Why Would a Christian Wear
a Prayer Shawl?
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The Prayer Shawl
The Prayer Shawl is a symbol, a garment, shroud, canopy, or cloak which envelopes the wearer both physically and spiritually, in prayer and celebration, in joy and sorrow. The Prayer Shawl, or Talit in Hebrew, is a commanded blessing, given by God.
"Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels [tzit-tzitot] on the corners [kanafim=wings] of their garments throughout their generations [in perpetuity], and to put a blue thread in the tassels [tzit-tzitot] of the corners [kanafim=wings]. And you shall have the tassel [tzit-tzit], that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God" Num 15:37-40.
"You shall make tassels [tzit-tzitot] on the four corners [kanafim=wings] of the clothing with which you cover [kacah] yourself" Deu 22:12.
This garment is used at all major Jewish occasions: circumcisions, bar mitzvahs, holidays, weddings and burials. It originally was a poncho-type wrap that extended below the knees. Later, the talit-katan (tah-leet’ kah-tahn’), a shorter poncho-type garment, was worn. The Biblical requirement does not specify the length, but it does have three distinct requirements:
The garment is to be an outer covering [kacha].
The garment is to have four corners [kanafim].
On each of the four corners there is to be a tzit-tzit (a specially knotted tassel) with a blue thread running through.
In Biblical times Jewish men wore their prayer shawl all the time, not just at prayer. The apostle Paul was a Pharisee, but also a “tentmaker”. Because the Hebrew term for tent and tallit is the same, many believe that he made Prayer Shawls, not tent structures as we know them. In the Old Testament six million Jews could not fit into the tent of meeting that was set up. Therefore, God gave each his own private sanctuary where they met with Him. It was an intimate, private space and time set apart from anyone else, totally focused upon God. This was their PRAYER CLOSET, as in Matthew 6:6!
are the corner tassels of the Tallit: "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments…" Num. 15:37. In Jeremiah 48:9 the Hebrew word tzitz is translated wings. Jer 48:9 Give wings [tzitz] unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein. The tzit-tzit might thus be a "wing-wing" which, as we have seen, was to be attached to the "wing" of a garment.
The threads of the tzit-tzit are significant. The colors of the six threads are generally white, or colors that coordinate with the garment, with a blue thread running through. The six represents the threads of our life, representing that we are set apart -- holy to God. The blue thread is called the "Shamash", or helper. This helper is the thread that is blue for heaven and royalty, and it is the one that binds the rest together and gives it its meaning. We recognize this helper as Jesus Himself, and the Holy Spirit of God that Jesus sent to be our helper, counselor and power.
The tzit-tzit are wrapped and knotted in a special way that is designed to be a representation of The Name Of God, YHVH, "I am that I am". The Hebrew alphabet represents both letters and numbers; each letter stands for a sound, and also a number. This means that we can "write" in Hebrew by using numbers interchangeably for the letters. The tzit-tzit are made in this way. The threads of the tzit-tzit are double knotted five times; five for grace, and ten single knots to remind us of the commands of Love that God has given us to remember and keep. The shamash is wound between these double knots with 10 wraps, 5 wraps, 6 wraps and 5 again. The numbers of wraps correspond to the Hebrew letters 10=Y, 5=H, 6=V, and 5=H. This is a physical representation of The Name of Our God: I AM Your Healer, I AM your provision, I AM because I AM. The tzitzit on your tallit will be a constant reminder of your covenant relationship with God, Yeshua (Jesus) your righteousness, His Commandments and His Promises. What better tool to help you explain what God has done for you and can also do for others?
Jesus and the Tallit
Let’s see what the scripture says about Yashua and the talit-katan and the tzit-tzit. “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem [Greek: kraspedon=tassel; Hebrew equivalent=tzit-tzit] of his garment” Matt 9:20. “And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem [kraspedon=tassels] of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole“ Matt 14:35,36. These two texts show us that Yashua (Jesus) wore the tzit-tzit as commanded in the Torah.
It was believed at that time that the Messiah would come with healing in his tzit-tzit because of what was written in Malachi: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings [Hebrew: kanaf]; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” Mal 4:2. In our day we have the privilege and honor of restoring the ancient blessings, and following our Lord Yashua in the wearing of the Tallit and tzit-tzit. May we walk in this day with the power of His healing and provision in our wings.
It is a comfort, a thrill, and a holy thing to wrap yourself in your tallit. This is a physical manifestation of your tent of meeting, your prayer closet, and your marriage canopy. Thank Yahweh when you put it on, maybe with the traditional blessing: Blessed are You, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who has given me the tzit-tzit in which to meet you.
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