It makes sense to buy tallit and tefillin bags from Israel. But guess what? Often a tallit bag sold in Israel and exported from Israel…is made in China. Even if you see the words “Tallit” or “Tefillin” embroidered in Hebrew, don’t assume it was made in Israel.
Tallit Bag: Hebrew Embroidery, But Made in China
However, this only applies to low-end tallit bags. If you find a tallit bag on eBay or a Judaica webstore for $12 or $15 or even $20, chances are it was made in China. Many of the better quality tallit bags are made in Israel.
What makes for a better quality tallit bag? Better quality material and better embroidery work. It’s hard to discern differences in quality from the images you see online. But the difference in quality is significant.
A few weeks ago a customer in Australia bought a Kol Hane’arim tallit from me. For those of you who don’t know what a Kol Hane’arim tallit is, it’s four times the size of a standard full-size tallit and is used as a canopy on Simchat Torah. It’s big. Really big.
My customer from Down Under asked me to provide him with a velvet tallit bag to go with it. I took the project to our seamstress and embroiderer, and she did a spectacular job using high quality velvet. When I saw it, I realized that the tallit bag she produced was far superior to what I was used to seeing from suppliers and in Judaica stores in Jerusalem.
Tallit Bag with Space for Custom Embroidery
So I commissioned her to make me a tallit bag that would work well with custom name embroidery. The problem is that the word “Tallit” on many, if not most, tallit bags makes it hard to add a name without it clashing. She used a fabulous grape vine motif I call “Invei HaGefen.”
Is a tallit bag worth investing in? I think so, because preparing to do a mitzvah is an important part of the act of doing a mitzvah. The Talmudic term is “hechsher mitzvah.” To take an extreme example, imagine going to shul and pulling your tallit out of a nylon grocery bag. Not a pretty sight. A nice tallit bag also gives honor to the mitzvah of tzitzit (which is really what wearing a tallit is all about).
And of course a tallit bag is a great gift idea for a bar mitzvah boy, a chassan or as a birthday gift for a husband (or son) who already has a nice tallit.