A question of my Jewish brothers

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by jvarnell, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    I am not Jewish but have a question I don't know where to ask it. Because of the strife in the Mideast I won't to waer a Jewish Prayer Shawl when I go to my Christian church. I beleive as a Christan that we should honor our past. So would someone that is a pratising Jew feel offended if I did this?
  2. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

  3. CajunTinMan

    CajunTinMan Registered User

    Taken from mytalit

    Just remember this is just one persons opinion.

    Tallits for Non-Jews
    December 1st, 2008

    It may seem unusual or odd, but a number of non-Jews have expressed interest in the use of the prayer shawl, properly known as talit. The talit, as any practicing Jew would know, is a garment used during the morning prayer and during the Sabbath day (and during Jewish religious holidays). The use of the talit is part of the mitzvah, or the 613 commandments the Jews practice. In turn, the tallit itself (or, practically, the tzitzit placed on the four corners of the prayer shawl), serves as a reminder for the Jews that they should observe the mitzvah. This practice was mainly based on the verses on the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy.

    It is obvious that the use of tallis is mainly a Jewish traditional. Even individuals from different (but similar) religions like the Catholics and the Protestants are not required to wear such religious garments. So why are non-Jews interested in using tallits or tallitot, considering that the tallit is a religious garment?

    First, this interest may be rooted on other people’s interest in other religions. Many people study many religious beliefs and use them according to how they see fit. Of course, this is not exactly forbidden. Hence, many people, even non-Jews, use the tallit during their prayers, believing that the use of such religious garment helps them with their praise and their relationship with God.

    Another source of this interest may stem from less sincere reasons. Many non-Jews use the tallit as a shawl, and not just for prayer. This practice is not limited to use of tallits by non-Jews or gentiles. After all, many religious also use shawls and other similar pieces of clothing during their moment of praise. These garments are used as accessories by many non-Jews, something that has stemmed from the ignorance of non-Jews. Many gentiles do not know that such garments are used for religious purposes.

    To be fair, the Jews are becoming more and more in terms of the rules in wearing tallits. More and more women are using tallits. Hence, the Jews cannot be accused of being closed minded, since the use of the tallit itself has been subject to change.

    However, the use of tallit by non-Jewish is opposed by several authorities due to a number of reasons. For one, gentiles are not subject to the mitzvah. This means two things: they are not required to wear the tallis, and the purpose of the prayer shawl is not applicable to them, since the tallit should remind people of the mitzvah.

    In both cases, non-Jews should be careful when using tallits. The use of these prayer shawls requires proper etiquette. There are rules to follow, and non-adherence to these rules is an insult to Jews. After all, the Jews consider this practice sacred. While the Jewish authorities say it does not make much sense for a non-Jew to use tallitot, there are no actual laws forbidding this. Non-Jews can use shawls used by non-Jew visitors in temple if they want to use the prayer shawl for spiritual purposes. The tallit has very special meaning, and only the Jews can understand it fully.
  4. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    This is exactly what I wanted to hear. thank you brother.
  5. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    I have a talit. I never used it for personal reasons, but for a theatrical production. Since I was playing a part and Co-Directing, I learned a lot about Jewish tradition. Interesting stuff!
  6. jvarnell

    jvarnell Premium Member

    Did the Director give you any place to go to find proper respect of the Jewish tredtions? I have sean it used alot along the waling wall and being a Christian do want to make then mad when trying to make a statment of support of them.

    As I have learned is when a group tolerates me and my symbol I want to suport them when in need.
  7. ni3f

    ni3f Registered User

    This is an interesting question -- I'm a rabbi, by the way.

    I appreciate your desire to identify with the Jewish people and to immerse yourself in our spiritual practices. One can't have too many friends!

    That being said, there are commandments that are intended for everybody and commandments intended for Jews only. The tallit is a specifically Jewish ritual practice intended to remind the wearer to keep all 613 commandments. Most of 613 commandments are not applicable to gentiles. Example: in our view, it is no sin for a gentile to eat pork, work on a Saturday or eat on Yom Kippur.

    Is it a terrible thing if you wear a tallit? No. Would I be offended if you did? No. Is it required that you wear one? No. Would most Jews think it unusual for you to wear one and might some object? Yes.

    It is sort of like a Texan wearing a bowler hat in London or dressing like a samurai in San Antonio. I imagine you might see both--but not very often ;-)

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  8. safehouse

    safehouse Registered User

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013

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