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. The prayer shawl (Tallit) Part 2

THE PRAYER SHAWL TALLIT

(Part 2)

Quick “kyk weer” (recap)

Last week we were introduced to the prayer shawl or Tallit, we learned that: In Scripture it is called by different names or denoted by many descriptions:

 a garment, ….shroud, ….canopy, ….cloak 
 

Firstly we looked at:

 

  1. 1. THE FOUNDATION FOR THIS PARTICULAR GARMENT.

NUMBERS 15: 37-41

  1. 2. THE PRAYER CLOSSET

The Talith was their …Prayer Closet. TALITH contains two Hebrew words; TAL meaning tent and ITH meaning little.  Thus, you have LITTLE TENT. Each man had his own little tent.

  1. 3. Lastly we considered the validity of the claim that Elijah passed on his Tallit to Elisha.

And I cautioned that there is no Biblical substantiation for this claim.

 

 

Before we concentrate on today’s lesson in detail, I want to answer a question that I was asked after last week’s service. Ivan asked why there was a blue thread in the Tsitsit…..

The most widely accepted reason/reasons can be summarized as:

  1. The Blue thread reminded them of their connection to Royalty. Not everyone wore the blue, only those most wealthy would have had this Royal blue color.
  2. Blue is also the color of our sky, making a connection or physical reminder for the ancient people of the residence of God, in the Heavenlies.
  3. The blue tassel reminds them of their Royal connection and the Biblical commandment to the Torah.

 

 

Today I want to emphasize some customs that evolved around the Tsitsit, and it would seem that many of them originated in the Old Testament…

 

One of these customs was the way in which the Tsitsit were tied. Some of the older studies that I consulted, revealed that there is a general consensus that:

Authority within the tribe or the community was represented in the tying of the tassels…

Yet from about 70 BC to 185 AD…there was a change, and status was represented in the tassels…

 

IOW ..this was a problem in Jesus time.

In Mat 23 Jesus made a comment as He and the disciples were watching people enter the house of Prayer:

 

Mat 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

 

Mat 23:2  "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.

Mat 23:3  So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

Mat 23:4  They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Mat 23:5  "Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;

Mat 23:6  they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;

 

Folks…do you understand what was happening here? The Pharisees (some of them)

 

 

In speaking of the Pharisees, it’s important to realize that not all Pharisees were hypocrites. Nicodemus was a Pharisee (John 3). They were actually, the conservative religious leaders of the time. In fact, of them Yeshua said,

"[They] sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Mt. 23:2-3).

But the point is many had forgotten the purpose of the Tassels (Tsitsit) which was what?.

TO REMEMBER GODS COMMANDMENTS…

Some Pharisees would make their tzizit longer and add more blue in it, because then the people would know that they are wealthy….…and the people would know that they have status and authority…

It became:  not look at the Commandments…it became…LOOK AT ME…

The higher the status and the higher your position in the social structure of the day the longer and more elaborate their tassels would be.

Remember, I said earlier that the Tsitsit became a symbol of STATUS around 70 BC…Prior to that it also represented and was recognized as a symbol of AUTHORITY… Knowing this can help us in our understanding of a well-known Biblical record from the O.T.

I want to take you back to 1 SAM:15

1Sa 15:1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD.

1Sa 15:2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.

1Sa 15:3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'"

 

Notice…God says: destroy everything…Then notice… v.9 says:

 

 

Sa 15:9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs--everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

God then sends Samuel to Saul, and Saul tries to justify his action of disobedience to God…and Samuel says:

1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

Chapter 16: The Lord then sends Samuel to Jesse who has a son that will follow Saul who is now rejected by God.

 

And in v 13 we learn:

 

1Sa 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him (DAVID)in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David.

In the next two Chapters we learn how Saul promoted David, we have Davids’ triumph as a military leader, ( Goliath also).

 

Then in Chapter 18…

 

Sa 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.

 

From there on the next 5 chapters are of lies and deceit and attempts by Saul to kill David…

A real exciting “who done it” story…

 

In Chapter 24 :

 

1Sa 24:1 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, "David is in the Desert of En Gedi."

1Sa 24:2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

1Sa 24:3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.

1Sa 24:4 The men said, "This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.'" Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe.

1Sa 24:5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.

1Sa 24:6 He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD."

FOLKS…Here is the interesting thing…and something we can only really understand if we know about the TSITSIT…

V 4 reads…." Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe.

What is it that David did? He cut off the Tsitsit, the sign of Saul’s authority.

Remember I said these tassels also came to be associated with a person's authority.

In the case of King Saul, we find that David humiliated him by sneaking up to him in a cave at the Spring of Ein Gedi and cutting off Saul's tassels, a symbol of his authority. David's men said:

"This is the day the Lord spoke of when He said to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish'... Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of Saul's robe. He said to his men, 'The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord'" (I Sam. 24:4-6).

Why was David upset with himself?  Because he understood that to steal someone's tassel was to steal his authority. Even though David did this to prove to Saul that he was not trying to kill him, the act of taking the corner fringe would be humiliation to Saul. This bothered David. David immediately went out of the cave and prostrated himself in humility before Saul to prove to Saul that he was not trying to kill him.

David said: "Why do you listen when men say, 'David is bent on harming you?' This day have you seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, 'I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord's anointed.' See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe, but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life..." (I Sam. 24:8-11).

At Ein Gedi, David had literally taken Saul's authority and at that point, he probably could have taken the throne from Saul. But, he didn't; rather, he let God choose the time for him to receive the throne.

 

I know that last week I indicated that I would look at the story of the woman who was healed when she touched the hem of Jesus garment.

 

That was my intention, unfortunately there is just too much importance attached to that aspect of the Tallit and too little time to do it any justice.

 

I will ask Pastor Nicki to give me another slot sometime in the new year to continue.

 

CONCLUSION.

I have purposely not taken certain aspects in the details of the lesson to encourage you or to teach you moral lessons…perhaps you would have had, or will still have certain moral or ethical thoughts that the spirit will reveal to you. My main aim has been to show the importance of the Tallit and it’s tsitsit….
 
…to show how certain Biblical events can become more meaningful if we understand the customs and context. If you remember nothing of the detail, then just don’t forget that the commandments of God are critical to remember and to do……God Bless you.