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tallit (tälētˈ) [key], in Judaism, four-cornered, fringed shawl worn by males during the morning prayers. It is donned before putting on the phylacteries, except on Yom Kippur when it is worn all through the day (phylacteries are not worn on this day). The tallit is usually made of white wool, cotton, or silk, and often has blue or black stripes on the ends and an ornamental strip worn near the neck. Woven into the white garment is a blue fringe ( tzitzit ), worn in fulfillment of the biblical commandment (Num. 15.37–41). To be distinguished from this tallit, known as the Tallit Gadol [large tallit], is the Tallit Katan [small tallit], which is worn under the outer garments throughout the day. This practice is less widely observed.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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