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Did Jesus wear a prayer shawl (tallit)?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by baraqemet, Feb 20, 2007.

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  1. baraqemet

    baraqemet New Member

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    I received this in an e-mail:

    Did Jesus wear a Jewish Prayer shawl (tallit) ??


    Did Jesus wear a tallit? According to John Hagee, Benny Hinn, and many of the Hebrew roots/Messianic teachers, they have stated publicly that He did, without supplying any Biblical proof for their assertions. The modern day conception of the what is known today as a tallit or "prayer shawl," came about from a rabbinic interpretation of a passage from the book of Numbers, of a statute given to the children of Israel by God to put fringes on the borders of their garments and to “use blue thread.” The command was given to Israel so that they would remember the statutes in the future, after a man broke the Sabbath by doing work when he gathered sticks to build a fire, and was then stoned to death because of his transgression of the fourth commandment.


    Numbers 15
    37 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
    38 Speak to the sons of Israel and you shall say to them that they shall make
    Themselves fringes on the corners of their garments, for their generations. And
    thread of blue with the fringe of each corner.
    39 And it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it and remember all
    the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that you do not go about
    after your own heart and your own eyes after which you fornicate;
    40 that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your
    God.

    Let’s review the details about the fringes, or tzit tzit. The fringes were to be attached to the corners of their garments. This was a garment already being worn, and was clothes that they were already in possession of. The passage does not state that it was to be a separate special piece of Holy clothing. Researching the Hebrew text and the meaning of kanaph (H3671) and tzittzit (H6734), one will find that the fringe or tassel is attached to the wing or edge of the garment. It has also been debated by some whether tzit tzit indicates the fringe around the edges of a garment, or a tassel at each corner.

    The mention in the English Bibles of "blue" (techelet H8504) is more accurately defined as violet or purple. The people of the land of Canaan were historically known for wearing garments purple in color. This same "blue" was the color of the cloth that was used repeatedly to cover almost all Holy items found in the Tabernacle of God. Purple or scarlet was also recognized as the color of royalty, and with a purple robe they clothed Jesus before His crucifixion as the Roman guards mockingly hailed Him as “King of the Jews”.

    Historically the violet color was made from a cerulean mussel (Heb. Chilazon). These produced a purple like dye used to make blue, scarlet, and various other shades of purple. This species of mussel eventually became scarce and increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain, so the Rabbis changed the Scriptural requirement given by God that the fringe, or tzit tzit, be dyed with the purple color. The Mishnah permitted the use of tzit tzit with all white threads.Today it is mostly the custom to have undyed fringes. Below is how the Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines techelet.

    H8504
    [FONT=&quot]תּכלת[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]tekêleth[/FONT]
    BDB Definition:
    1) violet, violet stuff
    1a) violet thread
    1b) violet stuff or fabric
    2) (TWOT) blue (covering spectrum from brilliant red through deep purple)

    The Jewish prayer shawl used today, came about by a rabbinical decision at some point in the latter Middle Ages. The construction of this garment was related to a misinterpretation of the Biblical command found in the book of Numbers, and even more likely from the man made teachings/traditions found in the Talmud (Mishnah 3rd Century). The color, and the two blue lines, representing a modern prayer shawl that is found on the flag of the state of Israel, and most modern four cornered tallits, is very likely the wrong color according to historical sources.

    Today there many Messianics who are unknowingly following the rules established by Talmudic Judaism as they use the prayer shawls during services and to cover their heads while praying. They are not aware that the fringes are tied numerically by using gematria in order to form the knots.There are four threads which go through the corner and are doubled back. 4 x 2 = 8. There are five knots on each tassel. 8+5=13. When you add in the numerical equivalent of the word (tsitsit) which is 600. 600+13 = 613. The 613 is a rabbinic interpretation of the ten commandments. (603 interpretations +10 commandments = 613) A Jewish person cannot be buried with a tallit, unless the fringes are first cut off, which symbolizes that the deceased is no longer under the rabbinic interpretation of the Law. Conversely it stands to reason then, that by wearing one, it symbolizes that one is under the rabbinic interpretation of the law (613). Since the 613 is a late rabbinic interpretation, it would also stand to reason that the fringes that were originally commanded by God to be worn in Numbers, would be the ten commandments, and not the 613. If one studies what is written in the Torah, you will find the the tablets with the ten commandments inscribed on them were to be kept inside of the Ark of the Covenant, while the five books of Moses, or the Torah were commanded to be kept outside. Since the man was stoned for breaking the fourth of the ten commandments in the passage found in the book of Numbers, it would be logical that this is what they were to admonished by God to remember.
     
  2. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus I AM WHAT I AM

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    Could He have worn a garment of "sackcloth" at times?
    The "2 witnesses" in Revelation are shown wearing that is the reason I ask. :wave:

    Psalm 69:10 When I wept [and chastened] my soul with fasting, That became my reproach. 11 I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them. 12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me, And I [am] the song of the drunkards. 13 But as for me, my prayer [is] to You, O LORD, [in] the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.

    http://www.scripture4all.org/

    Reve 11:3 and I shall be giving to the two Witnesses/m of me sackcloths, having been about cast, and they shall be prophesying a thousand, two hundred, sixty days;
     
  3. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus I AM WHAT I AM

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    Interesting thread. Any other views from others on this? Thanks. :wave:
     
  4. letmercylead

    letmercylead Regular Member

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    A beloved friend and teacher of mine who has since gone to be with the Lord taught me that in Matt. 9:20 where it discusses the woman with the issue of blood that touches the hem of Jesus' garment, that the word for "hem" means "fringe or tassel" as in the tzitzit that were worn on the corners of the garments. He said the reason that the woman specifically touched the hem was because of the prophesied scripture concerning the Messiah in Malachi 4:6 where it says:
    But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings

    He said that this was a sign that she may have recognized Jesus as Messiah and therefore why she thought that if she would just touch his garment (the "wing"--fringe/ tzitzit) that there would be healing for her.

    Just thought I'd toss that out there for some food for thought.

    God Bless!
     
  5. baraqemet

    baraqemet New Member

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    Yes, you are correct. There is a second part to the OP that I posted that talks about some of the very things you brought up. I will try and post it later.
     
  6. SeekingTheTruth0819

    SeekingTheTruth0819 Regular Member

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    Not everything is in the written in the Bible; indeed, John tells us that if everything were to be written down the whole earth would not be big enough to hold it all.

    Jesus was a perfectly faithful Hebrew; the most perfect, in fact. As such He perfectly fulfilled all of the law and the commandments without exception.
     
  7. baraqemet

    baraqemet New Member

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    No where in the scriptures is anyone commanded to don a tallit. As a matter of fact, the word tallit can not be found in the Hebrew Scriptures.
     
  8. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus I AM WHAT I AM

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    :)
    So how did cardinals and popes come to wear them those types of garments?
    Did Paul or the Apostles wear them [I myself think not] or the same garments as Jesus wore? Just curious. :wave:

    http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/things/tallit.htm


    [​IMG]
    The tallit (also spelled talit; Yiddish tallis; plural talitot) is a prayer shawl worn by Jews during weekday morning services, on the Sabbath, and on holidays.
    During Sabbath and holiday evening prayers, only the cantor (prayer leader) and Torah reader wear a tallit. The tallit is normally made of wool and has special twined and knotted fringes (tzitziot) attached to each of its four corners. The tallit is thus sometimes called the arba kanfot, "four corners."
     
  9. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    I think that this is quite a convincing passage that Jesus indeed did wear a prayer shawl.
     
  10. baraqemet

    baraqemet New Member

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    The directive in Numbers from God said that the fringes were to be a part of your garment. No where is it instructed that you don a special additional garment.
     
  11. baraqemet

    baraqemet New Member

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    Here is the rabbinic blessing that is said when donning the tallit:

    "Blessed are You, LORD our God, Master of the Universe, who sanctifies us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the commandment of the tzitzit."

    Notice how they didn't say that the tallit was commanded?

    No where in scripture is anyone commanded to only put them on at special times as directed by the rabbis...God told the children of Israel to wear them ALL the time.
     
  12. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus I AM WHAT I AM

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    :) There is one place where Jesus does describe 2 articles of clothing but I would assume one is perhaps to wear during cold weather. Thoughts?

    Matt 9: 20 and lo, a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, having come to him behind, did touch the fringe of his garments, 21 for she said within herself, `If only I may touch his garment, I shall be saved.'

    Mark 5:27 having heard about Jesus, having come in the multitude behind, she touched his garment, 28 for she said--`If even his garment [#2440] I may touch, I shall be saved;'

    Young) Matthew 5:40 and whoever is willing to take thee to law, and thy coat [#5509] to take--suffer to him also the cloak [#2440].


    chiton (Strong's 5509) occurs 11 times in 10 verses: AV - coat 9, garment 1, clothes 1; 11

    himation (Strong's 2440) occurs 62 times in 59 verses: AV - garment 30, raiment 12, clothes 12, cloke 2, robe 2, vesture 2,
     
  13. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus I AM WHAT I AM

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  14. Tonks

    Tonks No longer here Supporter

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    Chagall routinely painted Christ wearing the tallit and / or associated with many Jewish images...often against a background which highlighted various Old Testament stories.

    There are various political reasons for his doing this not the least of which was showing the "brother Jew" suffering along side Jews that suffered through the Holocaust.

    His Biblical works make for interesting art history.
     
  15. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    My apologies. I didn't quite understand where you were going with this.(I never read closel enough the first time).
    I see now that it is more about the actual prayer shawl as an accessory rather than a garmet with the tzitziot.

    For what it is worth, I really have no objections to the Jewish rabbis amending the code of dress to allow thier people to fit in with the societ at large. Orthodox Judaim, like Islam today, has a tendancy to be so rule-bound that is does seem good that they have found ways of making it so that the Law is not just a burden to their people.
    In the prayer shawl, I think the esssence of the Numbers passage is maintained for the Jewish people in such a manner that an Orthdox Jew can integrate into the larger society so much more easily.

    What what was more interesting for me though, is how certain passages of the Bible become enriched by us being exposed to some of the customs preserved by the Jewish practices. Even if there are differences-and you have likely elucidated on those difference quite well-this gospel story really comes to life for us mainly because some parts of the tradition have been preserved by the Orthodox Jews.

    Maybe there is a tendancy for some Messianic Christians now -and other Christian groups too-to become too attached to the Rabinic Jewish Law of the 613 commandments, and probably it is a good idea to remember that the numerology behind the knottings of the tzitziot of the tallit are more a reflection of the legalism of Judaism than the freedom that Paul elucidates so well for us Christians. I think that these are valid points to make for Christians who are now wanting to make this tradition their own.

    However for Jews themselves, I am quite happy that they have been able to find ways to remember the essence of the law in a manner that enables them to integrate into a more pluralistic society.
    I could only wish that the legalists advocating sharia for their members(and the rest of us too) might be able to find similar solutions.
     
  16. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus I AM WHAT I AM

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    Hi. Ironic you should mention that, as I view the Catholic church in the same light as you imply about Judaism and Islam. I am sure those 2 religions will not react favorably to your condescencion of them like that. Pot calling the kettle..............:wave:

    http://www.christianforums.com/t4559...emic-book.html
    -revelation-a-jewish-polemic-book

    (Young) Matthew 23:27 `Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye are like to whitewashed sepulchres, which outwardly indeed do appear beautiful, and within are full of bones of dead men, and of all uncleanness;

    Revelation 18:13 and cinnamon, and odours, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep, and of horses, and of chariots, and of bodies and souls of men.
     
  17. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    While I do find your comment to be condescending, for me this is just a repeating of what I heard Islamic scholar Daniel Pipes comment on. I am not really condescending at all, but just stating a well-known fact.

    That Islam is a very legalistic religion is not really a condescension, but merely a fact that even many Moslems take some pride in pointing out. Total unquestioning to Allah's sharia is very much a part of their belief system.

    And really, Jesus said the same thing about the Judaism of his day and how the Laws of man had become a yoke to the people, and that the Law was made to serve the people not vice-versa. This was a difficult problem for Judaism even in that day.

    Baraqemet, if I am undeerstanding his comments about man-made laws, seems to be saying the very same thing as Jesus did too. I think that that was what he was objecting to, and trying to warn us against.

    Christianity-and yes even Catholicism-found a way to deal with this legalism.

    And the issue of the prayer shawl simply reminded me of one way that Orthodox Judaism may have dealt with the issue in the Middle Ages too.

    What Daniel Pipes made a passing comment on made sense to me in the light of other things I read about Judaism-such as the Jewish emigrants from Islamic North Africa maintaining a much more legalistic religion than their counterparts from Europe.
    It does make sense that Jewish culture too is influenced by the larger culture that they belong to, be it Islamic or Christian.

    Moderate Moslems are now struggling to find accomodation to their very legalistic religions as Orthodox Judaism once did.



    .[/quote]

    Most of the what you write, Little is just a little crytic and obscure for me to even want to follow.
    But yea, I know that there are a lot of Catholic-bashers in these forums, and evidently that is a point of pride for you.

    So you proved yourself ignorant of catholicism!

    So what??
     
  18. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    a) No where in the Torah does is say how many knots are to be in the tzitzit. In fact, this mitzvah literally read is really among the chukim. The number of knots etc and what they mean is basically traditional.

    b) The exact colour if the tzitzit is unknown, because the sea creature used to make the colour is unclear. This is why none of the tzitzit are coloured.

    c) God did not say wear the tzitzit all the time- only to keep them visible when wearing them. In Hebraic thought this is often attached to daylight hours.

    d) Decorating the tzitzit with Hebrew blessings or Magen David (which I have never seen) does not violate the commendment.

    That's poor logic. The outer garments worn by Jews during the time of Jesus were similar, if not basically identical, to what we now call tallitot. Just because the word isn't somewhere in the Tanakh doesn't mean they didn't exist. You can't build an argument from silence. We know that a tallit-type garment was popular during the Second Temple era in the Middle east- very simple. The commandment to put tzitzis on the corners of four cornered garments would make them tallitot.

    While I completely agree with what you say here- but you might have to ask yourself whether or not you are doing any better.
     
  19. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    This is precisely the kind of approach to doing theology that brings in so much confusion regarding the Jewish roots of the Faith.

    Jewish tradition is nothing like Protestantism. Just because it isn't mentioned doesn't mean it wasn't or shouldn't be done.

    To the Jew, God has given us a commandment, so let's find ways and make opportunities to fulfill it. Wearing an additional garment not specifically commanded (in order to fulfill a commandment) which fashion has made difficult to do today is a way to be faithful to God. What I mean is this: the command to wear tzitzis applies to four cornered garments. Not many garments today are four cornered. So, we make a four cornered garment to fulfill the commandment, because we want to do the mitzvot (obey the commandments) to receive God's blessings out of love and respect for His deliverance.
     
  20. baraqemet

    baraqemet New Member

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    [FONT=&quot]ContraMundum[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]a) No where in the Torah does is say how many knots are to be in the tzitzit. In fact, this mitzvah literally read is really among the chukim. The number of knots etc and what they mean is basically traditional.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]But the 613, which is a later rabbinic interpretation did not exist at the time of the writing of the book of Numbers, therefore it probably wasn’t that, and since the man broke the fourth of the ten, and not the 243rd of the 613, odds are it was the ten. If you like gematria, then, six =man, and 13 = rebellion.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    b) The exact colour if the tzitzit is unknown, because the sea creature used to make the colour is unclear. This is why none of the tzitzit are coloured.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]It was known at the time of the directive by God. The rabbis have no authority to ammend what God spoke.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    c) God did not say wear the tzitzit all the time- only to keep them visible when wearing them. In Hebraic thought this is often attached to daylight hours.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]He said to put them on the four corners of the garment that one wore every day all day. He did not establish the rabbinic parameters. The rabbis did.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

    d) Decorating the tzitzit with Hebrew blessings or Magen David (which I have never seen) does not violate the commendment.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]The Magen David is also a late rabbinic addition which was not used by the Jewish people at the time of the writing of the book of Numbers. Since God did not order that a special Holy piece of clothing be made, the Magen David that is on that clothing is also a rabbinic afterthought ie moot point scripturally.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]That's poor logic. The outer garments worn by Jews during the time of Jesus were similar, if not basically identical, to what we now call tallitot. Just because the word isn't somewhere in the Tanakh doesn't mean they didn't exist. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Do you have a picture of a tallit from the first century? I have been reviewing archaeology articles for years, and have never seen any. If you have one please provide the link to it.[/FONT]
     
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