We often get customers who ask about lightweight tallit options. On one hand they want a traditional wool tallit, but on the other hand they start feeling too warm just hearing the word “wool.” Here’s a recent inquiry:
I’m considering the Kmo Turkish tallis. I live in the southeastern U.S. and I’m a bit concerned about the weight of the fabric. I like this tallis, but I don’t want to be too hot in shul. Have you had any feedback from customers regarding this issue? Any thoughts? Thanks, Michael
The truth is I haven’t received much feedback from customers on the issue. In my opinion the weather outside is not such an overriding factor, but rather the weather inside, i.e. whether they blast the air conditioner, or whether you barely feel it. (If you walk to shul with the tallis on, obviously that’s a different story.)
Also, I think it makes a significant difference whether you wear the tallis over your head a lot of the time or not.
Last Shabbos it was blazing hot and I walked a long way to shul in the sun. (For a change of pace, I wanted to take my boys to the enormous, elegant shul halfway across town.) Going downhill at 8:00 am I was working up a sweat, and dreading the return trip uphill at 11:00. After davening, when the time came to head home, I decided to take off my jacket (we have a very good eiruv) and just wear the tallis. In fact, the sun was beating down on my head so fiercely, that I actually wore the tallis it over my head. And guess what? I was more comfortable than I had been in the morning.
The main reason is that a tallis is a loose garment, so, – like the Bedouin thobe, which is also made of wool – it’s not going to heat you up much. When you wear a regular shirt, it makes a much bigger difference if it’s thin or thick. But with a tallis, sometimes lightweight is not crucial.
Since Michael was looking at a very unique tallis, I told him he might want to consider Hamefoar Prestige, which is very similar to the Kmo Turkish Tallit, but the textured fabric breathes better.
Personally I have a Kalil for weekday use during the summer. I walk to and from shul with tallis and tefillin on, and the shul I go to for weekday Shacharis is too warm throughout the summer, unless you sit under one of the vents.