Jan 242015

Tallit tips for the kallah shopping for her chassan

When a kallah is ready to buy a tallit for the groom, whether she’s looking for a traditional black-striped tallit or something with a bit of color, she generally could use some guidance. Take, for example, this inquiry from a bride-to-be.

I am shopping for a tallit as a gift to my fiance for my upcoming wedding. We’re modern Orthodox, Ashkenazi, and prefer traditional, full-length talleisim. He already has a blue-striped tallit, so I was hoping for a recommendation for a black-striped tallit. Thank you in advance!

Since this is a fairly common question, let me offer some suggestions to the public at large. The Chatanim is a basic, no frills, black-striped tallit with a very high quality weave. Hamefoar looks quite similar, but up close you can see that it features a box weave with a bit of texture, creating a supple, luxurious fabric. The Tashbetz is a slightly stiffer box weave designed to keep the tallit in place better on the shoulders. It looks slightly more modern, and in my opinion, a bit less elegant.

Hamefoar Prestige is similar to Hamefoar, but has thicker striping, side bands and a lining. Sephardim often have a custom of wearing a white-striped tallit.

Sharon wound up going with Hamefoar Prestige and a Crown tallit bag. I always thought that the crown on this tallit bag was meant to remind us of the King of Kings, but perhaps it is especially apt for a groom, because the Talmud says a groom is akin to a king.

I remember that many years ago, just before I got married, while setting up our apartment in Beitar Illit, a neighbor who was then a young Torah scholar from the United States and a ganze tzaddik, discovered I was a chassan and noticed me shlepping a box up the stairs. Suddenly he snatched it from my hands, insisting he would carry it for me, quoting that shtikel Gemara.

Chassan Tallit Sizes

Getting back to Sharon and her groom, we then had to figure out the right size. At six feet, Sharon’s groom was not short. If the tallit wearer is under 5’6″ it limits our selection, because then the groom probably would need a size 55 tallis and all of the tallits mentioned above, except for the Tashbetz, are only available in size 60 and up. I recommended she go with a size 70, which I estimate would hang down in back to about mid-thigh on him.

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