these fringes, they will remember all of god's commandments".
The Tallit has four corners, each of them are attached fringes especially twined in accordance with Jewish law.
With eight treads and five knots, each corner has the numerological value of 13, which is added to the numerological value, ("gematria" in Hebrew), of the letters making up the Hebrew word for "fringe"-Tzizit.
The total numerological value is 613, the number of commandments that every Jew is obliged to carry out. Thus, the Jews entire world is incorporated within the Tallinn. The Tallit and the Jew who wears it in prayer form a unique pair: a symbol and individual it symbolizes.
Before wrapping themselves in the Tallit, Jews recite the ages-old blessing,
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and who has commanded us to wrap ourselves in a Tallit.
The talit has been the companion of the Jewish people throughout our history. Jews have wrapped themselves in their Tallit, have sought refuge among its fringe, and have shed our tears under its canopy. No matter what era, no matter what country, the Tallit never changes its character, because when Jews pray to the creator of the universe and request His mercy and help, the language of the heart is always the same. The heart is everything, and the Tallit is the heart.