Presentation on theme: " Hebrew Prayer Shawl. A Jewish man at prayer at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Hebrew man at prayer."— Presentation transcript:
Hebrew Prayer Shawl
A Jewish man at prayer at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Hebrew man at prayer
The Hebrew Prayer Shawl Lessons from Tallit Today we will consider the Hebrew prayer shawl which is worn by all religious Jews. It usually consists of a white background with blue stripes at each vertical side. It is square in shape and edged with evenly tied knots of the threads down both sides of the garment.
At the top of the shawl the smooth edge is embroidered with an Hebrew phrase forming its collar. At its four corners are four longer tassels, or fringes, tied with multiple knots. These are not haphazard decoration but have deep spiritual significance to the wearers of tallit. Significance of tallit
The Hebrew Prayer Shawl Lessons from Tallit Whether we understand it or not, numbers play a large part in God’s word and plan. The systematic study of numbers is called numerology. There is really much more to it than most people realize. For example, the number “one” stands for unity. God is a unity. He has one Son. He has one plan. When a man marries a woman, the two become one.
The number two indicates opposites, or separation The father of the Prodigal Son had another Son. They were separated by wisdom and foolishness. There are two opposite moral states in scripture: lost and saved; sheep and goats. There are two disparate ways of life: the strait and narrow way which leads to life, and the broad way which leads to destruction.
Eight is the number of resurrection and of immortality The eighth millennium shall be the only one to contain ONLY immortal beings. The number twelve is the fourth perfect number, and indicates governmental perfection. There are 12 apostles, 12 gates in the New Jerusalem, 12 thrones over the 12 tribes of Israel in the kingdom age.
Numbers are important They indicate distinct ideas or principles when used purposely. The garment I am wearing is an Hebrew Prayer Shawl. These unique garments are made by rabbinical students as a profession and are carefully crafted to have certain meanings. Indeed, God chose to reveal His name through the numerology of the prayer shawl. The corner knots reveal His name.
The Corner Knots … Notice that the four corners are decorated with longer threads and with more knots than the remainder of the fringe. These longer fringes of this garment are identical and unique. The names of God are recalled by the wearer utilizing the prayer shawl in the proper way. Some of the names rendered by these knots are said to be …
The Names of God Yahweh Jireh – Yahweh will see, or provide. Yahweh Ropheka – Yahweh will heal thee. Yahweh Nissi – Yahweh is my banner. Yahweh Mekaddishkem - Yahweh Who shall sanctify you.
The Names of God Yahweh Shalom – Yahweh (send) peace. Yahweh Tz’vaoth – Yahweh of hosts. Yahweh Shammah – Yahweh is there.
The Corner Knots These larger knots are called zizit (Hebrew plural is ziziyyot: fringes, or decoration). They are mentioned in the prescription for the prayer shawl found in Numbers 15: “And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying: ‘Speak unto the sons of Israel, and thou shalt say unto them, that they shall make them fringes on the corners of their garments, unto their generations.” So Jews wear them today!
Instructions for the Shawl “And shall put upon the fringe of the corner, a cord of blue: so shall they serve you as fringes, and when ye see them, then shall ye call to mind all the commandments of Yahweh, and shall do them, and shall not spy out (after your own hearts, and after your
Instructions for the Shawl “own eyes) for things after which ye are ready to go unchastely away: to the intent ye may call to mind, and DO all my commandments, and be ye holy unto your God. I – Yahweh – am your God, Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to become your God; I – Yahweh – am your God.” -- Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible.
The BLUE cords at the corner You noted that God had prescribed that BLUE ziziyyot were to be used at the corners. Blue was originally specified by the Father; as it was the color of the daytime sky, it was thought to represent His “throne of glory.” But this garment has WHITE cords. Why? Due to a shortage of blue dye long ago, the Rabbinical authorities in the second century waived this impossible requirement.
Composition of the Ziziyyot Each zizit consists of one long cord and three short cords, all of which are passed through an embroidered hole in the four corners of the garment, and then are folded so as to make eight threads. These are then fastened with a double knot for security. Then the long thread (the shammash) is wound around the other threads a specified number of times …
Composition of the Ziziyyot These windings about the six other threads are, in number … Seven times and double knotted, then Eight times and double knotted, then Eleven times and double knotted, then Thirteen times and double knotted. Thus the Zizit contains four various windings separated by distinctive knots.
Composition of the Ziziyyot The ends of the longer thread is then sheared equal in length to the short threads. The Zizit thus consists of FIVE double knots and EIGHT threads for a total of THIRTEEN units. This number, together with the Hebrew numerological value of the term “zizit” (which is 600) amounts to 613. This number represents the 613 separate commandments to be recognized by the Rabbis and the people, as in Numbers 15: 39.
But there is more Also … consider these facts: There are first SEVEN coils and EIGHT coils which total FIFTEEN coils. They reduce this number to TEN and FIVE … numbers which represent Yod (10) and He (5) in the alphabet. Then there are ELEVEN coils made up of SIX loops and FIVE loops, which represent Vau (6) and He (5). Yod, He, Vau, He = YHVH, YaHVeH adding the vowels, or as we say “Yahweh,” the holy tetragammaton!!
A Wonderful Mnemonic Thus we see how the Jews have worked out the numbers to remind them of God’s NAME – whether this is what He intended or not! In these facts we can discern just how God’s laws are delineated and His name revealed in the complexity of the prayer shawl. Many of the 613 commandments discerned in the Law as details of the 10 Commandments later commented upon by Moses are said to be memorialized in the remaining knots of the shawl.
Proverbs 4:4 Let thine heart retain My words, keep My commandments and live! In another passage, Thy word have I written in my heart! Jesus also wore a prayer shawl. But the deeply engraved Word of God in Jesus’ heart successfully withstood the enemy on the Mount of Temptation in the wilderness
Tallit as Prayer Tent During the Exodus, Moses had perhaps two million people in his care. The Tabernacle of the Wilderness was about 15 x 45 feet in its outer dimensions. But that structure was not used for ordinary group worship in any case. Thus, the prayer shawl – tallit – became the single necessary and acceptable covering for every Jewish male as he approached God in prayer, in reading, and in meditation.
Description of Tallit Almost all modern ones are white with BLUE stripes; many ancient ones had BLACK stripes. The upper portion of tallit which rests behind the neck and over the shoulders exhibits a special piece of cloth embroidered with silver threads called atarah (a diadem) to mark the upper edge (the collar) and the outer surface of the four-cornered garment. Some talliyot have a benediction embroidered into that strip of cloth …
The Benediction of Tallit What is that prayer?? Its exact words are, “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who hath sanctified us by Thy commandments, and hast commanded us to wrap ourselves in the fringed garment.”
The Ritual of Donning When putting on the shawl, a Jewish man covers his head with this shawl as he utters this general praise and thanksgiving to his God. When he raises it to place it on his head, he allows the four corners with their fringes to fall over his left shoulder. After a brief pause, he arranges the four corners into their natural position suspended on each side.
A Worshipper at Prayer
Offering his Prayers He then offers his prayers, reads Torah, or confesses his sins. The tallit is regarded as capturing and containing the light of the Divine Presence which descends upon him when he recites the priestly benediction. But when he has even more intimate things to confess or pray about such as forgiveness of certain sins, he covers his head and face FULLY with the shawl.
Offering his Prayers There are some things which need to be discussed between us and our God on a personal and intimate level. This is where it is done. It is as if he must not look upon the Father in his petitioning! To be enfolded in it is regarded as being enveloped by the holiness of the commands of the Torah, denoting a symbolic subjection to the Divine will. Generally people pray today with tallit resting upon their shoulders only, as often observed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
In many communities the bride and groom are married beneath a “marriage tent” – a canopy made of a large tallit. It is supported by four tall poles.
In most, it is customary for the bridegroom to dress in tallit during huppah, the wedding ceremony.
Burial in tallit Men are buried with tallit wrapped around their bodies over their burial clothing or shrouds. Due to that custom there are few ancient copies of tallit available. The minimum size for tallit is prescribed as large enough to enfold a small child.
Tallit as Prayer Closet It is probable that when Jesus advised His followers to enter into their prayer closet for intensive communication with their Father, He may have been indicating that one should cover oneself with the prayer shawl as alternative to entering a small room for privacy.
Magen David and Tallit The Magen David (the Star of David) incorporated into the prayer shawl became the Israeli flag! The Star of David as well as the Menorah are ancient symbols of Israel and its People.
Tallit: Model for Magen David At the top and bottom borders are broad stripes of blue. Sometimes the stripes are broken into strips. Ancient stripes were sometimes black.
In the center is the Star of David in blue. As such it is one of the most widely known flags in the world today. The blue stripes represent that the God of Israel lives in the heavens; the Star of David is an ancient symbol of Israel.
The Flag at the Western Wall
Prophetic reference to Flag In Isaiah 11: 12, “… He shall set up AN ENSIGN (Hebrew, nec, a flag) for the nations (meaning Israel and Judah), and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
El Al’s Insignia: David’s Star Reader’s Digest printed an article which told of mysterious beings thought to have been angels hovering about, gathering the Ethiopian Jews, the Falash Mura, together to board the aircraft of El Al to fly to Israel. Each of the Boeing aircraft display a prominent blue Star of David. Operation Solomon of a few years ago brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews “home” to Israel.
An El Al Boeing 767
David Wolffsohn, Flag Designer As the movement toward Statehood progressed in the 19 th century, much thought was given to a national flag. The ensign of Israel was designed long before Israeli statehood. David Wolffsohn, in 1911, assistant to Theodor Herzl, drew its design for the Second Zionist Congress. It has been used as the symbol of Zion ever since.
Wolffsohn’s Flag Design As an ensign, or banner of identity, it has symbolized the people and the state as appropriately as any symbol could. The world recognizes it and the Jews rally to it. His original design may have been prompted by this poem…
Frankl’s “Judah’s Colors” "Judah's Colors” When sublime feelings his heart fill, He is mantled in the colors of his country He stands in prayer, wrapped In a sparkling robe of white. The hems of the white robe Are crowned with broad stripes of blue; Like the robe of the High Priest, Adorned with bands of blue threads. These are the colors of the beloved country, Blue and white are the borders of Judah; White is the radiance of the priesthood, And blue, the splendors of the firmament. -- August L. Frankl, "Juda's Farben," in Ahnenbilder (Leipzig, 1864), p. 127
Tel Aviv, May 14, 1948
Elijah, John and Tallit The Prophet Elijah wore a garment described as a MANTLE (Heb. Addereth) which evidently produced miracles under the operation of the Spirit of God which was upon him. It was the traditional prayer shawl we know today. Essentially the same item is described in Zechariah 13:4 as the traditional “rough garment” of the prophets, often made of camel hair or goat’s hair. John Baptizer wore one of leather as well, in the tradition of Elijah (Mark 1:6).
Elijah and the Widow’s Son Elijah utilized his entire being, covered in tallit, in raising the son of the poor widow of Zarephath. The account is in I Kings 17: The son had fallen ill and there was no breath in him; he was dead. Elijah was not daunted. He prayerfully stretched himself upon the child three times, crying “O Lord, I pray Thee, let this child’s life come into him again.”
Elijah’s Prayer Answered As he stretched himself upon the child the profuse folds of his prayer shawl covered both. His prayer was answered straight away. The widow was presented her son, now alive and well from the death state! Elijah used this same garment in his selection of Elisha, his protégé, by casting his mantle upon Elisha whom he observed ploughing with 12 yoke of oxen (I Kings 19: 19)
Tallit Parts the Jordan Again, Elijah, wrapping the tallit together (II Kings 2:8), smote and parted the Jordan River so that he and Elisha crossed on dry ground just prior to his being taken into the heavens by the horses and chariots of fire. Elisha, having seen at least this one miracle of the parted waters, asked a DOUBLE PORTION of Elijah’s spirit be upon him.
Elisha and Tallit Elijah had asked his friend, “What shall I do for thee, before I be taken away from thee?” Elisha’s request for the double portion of the spirit was granted when he observed Elijah’s departure. Elisha took up the prophet’s prayer shawl which had fallen from the prophet, walked back to Jordan, smote the waters in the same fashion, and crossed dry- shod.
Elisha’s Miracles That was the first of 16 recorded miracles done by Elisha – precisely DOUBLE the number of recorded miracles that were performed by Elijah – a double portion of his Spirit, indeed!
Jesus’ Mantle Falls A correlate to the Elijah affair is seen in the apostles who beheld Jesus’ ascent into the heavens from the summit of Olivet. This sight sealed their faith in Him as Messiah and Savior. In a figurative sense, His mantle fell upon them as they wonderingly watched as He disappeared into the clouds of heaven. Jesus had told them, “He who believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works shall he do, because I go unto My Father.” John 14: 12
Pentecost: Inheritance of His Power On the Day of Pentecost there were apostles and disciples together with one accord in one place (Acts 2:1) A rushing mighty wind filled the house and forked tongues of fire sat upon each of them as they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with power, and “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Peter’s Exhortation The Apostle Peter’s stirring exhortation wrought a special end to the miracle, and 3,000 lives were added to them that day! It was indeed an example of “greater works” than the Lord Jesus did – an ability freely and graciously given them without jealousy, or any sense of envy on His part … but with His full blessing.
Jesus’ Tallit Heals How may we know that Jesus wore tallit? Matthew 9:20 relates the incident involving an unnamed woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years. She was driven by her anemia, her weakness, her discomfort and her social isolation because of this illness, to “touch the hem (fringe) of His garment,” which, when she had done so, was immediately healed – all without any apparent effort on His part!
Detail of Tallit Ziziyyot
“Who touched My Garment?” The account in Mark 5 depicts Jesus as almost surprised at the sudden loss of inherent power which resided in Him – which had gone forth from Him – and turning, asks “Who touched My clothes?”
Disciples Incredulous The disciples were incredulous that in such a press, He should ask this question. But the woman, filled with guilt and remorse, came and fell before Him, telling Him “all the truth.”
“Thy faith hath made thee whole … ” His immediate commendation of her was, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be ye whole of thy plague.” -- (Mark 5:34) The word translated “hem” in Matthew 9:20, is Greek kraspedon, and means a margin, i.e., specifically a fringe or tassel; a border, an hem.” The only fringes worn by Jews for centuries had been the corner ziziyot of the prayer shawl!
Men of Gennesaret also The men of Gennesaret experienced the same miraculous healing power of Jesus’ prayer shawl. Matthew 14: tells the story. Gennesaret, near Capernaum, was the place where this day men brought to Him all who were diseased, “And besought Him that they might only touch the hem – the kraspedon, or tassels, or ziziyot – of His garment: and AS MANY AS TOUCHED HIM WERE MADE PERFECTLY WHOLE!
Special Powers of Zizit We are therefore directly informed that the prayer shawl of Jesus did indeed have special, autonomous power to heal the seekers, the admirers, the afflicted souls of Galilee without His personal control of the results! It is an incredible operation that we learn of here!
The Napkin Folded Apart When a Jewish man is buried, his tallit is usually wrapped about him outside his burial shrouds. Placement of it differs according to the custom of the time, as no law governs its placement. In John 20 is recorded the perplexing and bewildering scene as His followers discover His resurrection. Simon Peter rushes into the tomb, out of breath, and quickly observes “the linen clothes” in which He had been wrapped, “and the napkin that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” (verses 6,7)
Peter’s Realization Peter, seeing what probably was Jesus’ tallit, lying folded, apart from the linen shrouds, now knew at least four important facts: 1. A Jewish man had neatly folded this prayer shawl. 2. That this man was alive and rational. 3. That the man in question was no longer in need of a prayer shawl. 4. That the man was most likely Jesus, Who had been wrapped in it!
They Were Astonished … Peter and the others were astonished, “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” (verse 9)
The “Sheet” of Peter’s vision In Acts 10 we read the account of Peter’s vision of the unclean animals let down from heaven in a “sheet.” He is told that he is free to eat of all the animals therein, both clean and unclean. But Peter objects … and is reassured by the Spirit.
It seems clear to me that the “sheet’ is a giant prayer shawl, for we note that it is “let down by the four corners,” which would be the knotted fringes – the ziziyyot.
A Medieval Version of the Vision of Peter and the Sheet, let down with the Unclean Animals
The “Sheet” of Peter’s vision What vessel could be more appropriate than a huge prayer shawl for this vision, which was that the Gentiles, represented by all those unclean animals, were now acceptable subjects for the Jewish Apostles’ teaching and ministry?? The Greek word translated “sheet” here is othone (ot-on-ay) and means “a linen cloth, esp. a sail; - a sheet.”
Gentiles now Accepted Until this time, it had not been acceptable for a respectable Jew to enter the presence of – and specifically the household of – any Gentile! Now Peter was being charged to go forth into the Gentile world and convert these unclean beings, and bring them to the living Christ for salvation!
Gentiles now Accepted Peter immediately acted upon the vision in full faith, when within minutes of the vision, a servant of the Centurion, Cornelius of Caesarea, knocked on Simon the Tanner’s door, led Peter to the Centurion’s home some 40 kilometers north of Joppa on the sea coast, where the will of God was clearly shown to Peter.
This is a Catholic view of the Centurion’s Baptism by Peter as the first Gentile to be admitted to the Household of Christ directly by Jesus’ ministry through the Apostle.
Gentiles now Accepted There the Almighty further sealed the instructions he had given Peter, commanding to bring the Gentiles to salvation by a singular miracle: the shedding of His Spirit upon the Centurion and his entire household even before they were immersed into His name! Peter could not deny the divine edict when he had seen all these proofs. In this manner, God’s salvation came to the Gentiles.
Paul, Creator of Tallit? It is recorded in Acts 18:3,that Paul lived and worked in Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla, all of whom were tentmakers, “for they were of the same craft (as he).” But, were these ordinary tents such as people erect for homes in some parts of the East? We have seen the homes of people in Corinth, however, and they are all built of stone.
Paul, Creator of Tallit? As we have seen, weddings are conducted under oversized tallit stretched on poles. The sizeable population of Jews in Corinth would need a steady source of prayer shawls in their daily lives where they serve as prayer tents and take on the character of the house of God when used as such. The production of such holy items was only entrusted to rabbinical students or otherwise dedicated workers such as Paul, Aquila and his wife Priscilla.
Meaning of Tallit: Tent The primary meaning of tallit is tent. They show the reverence for God and the observance of the Law by everyone who wears one. They are believed to contain the glory of the Lord which descends upon those who are praying under their covering. They indicate subservience, or submission, of the wearer to the Lord God.
Paul’s Vocation Even today, tallit are lovingly and skillfully crafted by rabbinical students as a source of income. It is significant that the Apostle Paul was a life-long student of Torah just as were the students of the Rabbis. It was a proper and fitting profession for him as an Apostle of Christ, and gave him employment wherever he went.
Tallit in Revelation 19 In His final revelation to men, the Lord Jesus inspired John to see, in the first verse of his vision, “… heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and He Who sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war! His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a NAME written, that no man knew, but He Himself.
Tallit in Revelation 19 “And He was clothed with a vesture (Greek: himation – him-at-ee-on) dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword that with it He should smite the nations, and He shall rule them with a rod of iron; and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
The Names of the King He is described as having one name written upon His person “which no man knew” save Himself. That name shall doubtless be revealed in Christ’s own good time. But there are three OTHER revealed titles of this great Warrior/King – Who is quite obviously the returned Lord Jesus Christ. They are (1) Faithful and True, (2) The Word of God, and (3) King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Third Name The last title is specifically stated to be emblazoned in two locations: upon His vesture and upon His thigh. What do we know about the prayer shawl in this relationship? In what fashion does it cover a man sitting astride an horse? The ziziyyot fall over each thigh and over his upper body – his vesture. It is the embedded name of God’s Son revealed in ziziyyot.
Yahweh: King of Kings The Name is repeated four times in the four corners of tallit, perhaps reminiscent of the original identity and eventual destiny of this Man – this human Son, this Servant, this Soaring Spirit, this Lion of Judah – formerly illustrated in notable visions such as Ezekiel one, where four living Creatures are manifested as the Man, the Ox, the Eagle and the Lion, and are integral to the complex and wonderful Cherbim depicted there.
The Wonderful Four Facets Also as reflected in the four standards of the encampments of Israel in the wilderness. Also as reinforced by the literary approaches of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in their gospel accounts of that eternal Man in His four facets – of Mortal Man, as Servant (Ox), as Spiritual Man (Eagle), and Lion of Judah.
Tallit in Summary Tallit, with its profound components, preserved even until today ONLY in the community of the Jews, is thus seen to be one of those subtle, highly subjective, almost discretionary, but superbly instructive instruments of God’s incredible word, revealed in so may complex and intricate ways, yet so clearly instructive to us – so supportive and strengthening to us future Kings as we search them out and strive to plumb their depths.
John’s Final Vision Our minds move forward to the near future days when, in Revelation 21: 3, John … saw a new heaven, and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I john saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
John’s Final Vision “Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His People, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
The Eternal Tabernacle That Tabernacle, in another figure, is OUR REDEEMER – our Covering, our Tent, our Atonement – Who shall at that time dwell forever in the presence of His beloved brothers and sisters who have pursued His ways, and have tried diligently to emulate Him, and to glorify His name in their lives among men!
Our Eternal Covering That personal, eternal Covering is also aptly foreshadowed in the wonderful tallit, the prayer shawl of the Hebrews.