I've read that tallit stripes were originally blue and at some point morphed to black. What I'm wondering is if anyone knows any oldsters who can attest to actually seeing this in the frum velt in their younger years, i.e. not in a modern congregation but among yeshiva-leit or chassidim.

Notably the recently developed Belz tallis has navy blue stripes (Talitania version) or super dark navy blue stripes (Mishkan Hatchelet version).


3 Answers 3


Stripes on Tallis states that the Pri Megadim stated that the custom was to use blue in his time (mid to late 1700's). Apparently both customs were extant long before. I saw an article that Yigal Yadin found stripes on taleisim (like today) at Matzada but I lost the reference and do not recall if he mentioned the colors.

Peri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 9:6) writes that the custom was to have blue stripes on the talis, which came to remind one of the techeiles. The custom, however, is to have black stripes on the talis. This is possibly because the ink that the techeiles was made from was black (See Rambam, Tzitzis 2:8 and 2:2). Alternatively, it is so that people won’t think that this is actual techeiles.

Peri Megadim explains that although a talis should be the same color as the strings, the stripes do not constitute a problem, because we follow the principle color of the garment.

This means that nowadays people can wear differently colored stripes without a problem and that the colors do not have significance.

  • Re your last paragraph - I have seen different colored tallitot. Someone in my shul wears a black one and another a red one/ The stripes on my tallit are multicolored. This is problematic?
    – DanF
    Nov 16, 2015 at 18:16
  • @DanF I added a line that the Pri Megadim means that the different colors are not problematic because the white of the tallis is all that matters. Nov 16, 2015 at 18:41
  • I've heard that due to the commonality of subdued striping patterns (eg. black or white stripes) that we should wear such patterns so as not to draw attention to ourselves (this is why I have a Belzer tallit, so that I can be somewhat non-conformist without drawing attention) Nov 16, 2015 at 19:16
  • During the Middle Ages and beyond, there were times that European Jews were legally restricted as to the color clothing they were allowed to wear. Perhaps the color of the talit was influenced by such laws?
    – JJLL
    Nov 18, 2015 at 2:09
  • Saul Jay Singer article in Jewish Press p. 48 8/20/2021 said "However, as early as 1864, they wore taleyot with blue stripes and, as we shall see, it was from these talayot that Wolffsohn and Harris later drew their concept for their [Israeli] flags." .. seems to imply a much later date than 1700's, also oddly specific, 1864.. Aug 29, 2021 at 13:43

Joods by Schilderij Voerman, 1884

enter image description here

  • Those are stripier than I expected
    – Aaron
    Jun 21, 2023 at 0:21
  • Great find. Some background context can only add :)
    – bondonk
    Jun 25, 2023 at 6:49

Some sources say that the blue stripes were a reminder of Yosef's coat. Some shul's in Germany had a limited number (I think only 6) of blue striped tallitos. These served as motivation to encourage youngsters to get to shul early.


http://opensiddur.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Tefiloh-Sefas-Yisroel-Open-Siddur-2016-01-13.pdf page 14 (23 of the entire PDF)

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