Tallit Sizing & Styles

Posted by Ben G. on 21st Feb 2014

Lately we've gotten a number of questions on tallit sizing from men 6' tall and over (or from a bride buying a tallit for a tall groom). So in this post we'll address tallit sizing for tall men. Here's an interesting inquiry we received last week:

I think am interested in purchasing a Chabad tallit. I belong to a Chabad shul in Lone tree, Colorado, but am not orthodox, although I have been attending Shabbat services regularly for more than 4 years now and will do so for the rest of my life.

My main concern is sizing. I am a 64-year-old. I am 6'2", 195 pounds.

I am not happy with my current tallit becasue it is not long enough nor wide enough.

I now want a tallit that will reflect my re-connection with my religion 4-plus years ago...I'm not interested in "fancy-schmancy."

Your suggestions would be helpful and appreciated.

Thank you for your inquiry. It was an honor for me to be able to help this earnest Jew outfit himself for shul, and hopefully it will continue to be an integral part of his life, may his years be long, healthy and happy.

So we needed to address two issues: tallit sizing and types of traditional tallits.

Sizing: In Reform and Conservative congregations, most people wear a narrow tallit that sits on the neck and hangs in front, not covering the back. They are 18" wide, 24" wide or 36" wide, therefore they are referred to as a size 18, size 24 or size 36.

The more traditional type, which drapes down the back, is a size 45, 50, 55, 60, 70, 80 or 90. On someone your height, I would estimate that a size 55 would hang down in back to your waistline, a size 60 would reach the top of your thighs and a size 70 would hang down to mid-thigh. Some people over 6' would even wear a size 80 or a size 90, but that's a lot of tallit to keep on your shoulders, and many people find the task to be cumbersome and distracting.

Types of Tallit
: As my friend Shraga Simmons writes, "the current custom of black stripes is keeping within the synagogue decorum, which has value in and of itself." If you decides to stick with black striping, I suggested he take a loot akt the Prima A.A., Tashbetz, Chatanim and Hamefoar on this page.

To help sort through them, I referred him to the last paragraph on our Tallit FAQs page.

 "If you want a big of gray or silver or gold, you'll find that there as well," I added. Blue-striped tallits are also quite popular among many of our customers.