There is a mitzvah, or commandment, in Judaism for men to wear to fringes on a four-cornered garment. In the modern age, it is uncommon for people to wear this type. So in order to fulfill this mitzvah, men wear a garment on themselves known as Tzitzit and attach fringes with the same name to the garment. In addition to this, men also wear a four-cornered garment called a Tallis during prayer services. There are different types of Tallitot and the most common of these Tallitot is the traditional Tallit.
The traditional Tallit is made from wool – usually Turkish wool – because it is considered to be one of the highest quality wools available. In addition, this Tallis is typically large enough to cover the head and most of the body. The traditional Tallit is typically worn with the top covering the head and then rest of the garment draped over the body, covering the shoulders and back. This Tallit typically has stripes that are usually black, blue or white; although it is possible to find Tallitot with stripes in gold, maroon or silver. The striping pattern is based on Jewish heritage and tradition with typical traditional designs being Chabad, Ashkenaz, Sefard and Yemenite.
In terms of the Tzitzit strings, there are several options available. Although the traditional Tallis usually comes with strings tied to the corners, it is possible to purchase a Tallit without strings. Many Jewish men will replace the strings with a different, often much nice, set of tzitzit strings. The strings are usually thick or thin with the thicker strings also being considerably. In addition, it is possible to purchase Tallitot with the Techelet string attached. The tradition of how the strings are tied vary and thus it is possible to find Tallitot with Tzitzit tied in different ways such as Rashi, Arizal, Rambam, Ra’avad, to name a few. Finally, the corners of the Tallis are usually strengthened with an extra piece of cloth attached. This prevents the Tzitzit from tearing Tallit due to wear and subsequently falling off.
If you would like to personalize your Tallit, there are several options available. One of the simplest options is to have your name sewn into the top of the Tallit. Another option is to attach an Atara – which is a piece of cloth that is attached to the top edge of Tallitot. The Atara usually has silver links attached to it or is made of silk and depicts something related to Judaism. Sterling silver Ataras are usually made of silver links which are usually square or shield shaped. The links are sewn into the Atara and can be patterned to create flowers or diamonds. Silver ataras usually depict Jerusalem or something related to Judaism.