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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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A Silver Atarah On A Talit


Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Question: I have heard that some halachic authorities disapprove of placing a silver atarah on a talit. Is this true?

Answer: Yes. The Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chayim 8:10) writes that wearing a silver atarah gives the impression that atifat harosh is more important than atifat haguf. But this is not so. It is atifat haguf that is essential, not atifat harosh. To offset this concern, some people place a strip of silver in the middle of their talit to signify the vital role of atifat haguf. Yet, this is not really sufficient.

The Ari Hakadosh did not have an atarah on his talit (nor do modern-day litvishe roshei yeshiva). Indeed, he didn’t have any marker on his talit whatsoever indicating which part of the talit was to be used for his head.

Many people do not buy a talit with a silver atarah, and I believe this is the proper practice. A talit should wholly be made of wool; there is no reason for silver or gold to adorn it.

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of several books on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer The Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and Judaica stores.

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


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3 Responses to “A Silver Atarah On A Talit”

  1. Mendelea Ma says:

    The Atarah
    Rabbi Ari Friedman.
    Take a look around in shul and you will surely notice that a number of people have a silver adornment attached to the top end of their tallis known as an “atarah.” Most of the other taleisim, while they might not have a silver atarah have some sort of material sewn on to the top as well. The source for this custom is actually found in our parsha which seems only to deal with the complexities of building the mishkan. The pasuk says, “You shall set up the mishkan “k’mishpato” – according to its manner. The Yerushalmi says that this alludes to an extra detail which must be adhered to. When the k’rashim – planks of the mishkan were set up, they were numbered so that the planks that were on the northern side of the mishkan and merited to be near the shulchan should always be set up on the northern side. Similarly, the planks which were set up on the southern side and merited to be near the menorah should always be set up on the southern side. This rule is known as “ma’linb’kodesh v’ein moridin”- items or individuals which enjoy an elevated status may not be removed or lowered from their position but only raised to an even higher status. Based on this lesson, the Magen Avraham writes that one should put an atarah on his tallis so that the tzitzis which are worn facing the front of the body should not be worn at another time facing the back of his body. Another reason to always wear the tallis the same way is that the end of the tallis which covers the head is considered more significant and should not be turned around and worn on the lower part of the body. When one has his tallis marked with an atarah it serves as an indication as to which way the tallis should always be worn. This comparison of a tallis to the mishkan is questioned by some who claim that the rule of “ma’alim b’kodesh” may not necessarily be applied in all cases. Indeed, the Arizal did not follow this custom of wearing an atarah. Some object to the custom of wearing an atarah, claiming that beautifying the head of the tallis may give the impression that the tallis is meant primarily to cover the head when in fact an article of clothing meant to cover the head is patur from tzitzis. The Sefer Levush therefore praises those communities whose minhag it was not to wear an atarah. To address this issue some talleisim are made with an additional atarah made of silver or some other material along the middle of the tallis (which covers the body) to stress that the tallis is meant to cover the body as well.

    Despite the doubts and objections of some, it has become the minhag of the majority of k’lal yisrael to adorn tallis with some sort of an atarah.

    Many, especially those with Chasidic leanings have the custom to wear either a silver or more elaborate atarah on Shabbos than on weekdays. This is based on the Magen Avraham, who writes that just as we wear nicer clothing on Shabbos, one should wear a special tallis on Shabbos as well.

    1 Shmos 26.

    2 Shabbos

    3 Orech Chaim 8-6.

    4 See Shut Beer Moshe 5-3, 4 who writes that this second reason would only apply to a tallis gadol whereas the first reason would apply to a tallis katan as well.

    5 Sefer Bikurei Yaakov Hilchos Succah 630-16 and Mor Uketziah 10.

    6 Quoted by Magen Avraham. This is also the Minhag of Chabad.

    7 10 see Eliyahu Rabba there.

    8 Sefer Artzus hachayim – Malbim 8, Darkei Chayim Vhashalom – Munkatch Tzitzis 36. See also Aruch hashulchan who rejects this as well.

    9 Magen Avraham 262-2, Minhag Yisroel Torah – Tzitzis 8-5.

    Shmos 26

    Shabbos

    Orech Chaim 8-6.

    See Shut Beer Moshe 5-3, 4 who writes that this second reason would only apply to a tallis gadol whereas the first reason would apply to a tallis katan as well.

    Sefer Bikurei Yaakov Hilchos Succah 630-16 and Mor Uketziah 10.

    Quoted by Magen Avraham. This is also the Minhag of Chabad.

    10 see Eliyahu Rabba there.

    Sefer Artzus hachayim – Malbim 8, Darkei Chayim Vhashalom – Munkatch Tzitzis 36. See also Aruch hashulchan who rejects this as well.

    Magen Avraham 262-2, Minhag Yisroel Torah – Tzitzis 8-5.

    Rabbi Weinrib is a full-time member of the Kollel and is a frequent contributor to Halacha Encounters.

  2. Saul Jacobson says:

    got to be longest favebook post of all time

  3. Mendelea Ma says:

    click copy paste

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