Eretz Tallit – Are Fashionable Tallit Kosher?
Eretz Tallit are tallitot created by Efrat Schwartz, an artist and designer. He founded his company Eretz in 1992 and has been producing Judaica products that lend a fashionable edge to its more traditional counterparts. Based in Israel, one of the company’s hottest products has been its line of contemporary tallit sets he designs for men and women. But is it okay to wear designer religious items? After all, when you go to temple you are there to worship God not to participate in a fashion show as some disapproving Jews contend.
When it comes to the tallit, the Jewish bible takes no specific position about how it is supposed to look. In fact it does not command the Jewish people to wear a specific type of prayer shawl. Instead it merely instructs them to add fringe or tzitzit to the four corners of clothing they are currently wearing. In the beginning, Jews simply attached the tzitzit to the four corners of their garments. However it was found that clarity was needed to prevent believers from unintentionally breaking the law. The current tradition of wearing tallit developed from that. As time went by designer religious items, including Eretz tallit and others, came into fashion as tastes and styles changed.
Whether or not wearing designer religious items, such as Eretz tallit, is okay comes down the intention behind its wear. If the items are worn as a way of further honoring God by always looking your best when you come to worship then it is really a non-issue. However, if the items are worn with the intention to make others feel inferior or try and inspire jealousy then there is a greater problem at hand. Either way, it is not the garments themselves at issue but the reason behind the wearing of them. It is better to be humble in dress and pure at heart than clothed in expensive threads with a corrupt heart.
If you can afford Eretz tallit and other designer religious items and you are true in your faith then be proud that you are able to enjoy such things. So if you find yourself on the wrong end of a disapproving stare because of the perceived expense of what you are wearing, hold your head high. You have been blessed with abundance and it is only natural to want to share that with the one who blessed you.
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