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If someone wears a talis and likes to keep it bunched up on his shoulders rather than hanging down his sides, and also plans to sometimes have it over his head and sometimes not, what's a good way for him to prevent its falling off his shoulders?

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I'll post an answer, but am looking for other ideas also. – msh210 Jun 30 '11 at 21:54
Great question- the bane of all talis-wearers! – YDK Jul 1 '11 at 0:24
up vote 5 down vote accepted

For shoulders, it helps to wear a jacket with pads.

To keep my talis from falling down when covering my head- when I first wrap myself, I give my head a lot of slack in the talis, so that it might cover half my face. Then I put the shoulders on. When I subsequently cover my head, the extra slack stays in back by my neck so that it doesn't pull on the shoulders.

(If you want to spend money, there are other options.)

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Bunching the side material under rather than over the material that lies on the shoulder seems to keep it in place better.

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If I'm not mistaken, this is consistent with Chabad custom. – Isaac Moses Jun 30 '11 at 22:00
@IsaacMoses, I've certainly seen a couple of Lubavitch people doing it (and that's where I got the idea), but I assumed it was for the practical purpose I mention rather than a custom. – msh210 Jun 30 '11 at 22:20
Some customs arise for practical reasons ... – Isaac Moses Jun 30 '11 at 22:28
@IsaacMoses I was told it was because the wife of the Lubavitch Rebbe did not like how the knots looked and would cut them off, so now they fold them under so they are not visible. – Ariel Aug 7 '12 at 22:16
@Ariel I heard recently it's because one of the Lubavitch rebbes (I think) wore a white talis, so to show deference to this view they hide their stripes. I don't know that that's accurate though. All right, I'm asking it.... – msh210 Aug 7 '12 at 22:20

I bought a no-slip tallit, It works great and I rarely have it fall off. The fabric is woven into boxes, which not only create a lot of friction but it looks pretty too. What helps a lot here is also what YDK suggested, with covering your whole head with a piece of the tallit before pulling the tallit up onto your shoulders. I'm not sure why, but it really reduces the tug and slipping.

I also highly suggest a tallit clip, and or, tucking the tzizit into a belt.

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First of all, anyone out there who is frustrated by tallit slippage should take comfort in knowing they are not alone. Tallits have always slipped and they always will. Even the Gemara talks about how to deal with a tallit that slips off (in terms of the bracha). But as the respondents noted, wearing a jacket with padded shoulders helps, refining your technique helps and buying a "non-slip tallit" helps.

Just to follow up on what Avi wrote, to read more about these new non-slip tallits, refer to "The Non-Slip Tallit: Myth or Modern Breakthrough?" on my site.

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