Copyright/attribution: St Fagans National Museum of History
What do you see?
We can see a long rectangular piece of cloth. We can see some dark stripes on either end. Look closely, what do you see?
What do we know?
A tallit is a prayer shawl worn by some Jewish people during prayer and in religious ceremonies such as a bar mitzvah or marriage ceremonies. Although it is not specifically mentioned in the Torah that a tallit must be worn, many Jews encourage men to wear one based on a verse in Numbers 15:38-39, in which Moses urges the Children of Israel to “make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments.” Because of this, many Jewish people also see it as an obligation to wear a tallit.
A tallit has tzitzit, a piece of knotted string made with 4 strands of thread, one on each corner, which reminds Jewish people of the teachings and commandments of the Torah and the words of God. It is also believed that the word tzitzit using gamatria (where the letters in the Hebrew alphabet are turned into numbers) and the number of knots in the tzitzit adds up to a value of 613, of which is the number of commandments in the Torah.
This tallit was worn by a member of the Pontypridd Hebrew Congregation, which was founded in 1867 and ran until it closed in 1978.
What do you wonder?
We might wonder how someone might feel when wrapping themselves in a tallit? We also might wonder how many members attended the synagogue in Pontypridd? What do you wonder?
How does wearing a tallit help Jewish people feel connected to God?
Do you have to be inside a special building to be able to pray?