Mar 132013

Chabad has a propensity for doing things their own way, and the Chabad tallis and Chabad tzitzis are no exception. The Chabad tallis has a unique, elaborate striping pattern and a second hole on each corner. The tzitzis tying method employs a very creative innovation of inserting the shamash through the second hole, which acts as an anchor to keep the tzitzit from sliding around the corner to the wrong side. And the Chabad tallis features another trait that sets it apart: it is just about the only tallit (besides the Turkish tallit) that does not have an atara.

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Chabad tallis: No atara

The custom of sewing on an atara originated to ensure that the tallit was worn the same way each day; not simply to make sure it is not worn upside-down, but to keep the same two tzitzits in front and the same two tzitzits in back every time the tallit is worn. The Shlah explains this is in keeping with the teaching that in the Mishkan (the Tabernacle), the northern boards had an established merit to occupy the north side, the eastern boards the east side, etc.

However, some halachic authorities seemed to be concerned the atara would dominate the tallit, stealing the limelight from the essential mitzvah: the tzitzit.

The Lubavitcher custom is to sew a lining on the underside of the tallis where the head and shoulders rest so that the Chabad tallis is always the same way, yet there is no atara to draw attention away from the tzitzit.

Chabad Tallis Katan

Chabad tallis katan

Double tzitzit holes on Chabad tallis katan

Similarly the Chabad tallis katan is a bit different from the standard wool tallit katan. Usually a tallit katan has a t-neck, whereas the Chabad tallis katan has a round neck. Like the Chabad tallit gadol there are silk fabric squares sewn onto the corner. While most Chassidim have horizontally aligned holes on their tallit katan, on the Chabad tallis katan the tzitzit holes are diagonally aligned. And while usually a wool tallit katan has fringes along the front bottom edge, the Chabad tallis katan has a straight hem.

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