A complete Jewish ritual guide on the tallit, tzitzit and kippah

Different religions have different ways of expressing their identity, which can be seen through their clothes, symbols, religious ceremonies, etc. Although we don’t live in the Biblical times anymore, when perhaps one could easily be identified by his garb or simply by the group of people he/she lived with, identifying between a Jewish person and a non-Jewish one can be difficult at times. But people associated with the Jewish culture could easily tell you about some subtle and not-so-subtle clothing differences that can help you identify a Jewish person easily.

As compared to women, men can be identified more easily because of more external clues. According to Judaism law and tradition, men need more external reminders to remember their commitment to God than women. This is the reason why they are commanded to wear a tallit or a Jewish prayer shawl (regularly), tzitzit (a smaller Prayer Shawl that is worn under the clothing (daily) and a Kippah (head-covering). Both the tallit and tzitzit have knotted fringes on the four corners that are meant to serve as a reminder to the man of his commitment to God’s commandments and his obligation to fulfill them. Similarly, the Kippah or the head covering is worn to serve as a constant reminder to the man that God can be found everywhere in the world, but is most commonly associated with the heaven that is directly above the man’s head.



In terms of its form, a tallit is a rectangular piece of cloth made of wool, cotton or synthetic fibers, worn over the outer clothes during morning prayer services. It features knotted fringes on each of its four corners so that the wearer may see them and be reminded of the commandments of God. There are different traditions in some communities regarding the age from which a tallit can be worn. In some communities, it is worn as early as the age of 13 by the boys and the girls when they celebrate their Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, whereas in other communities, men start wearing it on the day of their marriage (it may be customarily presented to a groom before marriage as a wedding present or even as part of a dowry).


In Hebrew, Tzitzit means fringes which refers to the strings attached to the four corners of the tallit. According to Jewish tradition, Jewish people need to wear tzitzit throughout the day; however, in the modern-day, most clothes don’t have corners at all. Therefore, they created tallit katan- a kind of a miniature version of tallit on which the tzitzit can be attached and can be easily worn under the cloth. The tzitzit are worn by Jewish men all day but not all night because the commandment to wear them is a time-bound commandment and applies to the day.



A kippah, also known as Yarmulke or Koppel, is a head covering worn by Jewish men. Earlier it was worn by all men in Orthodox communities during prayers, but it slowly became an obligation over the years when the Jewish people accepted it to wear during other rituals too. The kippah is worn by the Jewish people to remind them that God is above all and is constantly watching over them.

To Conclude

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