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What Makes a Talit kosher?


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

17 Tammuz 5764
I’m recently in market for a Talit. I went on line as is my custom to find an Israeli Talit. I was shocked to find an array of everything from silk to sheer synthetic material! Not to mention for women?? (Alright I wasn’t that shocked) It worries me that I might end up buying something inappropriate. Kindly indicate to me what makes a Talit kosher or unkosher. I’ve heard size important, and that the Tzitzit are complete and unbroken. Does material content, colors or any other detail such as this invalidate a Talit?
According to the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 9, 1) the Talit should be from sheep wool in order to fulfill the Torah Mitzvah of Tzitzit. The Rem"a holds that any material is good for the Mitzvah. The Mishna Brura (9, 5) recommends to follow the first opinion and to use only wool. The traditional Talit is White wool (can come with black stripes), a colored one is a bit of a problem for the strings should be in the color of the garment and we only use white strings, but if the Talit is white with only colored stripes – that is okay. (Mishna Brura 9, 16) The strings have to be kosher ones – if you buy your Talit from a reliable source you have nothing to fear from. The size is important as well – don't get a "scarf" Talit – get a Talit you can wear so you avoid Halachic problems. All the best
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