Sunday, 20 April 2014
Yom Rishon, 20 Nisan 5774
Hol Hamoed Pesach

Tallit/Prayer Shawl

In Numbers 15:37-41 the Lord spoke to Moses saying to him, throughout the generations to come, the Israelites were to make tassels on the four corners of the garments with a blue cord attached to each tassel.

The blue dye was from a shellfish, or a sea animal. The color blue also represents the Holy Spirit. The style of clothing in those times was rectangular. The purpose of the garment and the tassel was so that the Israelites would remember to keep the Commandments. Similar to what we have today, a Bible that we carry with us, so that we would not forget the Commandments of God.

There were very specific instructions regarding the qualifications of the Tallit. The fabric had to be wool. Each corner had four pieces of cord, so that at the end it equaled to the number eight. The four corners of the garment had tassels called tzit zit. The tzit zit had five knots on the cord and in between the first two knots was tied around seven times. The second set was tied around eight times, and the third set of knots was tied around eleven times. The last set was tied around thirteen times.

The significance of these numbers was that when you added the first three sets of ties it equaled to 26. That number written in Hebrew was the word Jehovah, YHWH. The 5 knots and eight cords was the number 13, which translated in Hebrew as the word Echad, meaning “one.” This refers to the Shema, Hebrew for “hear” found in Deuteronomy 6:4, the Jewish confession of faith. That Jehovah is One, the Lord our God is One, and that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts our souls and all our strength.

The word tzit zit translated numerically in Hebrew is the number 600, and when added to the number of 5 knots and eight cords is 613- the entire Mosaic covenant given to the Israelites to obey, as well that they would know that Jehovah is one and know who God is.

When Jews pray, they hold on to the corners and kiss them. The Tallit ketan is what the Israelites wear under their clothing, which is not gender specific, the tzit zit are left out at the outside, so that they could hold onto the corners and pray and remember.

It is believed that the 613 Commands were separated according to men and women. There are 365 negative commandments in the Torah and 248 positive. Women were responsible for 365, but men were accountable for all 613. The significance in these numbers is the there are 365 days in a year as well as 365 ligaments in your body. There are 248 positive commandments, and 248 bones in your body. This is so that you know God owns all of you!

The Tallit is mentioned several times in the Bible, and is known by several names- a garment, a robe, a cloak, a napkin, and a mantel. It is mentioned as a robe in Zechariah 8:23 when men from the nations will take hold of one Jew by the hem of the robe and say ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’

It is also mentioned in I Samuel 15:27 when Saul caught hold of the hem of Samuel’s robe and tore it. It is mentioned as a cloak in II Kings 2:13 when Elisha picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah when he was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. In Luke 8:43 regarding the woman with the issue of blood, she touched Jesus’ cloak and was immediately healed. In Revelation 19:16, Jesus wore a robe, and on His thigh was written: KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS. In Revelation 4:7, God has a Tallit with tzit zit, too.

On the four corners of his Tallit, were the four creatures mentioned in Ezekiel, but explained in detail in the book of Revelation. The first tzit zit was like a lion, the second like an ox, the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. The number four denotes the number of completion.

We study the Jewish culture so that we can draw so many great things that will enhance our prayer life, to be more complete and exact. When you think about God wearing a Tallit with these four creatures as His tzit zit it lets us know that God is so high, we cannot get over Him, God is so wide, you cannot get around Him, and God is so big, you cannot get under Him. There is no God like our God.

NEW LIFE TALLIT CUSTOMS & TRADITIONS

1. Wear the Tallit when we pray.
2. At the end of service when we are receiving the Aaronic blessing.
3. When we say the Shema.
4. During family prayer on Thursdays or during Midnight Prayer.
5. During Thursday Healing prayer service or Sunday Healing worship services.
6. Newborn blessings by wrapping your baby in a Tallit and praying immediately upon birth.
7. At weddings – the bride and groom will be blessed using a Tallit on them during the communion ceremony.
8. When members are moving and leaving the church in good standings at New Life.