What are Tallit and Tefillin Bags?

If you’re a practicing Jew, you may be in need of quality bags to store your tallit and tefillin on.

Tallit and tefillin are some of the items essential in the practice of the Jewish religion and culture. That tallit, or prayer shawl, and tefillin, or phylacteries, remind Jews that God’s word enters both the heart and the head. Male Jews wear both the prayer shawl and phylacteries for morning prayer but just the tallit for afternoon and evening prayers. Sometimes, they also wear the kippah (head covering). It’s a symbolic reminder for Jews that God is always with them, and they must keep God’s laws.

What is Tallit?

Prayer Shawl - Tallit, jewish religious symbol

The tallit is a prayer shawl worn by people of the Jewish faith. In terms of form, the tallit is a shawl made from cotton, wool, or even silk on rare occasions. Its most characteristic feature is the borderline fringes on two opposite sides that are knotted and twined. It is often white, with black, blue, or white stripes running down two sides. It is made of cotton, wool, or silk. Each fringe is made of four strands looped over to make eight strands in total. The tallit is draped over the shoulders like a cape with two corners in front of the wearer and two at the back.

Only the men are obligated to wear the tallit. In many Orthodox circles, men don’t wear a tallit until they are married. Technically, tallit must be worn all day, but it’s not practical in today’s world. So, a garment known as the tzitzit was created – a poncho-like garment worn under street clothing, which is also referred to as the small tallit. In conservative and reform Jewish circles, almost no one wears tzitzit and a tallit from the bar mitzvah age.

The tallit is worn all day on Yom Kippur, and in other communities, the chazzan (prayer leader) wears the tallit during other services.

The Bible doesn’t command wearing a unique prayer shawl or tallit – instead, it commands that people wear a garment of some type to cover themselves and instruct the children of Israel to attach fringes to the corners of their garments (Numbers 15:37-38).

To keep the tallit in good condition, Jews keep it in a dedicated pouch or cloth bag that can be quite simple or ornately decorated. Tallit, along with the bag, is often gifted in bar mitzvahs or weddings and is frequently embroidered with design and the owner’s name.

What is Tefillin?

Jewish morning prayer

Tefillin, on the other hand, is a pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew parchment scrolls. The set includes two: one for the arm and one for the head. Each tefilla (singular of tefillin) contains three main components: the scrolls, box, and strap. Inside the tefillin are handwritten parchments with texts from four passages from the Torah, calling upon the Israelites to keep God’s words in mind.

The tefillin contain four selections from the Torah, handwritten by a scribe: Exodus 13:1-10, Exodus 13:11-16, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Deuteronomy 11:13-21.

The tefillin are worn on the biceps, and the strap is tied with a special knot wound by the wearer seven times around the forearm and hand. It’s put on the left arm for right-handed men and on the right for those who are left-handed. The second box is worn on the forehead by the hairline, with straps going around the back of the head. It is connected at the top of the neck using a special knot and hangs in the front on each side.

According to Jewish tradition, all Jewish males over the age of bar mitzvah (13) must perform the mitzvah of tefillin. They can fulfill the mitzvah by putting it at any time during the day. While wearing it, they must recite a blessing, and it is customary to read the Shema prayer.

Jewish men are commanded to put one box on the head and tie the other one on their arm each weekday morning, as commanded in Deuteronomy 6:8, “You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be a reminder between your eyes.” These are also worn during morning services, except on Shabbat and festivals.

Many Jews who wear the tefillin choose to have high-quality tefillin bags as a hiddur mitzvah (beautification or enhancement of a mitzvah). Tefillin bags are not required, but it emphasizes a loving willingness to fulfill God’s commands. The idea of putting tefillin in bags comes from the verse, “This is my God, and I will glorify Him” (Exodus 15:2).

What are Tallit and Tefillin Bags?

Tallit and tefillin are important essential for the daily lives of orthodox Jews. To make sure it’s cared for and respected day in and day out, store them in a special, well-made bag. Many opt for simple bags made of thick, clear plastic bags with a zipper closure and gold trim. However, others prefer more special, elaborate designs overlaid on bags made of leather, suede, or even velvet.

These bags are often found in the form of pouches, but you can find many other options that come with a strap so you can wear it as a crossbody bag. Typically, the tallit bag is spacious enough so you can put the tefillin bag inside. You can also use them to transport a siddur (Jewish prayer book) as well.

Recently, leather and faux leather tallit and tefillin bags have become popular. If you’re the type of person who has a classy leather briefcase, you’ll probably like to have a leather tallit and tefillin bag. If real leather is beyond your budget, there are plenty of affordable PU (imitation leather) tallit bags to choose from.

Matching Tallit and Tefillin Bags


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Talit Time (@talit_time)

Religious and symbolic items like these are sacred for the Jews, so they have to protect the tallit and tefillin. For some who need to bring it safely anywhere they go, a pair of zippered bags can be handy. There are matching tallit and tefillin bags available in the market, and it usually comes with the Hebrew words “tallit” and “tefillin” engraved or printed on the bags. These bags are a wonderful gift for occasions, especially for a bar or bat mitzvah. You may want to consider these for yourself.

Benefits of Tallit and Tefillin Bags

It protects your religious items


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Talit Time (@talit_time)

Protecting these ritual objects is essential to keep the tallit and tefillin usable for longer. A bag can protect your tallit and tefillin from dirt, spills, elements, and typical wear and tear. If you’re a Christian, it’s like putting your Bible in a protective case or a zippered cover to protect your Holy Book and keep it in its best condition as you continually use it.  

It shows how you honor Jewish traditions

Tallit and tefillin bags are not a religious requirement, but it’s a simple way for Jews to honor God by protecting the religious items they were commanded to use. The act of prayer to God is sacred, and the use of tallit and tefillin reflects your devotion to following God’s commands. Special bags, like beautiful phylacteries (tefillin) and high-quality shawl and fringes (tallit/tzitzit), is an act of hiddur mitzvah. While some may be satisfied with the minimum standards, the dedicated ones recognize and encourages the addition of aesthetic dimension.

It shows ownership


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Talit Time (@talit_time)

If you live in a Jewish household where every guy has their own tallit and tefillin, how can you tell which one is yours? If you keep yours in a bag, it won’t be mixed with the others once you are all done praying. The bag can be embroidered with your name for a more personal touch.

It can reflect your personal style


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Talit Time (@talit_time)

Tallit and tefillin bags, like other kinds of bags and pouches, are available in different colors and designs. There are bags that have a more traditional design with Hebrew embroidery or prints, but there are more modern leather bags in different textured finishes with Hebrew engravings. Some of these bags have two-toned colors for a modern and fashionable look, and some come with straps for more convenient carrying.