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Blessing the Children Under a Tallit (Prayer Shawl)


Question:

Hi. In my Conservative congregation the rabbi blesses the children in front of the open ark during the Sabbath morning service while they are standing under a large Tallit (prayer shawl) held by the parents. What is the significance of holding a Tallit over the children?



AskTheRabbi.org answered:

The Tallit prayer garment is symbolic of a “Chupah”, a wedding canopy. True, the children aren’t getting married quite yet! However, standing in the Synagogue by the holy Ark under a prayer garment shows the purity of the children and how beloved they are to God.

In virtually all Synagogues there exists the custom that the children are blessed in such a manner on Simchat Torah, when we celebrate and rejoice with the Torah. I have never heard of the custom to bless the children in this manner every Sabbath, but it sounds like a very beautiful custom!  


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