Is there a preference, if one is davening at a schul where everyone wears the same tallitot (black or white), to borrow a tallit, assuming it is of a kosher size, rather than wearing one's own if it is more colourful?

Some background info: On Shabbat, I wear a tallit with striping in various shades of blue, purple, and crimson, similar to this, with techelet following the Terumat HaDeshen.

  • What if everyone is wearing purple polka-dot ties? – Double AA May 11 '14 at 1:40
  • Good point, although I would think that a tallit presents more of a visual interruption than a tie. – Noach MiFrankfurt May 11 '14 at 1:43
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    From the back, maybe. – Double AA May 11 '14 at 1:46
  • I don't see how that background info is useful. Motion for rollback. – Double AA May 11 '14 at 18:16

Let's assume the question is the color of the garment, not the stripes. There is actually some (small) halachic basis for such an argument (in addition to whatever "soft" concerns about distraction, disruption, or the like.)

Rambam's opinion is that if the whole tallit is pink/red/grey/yellow, then the strings (except for the techelet one) should be pink/red/grey/yellow as well. Other rishonim say no, the other strings are always white. The ashkenazic practice is that they're always white, however in an attempt to accommodate the Rambam's opinion, many prefer to stick with a white-garment tallit, so that everyone would agree the strings should be white.

There's a recording where Rabbi Hershel Schachter says "I saw someone wearing a grey-garment tallit, we should tell him that the custom of our yeshiva is to only wear white ones, because of this opinion of the Rambam!"

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    I think most rishonim just don't care what color the strings are. That they must be white is also a minority opinion, albeit one which is traditionally worried about. – Double AA May 11 '14 at 3:45

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