10 Tips for Buying a Tallit

The purchase of a tallit is an important one.  Tallitot bear great ritual and historical importance. The purchase of one can often be a spiritual experience that makes you feel at one with your heritage.  Here are some helpful tips that will guide you on your journey to finding the perfect tallit.

1: Know the purpose of this tallit
It is important to know what the purpose of the tallit is.  Perhaps this tallit is going to be worn at a wedding or may even be used as the top of a Chuppah at a wedding.  This tallit could be for the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah of a child or grandchild.  Perhaps you are buying a new tallit to replace one you had for years, or you may even be purchasing one that you hope to pass down as a new family heirloom.

2: Know the personal taste of the person you are buying for
Make sure you know whether the person you are buying for desires a traditional tallit with simple monotone stripes, more ornate stripes, or a flowing multi-colored design that covers the entire tallit.

3: Be sure you measure the height of the person you are purchasing for
Like any piece of clothing, tallitot come in all sizes.  Make sure that you purchase a tallit that of appropriate size for the person you are purchasing for.  A complete tallit sizing guide can be found here.

4: Make sure that you know the way the wearer for wants to don the tallit
There are narrow tallitot and there are wide tallitot.  A user of a narrow tallit is someone who will wear it as a shawl draped over their shoulders.  If you are someone who would like to wrap the tallit around your entire body or pull it over your head, then you should make sure you buy a wider tallit.

5: Ask for any preference of material
Tallitot today can be made from any material so long as it isn’t made from a combination of wool and linen.  Many people have a preference and prefer the feel of one material over another.  It is wise to make know if the person who will be wearing the tallit has a preference of silk, wool, or any other material you are looking at.

6: Find out if the recipient would like a matching tallit bag and/or kippah
Many tallitot are sold with a matching bag and kippah.  Even if one is not sold as a set, you can always find an appropriate bag and kippah.  Even if you are not purchasing a set, make sure you can at least find some options should the person you are buying for wish to go back and find a matching bag or kippah.

7: Find out of the person you are buying for wants tekhelet
While most tallitot do not come with tekhelet or the dyed tzitzit, you can always buy it separately and have it placed on the tallit.  Make sure you know whether or not the wearer is someone who wears the single ritualistically dyed string on each of the four corners.

8: Make sure the tallit you selected comes with an atarah that you like
One of the most recognizable parts of a tallit is the atarah.  Make sure you know whether or not you want the bracha (blessing) on the atarah and select accordingly.

9: Choose stripe or design colors that fit the wearer’s taste
Whether you are buying a beautifully decorated tallit or traditional striped tallit, make sure you are selecting colors that match your personal tastes.  If you are selecting a striped tallit, you can often match a silver or gold accent to whatever colored stripes you select.

10: Make sure you like your background color
While almost everyone selects stripe color based on tastes, few people think of the background color of the tallit.  While most talliot sold come with a simple white background, you can select from just about any color.  Select a background hue that speaks for you.