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Kamis, 30 Desember 2010

THE TALIT (PRAYER SHAWL)


FOR REFERENCE:

Hebrew: YHVH (Translates as LORD or God)
Elohim (Translates as God)
Y’shua (Translates as Jesus)
Ruach haKodesh (Translates as Holy Spirit)
Tzitzit (Translates as fringe or tassel)





Anyone attending a Jewish synagogue today will see that the men are all wearing prayer shawls. It is a very important part of Jewish life. Learning about this sacred garment will teach us many exciting lessons from the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. It is a bit of a misnomer to simply refer to the talit as a prayer shawl. In biblical times the Jewish men wore this garment called the Talit (Talith) at all times, not just at prayer. The word “Talith” contains two Hebrew words; TAL, meaning tent and ITH, meaning little. Thus each Hebrew male had his own little tent. It is important to note that there was no Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word talit. Therefore in our King James Bible we find translations like mantle, vesture, cloak, tent, napkin, or even handkerchief.

In these last days there has been a resurgence in an effort to understand the biblical roots of the faith that confesses that Y’shua is the Messiah. With this point in mind, we delve into situations in the scriptures where we don’t quite understand the scenario and teaching point because we are not familiar with the Hebraic background. The history of the Talit is best understood in its biblical context.

Numbers 15:37-41

37. And YHVH spoke unto Moses, saying, 38. Speak unto the children of Israel; and bid them that they may make them fringes (tzitzits) on the borders (corners) of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders (tzitzits) a ribband of blue: 39. And it shall be unto you a fringe (tzitzit), that you may look upon it, and remember all of the commandments of YHVH, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you used to go a whoring: 40. That ye may remember and do all of MY commandments, and be holy unto your Elohim. 41. I am YHVH your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: I am YHVH your Elohim.


Deuteronomy 22:12

Thou shalt make thee fringes (tzitzits) upon the four quarters (corners) of thy vesture (talit), wherewith thou coverest thyself.

As we can see from the scriptures we have just read, the Israelites were commanded to wear fringes (tzitzits, tassels) on the corners of their garments to remind them of the commandments of the Lord and to do them. As we study the talit, we will discover that outside of being a sign of the commandments, the tzitzits actually say something.


In Hebrew there are no numbers, but each letter has a numerical value. This is called gematria (Jewish numerology). Therefore each word has a numerical value. For example, on each tzitzit (tassel) there were 39 windings (7+8+11+13 separated by double knots). 26 is the numerical value of YHVH. 13 is the numerical value of Echad (one). Therefore these windings on each tzitzit equal the numerical value of the Hebrew words “YHVH Echad” or YHVH is One. This is the fundamental axiom of the Jewish faith known as the “HaShem” or “Shema Israel” as found in Deut. 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”

As we read in Numbers 15:38, the fringes(tzitzits) were to have a strand of blue among them. They were commanded to “give to them” (the fringes) a blue strand called the “Shamash” or servant. Each tzitzit had seven white strands, the number of perfection, and the blue “servant” depicting royalty. The total number of strands in each tzitzit is eight, the number of new beginnings. In addition, if you add 600, which is the numeric value for tzitzit, and the 5 knots and 8 strands, they equal 613. 613 is the number of mitzvahs (commandments or instructions) that are found in the Old Testament. This represents the Torah.

Today when we see a talit we rarely see the blue “shamash” in the tzitzit. Most modern talits have eight white strands. This has to do with tradition and the ancient source of the blue dye that was originally used in the making of the blue ribband. In ancient times, the only permanent blue dye was available from a snail in the Mediterranean Sea called the chillazon snail. The dye was extracted from the snail by a process known only by a few of the Jews from the time of the Exodus until the destruction of the Second Temple. It is interesting to know that this blue ribband is removed from the tzitzits when the talit is folded and placed over the face of the one to be buried.

After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, we are told that the chillazon snail disappeared from the Mediterranean Sea and was thought to be extinct. About 15 years ago, however, this snail was rediscovered and is making a comeback in the Mediterranean Sea. Think of the implications!! The snail disappears in the years following the crucifixion of Y’shua and reappears in our time today along with the rest of the signs of His imminent return.

With what we have now learned about the talit, let us go to the scriptures and see what we have read over many times before and never perceived the full significance of. From Aaron’s skirt to what Balaam saw. From Elijah’s mantle to the borders of Y’shua’s garment. We can even see the representation of the talit in the flag of Israel.

SCIPTURE REFERENCES

Psalms 133: 1-2 Aaron’s skirt
Numbers 24; 5 What Balaam saw
1 Kings 19: 11-13 Elijah at the cave
1 Kings 19: 19-21 Elijah casts his mantle on Elisha
2 Kings 2: 5-8 Elijah and Elisha at the Jordan river
2 Kings 2: 11-14 Elisha receives Elijah’s mantle
Ruth 3: 9 The skirt of covering
Ruth 2: 12 The wings of covering
Psalms 17: 8 The shadow of thy wings
Psalms 61: 4 The cover of thy wings
Malachi 4: 2 Healing in His wings
Luke 1: 5-11 The encounter of Zacharias
Luke 8: 43-48 Woman with the issue of blood
Mark 5: 38-42 The daughter of Jairus
Matt. 14: 34-36 The sick touching His garment
Mark 6: 53-56 More sick touching His garment
Matt. 23: 5 Y’shua exposes the Pharisee’s hypocrisy
John 20: 3-7 At the garden tomb on resurrection day
Acts 5: 15-16 The shadow of Peter


Revelation 19: 11-16 Y’shua’s triumphant return




THE TZITZIT (TASSEL) OF THE TALIT



JEWS WEARING TALITS AT
THE WESTERN WALL



TOUCHING THE TZITZIT OF
Y'SHUA'S GARMENT

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