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A tallit (Hebrew: טַלִּית‎‎) (talet[1] in Sephardic Hebrew and Ladino) (tallis,[2] in Ashkenazic Hebrew and Yiddish) pl. tallitot (talleisim,[3] tallism,[4] in Ashkenazic Hebrew and Yiddish) is a Jewish prayer shawl. A tallit is worn during the morning prayers (Shacharit) on weekdays, Shabbat and holidays. The tallit has special twined and knotted fringes known as tzitzit attached to its four corners. The tallit can be made of any materials except a mixture of wool and linen (shatnez) interwoven which is strictly prohibited by the Torah. Most traditional tallitot are made of wool. Tallit are usually given as gifts to children on their Bar Mitzvahs.


Biblical commandment

The Bible does not command wearing of a unique prayer shawl or tallit. Instead, it presumes the people to already use an outer garment of some type to cover themselves and instructs them to add fringes (tzitzit) to the 4 corners of these (Numbers 15:38, Deuteronomy 22:12). These passages do not specify tying particular types or numbers of knots in the fringes. Nor do they specify a gender division between men and women, or between native Israelite/Hebrew people and those assimilated by them. The commandment was addressed to all adult Israelites and those of "the mixed multitude" that exited Egypt with them.

Jewish tradition added rabbinical interpretations to provide guidance and "fence" commandments to prevent unintentional transgression by believers. Rituals for donning the garment are an example of this. They are extra-biblical observances important to Jewish worship and culture.

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