We get a lot of orders for Gabrieli tallits, which are quite unique, and some of our customers aren't 100% what they are getting. This week we received an inquiry from a customer in Phoenix, Arizona looking for a royal blue Gabrieli tallit. He had a lot of good questions, so I'm going to share the questions and my answers, which may be helpful for other Gabrieli tallit buyers.
I am looking at the Royal Blue with Gray in Silk Gabrieli Tallit and have a number of questions. I am a Reform Jew so some of the specifications are a bit foreign to me:
1. I am 5'6" and would like to go to the traditional fit as opposed to the shawl approach. Is the 50x80 the right size. I would think that the 20x80 might be too small?
2. I can include the Kippah if I want, but is a bag also included or is that extra and if it is extra how much and will it match?
3. Since this is woven silk, can clips be used or would it tear the fabric?
4. I am not sure what it is called, but frequently on the front border of the tallit there is a strip with the prayer for wearing the tallit on it. Is there anything on this Tallit?
5. The Ptil Tekhelet seems to be the way to go--but not sure if thin or thick would work best. What do you recommend? Do most people get the thick or the thin?
6. Of the choice for tying method, I never paid attention what was used on the shawl one I bought many years ago in Israel, but I am studying Mussar so the Vilna Gaon sounds like something I would want. You do attach these to the Tallit, though right?
7. Last but not least, if this has to be cleaned since it is silk, can it (should it) be dry cleaned?
Sorry for bothering you with so many question, but have not had the traditional style tallit before but would like to go to out. I saw this Gabrieli silk tallit on your website and thought it was really beautiful.
Stephen asked several incisive questions. Here's what I wrote to him.
1) The first number (20" or 50") indicates the height of the tallit. If it's less than about 40" it's not meant to be worn traditional style, draping down the back. The 50" x 80" should fit just fine.
2) The matching bag is included free.
3) I think clips would work fine. It's not a thin silk, which really would be delicate, and it's actually half cotton. They lay a cotton warp, and weave the woof in silk.
4) That's called an atara. On Gabrieli tallits they make the atara (and corner patches) with the same striping pattern as the tallit. Sometimes we get customers who really want the blessing on the atara for some reason (although it's printed in every Siddur), but if you ask me a striped atara looks much nicer.
5) Usually thick. Take a look at this photo to compare.
6) Yes, of course we do the tying, and the tying fee is included in the price of the tzitzit. Occasionally we get customers who prefer to do the tying themselves, to connect themselves to the mitzvah, but most people are not ready to tackle that.
7) Yes, it should be dry cleaned.