Tallit for the High Holidays

Do You Wear a Tallit on Rosh Hashanah?

We'll help you remember if it's customary to wear a prayer shawl on the High Holidays.

The tallit is a prayer shawl worn during morning services. You probably most often see Jewish worshippers wearing a tallit during Saturday morning Shabbat services. But as Jews prepare for the High Holidays, many people want to know: Should I wear my tallit on Rosh Hashanah?

The answer is: Yes, you should wear a tallit on Rosh Hashanah. But just like the custom on Shabbat, on Rosh Hashanah you should only wear a tallit during the morning services. So if you’re planning to attend services in the evening on Rosh Hashanah, don’t bring out your tallit then.

The reason why the tallit is only worn in the morning on the Rosh Hashanah holiday comes from the source for the commandment to wear tallit: “Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner…That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the LORD and observe them.” Numbers 15:38-39 The rabbis interpreted this phrase to mean that since the fringes must be looked at and noticed properly, it would be easier to see them in the daytime where there is a lot of sunlight, therefore ruling that a tallit is only worn during the day.

However, at the Yom Kippur evening services, a tallit is worn because of the added importance of the day. A kittel, a white robe that some people during High Holiday services and on other occasions, is also customarily worn on Yom Kippur for evening prayer services and morning services.

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