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I'm curious about the reasons and sources for the different customs about if and when to cover one's head with the tallit gadol during davenen. For example:

  1. cover head from after bar'chu until after silent amidah

  2. cover head from beginning of silent amidah until after kedushah of reader's repetition

  3. cover head when having an aliyah

  4. cover head with tallit gadol all the time

  5. never cover head with tallit gadol

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related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3131/759 –  Double AA Mar 23 '12 at 4:52
    
No sources but IIRC it revolves around the ספר העיתור and an idea called עיטוף. Also, IIRC, the first teshuva in Yabia Omer (O"C Vol. 7) discusses the Halachic ramifications of covering the head with the talit, but that doesnt seem to be what you're looking for. Or is it? –  Baal Shemot Tovot Mar 23 '12 at 5:45
    
@Vram I think it's asking why the different distinctions in davening. שמא Shemmy can clarify? –  Double AA Mar 23 '12 at 5:58
    
You're both right. My question was worded specifically about the differences in minhagim, but I was hoping the responses would begin from the point of why there is such a minhag in the first place. I didn't know the inyan about עיטוף and I'm going to look up the Yabia Omer reference as soon as I finish my coffee, thanks! –  Shemmy Mar 23 '12 at 13:40
    
Check also the bet Yosef (I think it's siman 8- it should correspond to where the shulchan aruch says that sometimes it should cover your hear but need not always) for the ba'al haitur inside. –  Baal Shemot Tovot Mar 23 '12 at 14:47
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2 Answers

גמרא in :קידושין ח that says if you are a great person you should have something on you head. furthermore on .דף לג the גמרא calls one who doesn't cover his head a ''מחוצף''. also, theres another גמרא in קידושין that says one of the אמוראים was not covering his head because he wasn't married. there is another גמרא (i forgot where) that says that משה saw 'ה and He was ''מעוטף כשליח ציבור''. evidently the ש''ץ is supposed to wear the talis on his head.

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This says nothing about at which points of davening it should be done. –  Double AA Mar 23 '12 at 5:43
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moses, welcome to the site! You might wish to register your account so as to take advantage of all the site has to offer. (And, fwiw, I agree with @DoubleAA's comment.) –  msh210 Mar 23 '12 at 6:01
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The Mishna Brurah 8:4 references the Bach who says tzarich(one needs to) cover his head from the beginning of davening to the end of davening.

The Be'er Heitiv 8:3 brings the Radvaz 1:196 and the D'var Shmuel siman 123 who also says one needs to cover their head with their tallis.

The Shaarei Tshuvah brings the Radvaz 2:342 who says those who don't cover their heads during teffilah are not doing it k'din.


I looked up the Piskei Tshuvos chelek Alef siman 8:8 which brings down what you are looking for. It seems that most of the Achronim are of the opinion that one should wear the Tallis over their head the whole time. See the footnotes there,78,79... The Be'er Moshe 5:2 was quoted and he thoroughly sources this idea.

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Thanks for the sources, Sam. I'll have to look there to try and figure out what exactly is meant by 'davening.' My question assumes that one covers his head at some point prior to beginning the amidah. My question specifically asks at what point and why. That question remains unanswered. –  Shemmy Jul 8 '12 at 11:14
    
@Shemmy np, well according to the Bach it is from beginning to end ,so that is an answer.I remembering seeing in the Piskei Tshuvos beginning to end means from Adon olam to Aleinu.I don't have access to it now but will look it up when I can. –  sam Jul 8 '12 at 15:05
    
Sam, my question remains: The beginning and end of what? Can you be more specific? For example, from beginning of pesukei d'zimra, or from the beginning of k'ri'at sh'ma, or from the beginning of amidah...? Is there something in my original question that needs to be clarified? –  Shemmy Jul 13 '12 at 10:17
    
@Shemmy,sry if I wasn't clear,It seems from all the sources which I have seen ,beg to end is from when one puts on his tallis until it is taken off. Check the sources for yourself. –  sam Jul 13 '12 at 16:12
    
Sam: Oh, okay -- thanks again for the sources. But my question is asking why do many people have different customs up to and including not covering their head with the tallit at all? For example, are there differing opinions about the definition of wrapping one's self in the tallit? Or, are there different opinions about the definition of tefillah (whether it means only amidah or the entire prayer service)? –  Shemmy Jul 15 '12 at 10:07
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