Before donning a tallis one is supposed to enwrap himself in it and make a blessing. I have seen many different ways of performing this wrapping. What is the correct way to wrap yourself in a tallis?

Alternatively, if there are differing opinions or traditions, what are they, and what are the formal guidelines, rules, or steps within each system?

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    I think the reason you have seen many different ways is that there are many different customs. However, I'd also like to see some answers (perhaps "rules" for wrapping within various traditions), especially accompanied by photos or videos, because I always feel like my wrapping is a total mess.
    – Seth J
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 14:06
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    Source for the requirement to wrap differently for the blessing? If you fulfill the mitzva the regular way of wearing it, why can't you say a blessing on that?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 14:22
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    @DoubleAA the blessing specifies "to enwrap yourself" Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 14:26
  • @SethJ I think a video would be great. Maybe @ mekubal could do one like this youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nrhFFGytgOo Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 14:28
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    dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/11695/759 ?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


Sabbahillel, you write that

"While wrapping one’s self in the talis it should be pulled down to one’s mouth and the tzitzis should be thrown over one’s left shoulder"

Aruch Hashulchan (siman 8, para 8) explains that the initial wrapping around the head is done to satisfy the halachic opinion requiring Atifas Yishme'elim (Arab style headdress).

As such, I have seen other Seforim critique the manner of atifah that you quote described above "pulled DOWN to ones mouth". This is patently not how Arabs wear head coverings! Instead, they suggest (as per the Aruch H) it refers to the part of the Tallis thrown over the (left) shoulder, which should cover " UP to the upper lip", and as such closely resembles Arab style headdress.

To summarise, the top part of the Tallis covers the forehead, the lower part is bunched together and thrown over the left shoulder thereby concealing the mouth, and held in position for "hiluch arba Amos" (approx 5 seconds), to fulfil the opinion requiring atifas yishme'elim.

  • As you can see in my answer, that is a citation from the Mishnah Brurah. I also give other citations. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 0:39
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Eliezer. Thanks for the answer. Answers shouldn't be used to respond to other posts. That's for comments. When you have 50 rep. you will be able to comment on others' posts.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 0:44

Hereis the quotationfrom the Mishna Berurah for the Ashkenaz custom. The Halacha Hightlights section of that page goes into more details and includes the Geonim, the Ba'al HaItur, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, and the Ben Is Chai.

The pdf of the Shulchan Aruch

Siman 8 Seif 2: The manner of wrapping (עטיפה) is similar to the way people wrap themselves for work. Sometimes their heads are covered

and sometimes uncovered. It is appropriate that one cover his head with his talis

Wrapping one’s body is also considered “wrapping.” (M.B. 3)

One who wears his talis folded around his neck does not fulfill the mitzvah since this does not meet the requiremen t of “wrapping.” (M.B. 3)

Covering one’s head subdues his heart and leads one to fear of Heaven. Bach writes that one’s head should be covered from the beginning to the end of davening but at the very least one should remain wrapped for the time it takes to walk four amos. (M.B. 4)

Arizal covered his tefillin with his talis but we hold (See Shulchan Aruch 27:11) that at least part of the tefillin should be exposed. (M.B. 4)

While wrapping one’s self in the talis it should be pulled down to one’s mouth and the tzitzis should be thrown over one’s left shoulder. One should remain in that position for th e time it takes to walk four amos and then the talis should b e put in its place with two tzitzis in front and two in back. (M.B. 4)

The Gemara implies that unmarried men did not cover their head with their talis even if they were Torah scholars. (M.B. 4)

Halacha Highlights

According to the Gaonim the obligation to put tzitzis on a garment applies only when the garment is worn in a manner of wrapping. This is evident from the wording of the beracha — להתעטף בציציתto wrap in tzitzis. The manner of wrapping is what is described as the wrapping of the Yishmaelim which involves pulling the garment down over one’s face. Ba’al HaItur disagrees and maintains that wrapping one’s head is not a prerequisite for the mitzvah. The wording of the pasuk is — אשר תכסה בה that he will cover himself in it - and this teaches that covering one’s body with the garment is sufficient to generate an obligation of tzitzis and there is no need to cover one’s head. Mishnah Berurah סק"ג follows Ba’al HaItur and writes that covering one’s body is wrapping – עטוף Nevertheless, he advises that while davening one should wear his talis over his head since it generates submission to Hashem and leads to of Heaven ע' מ"ב סק"ד Furthermore, in Mishnah Berurah’s description of wrapping one’s self after the beracha סק"ד he mentions wrapping the talis around one’s head in order to fulfill the opinion of the Gaonim as well. One must be mindful, however, that during this wrapping the talis must be around one’s body as well for if one were to wrap only their head the mitzvah would not be fulfilled. Those who leave their talis folded and wrap it only around their neck do not fulfill the mitzvah since this is not considered עיטוף according to any opinion מ"ב סק"ג Shulchan Aruch HaRav כח:ח also criticizes those people who following the beracha wrap the talis only around their head. Ben Ish Chai, (שנה א' פרשת בראשית אות ה')however, writes that one should wrap the talis around his head and it appears that he is follow-ing the Gaonim’s position that one must wrap his head. This also seems to be the position of Bais Yosef סימן י סעיף יא

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