Silk Tallit and Tefillin Bags
|Luxury, soft, delicate|
|Pouches designed to hold a set of tefilin or a tallit, created from natural or synthetic silk.|
Silk tallit and tefilin bags are lightweight and are created from a natural fabric. They can be embroidered or hand-painted making them very easy to personalize. Often these ritual pouches are sold in sets along with a matching silk tallit and kippa. Most bags on the market are created from natural silk while only a minority are manufactured from high grade synthetic silk.
Silk is a natural fiber normally woven from the threads of mulberry silkworm cocoons. Silk was first produced in China thousands of years ago, when the Chinese found a way to cultivate the silkworm for its unique thread. This process, initially kept secret, involves killing the larvae so the silk thread can be unwound from its cocoon, spun and woven into fabric. This luxury fabric was highly valued in the ancient world and was originally only used by royalty and aristocracy.
Today this fabric is still extremely popular and is mass produced in India as well as China in varying qualities. Cheap types of silk are readily available, while good quality silk is especially prized for high end items.
Jews and Silk
Historically much of the silk trade was carried out by Jewish merchants. By the year 1,000 C.E. there was a thriving Jewish community in Kaifeng, right in the center of China at the end of the silk trade route, often referred to as the 'Silk Road'. It can be assumed that many Tallis and Tefillin bags throughout Jewish History were created from silk.
Silk in Judaica
Today silk is used for a wide variety of Judaica products including kippot, tallits, and tallit and tefilin bags. Some people prefer good artificial silk over cheaper versions of real silk, either for quality or for ethical reasons.
Style & Design
Silk tallis and tefillin bags can be dyed or hand painted in a wide variety of colors, as well as hand or machined embroidered with a variety of designs. Many people like to buy matching sets of talis and tefilin bags, and sometimes purchase a silk tallit and kipa with a matching design. Embroidering silk tallis and tefilin bags can add to the design and allows these items to be personalized with Hebrew names.
Many people prefer raw silk for their tallit and tefillin bags as it is sturdier than regular silk and will last longer. One of the disadvantages of silk is that it easily gets dirty or water-stained and needs to be washed carefully by hand or dry cleaned. Silk also tears easier than other strong fabrics like leather or canvas. Using special plastic protectors designed for tallit and tefilin bags will help preserve the silk fabric. Silk is still considered to be a high-end item and is much lighter than most other material used for tallit bags, making it an ideal fabric for people who travel a lot.