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The tallit (Hebrew word, plural tallitot) is a prayer shawl that is worn during the morning Jewish services, in Judaism, during Torah service, and Yom Kippur and other holidays. It has special twined and knotted fringes known as tzitzit attached to its four corners.

While some other Jewish garments or objects might be treated more casually, the tallit is a special personal effect, generally used for many years or a lifetime and never discarded. Most Jewish men own very few tallitot in their lifetimes. A threadbare tallit is treated with great respect, as if it had a mantle of holiness, acquired from years of use.

Although there is no mandatory tradition, in Conservative, reform, and otherwise non-religious families a tallit, as well as phylacteries (tefillin), is likely to be given as a special gift, from father to son, from father-in-law to son-in-law, or from teacher to student. It might be purchased to mark a special occasion, such as a wedding, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or a trip to Israel. When a man dies, it is traditional that he be buried dressed only in his white robe (kittel), with his tallit is draped over him. Otherwise, a religious Jew is required to have his own tallit.

Since wearing a tallit at certain times is considered an obligation for men, a synagogue will usually have a rack available with extras, for visitors and guests, or for those who forgot to bring their own with them. Although non-Jewish male visitors are expected to wear a kippah (head covering) when visiting a synagogue, it would be frowned upon for a non-Jew to put on a tallit, unless he is studying or preparing for conversion to Judaism.

According to Rabbinic Judaism, men are required to wear it at various points of their lives as Jews, and most sages regarded the fringes (tzitzis) as compulsory. In Reform Judaism, the use of a tallit was declining during much of the 20th century, but in recent years, it has returned to favour. Various authorities have differed as to whether women are permitted to wear a tallit. In Orthodox Judaism, many authorities discourage women from wearing a tallit while some Modern Orthodox authorities permit it. In other branches of Judaism it is more commonly practised.

In the synagogue a Jew saying his prayers will sometimes pull his tallit (prayer shawl) up over his head; he does it in order to create privacy and intimacy between himself and God.