Like all other religions in the world, Judaism and the Jewish culture also have always set some trends in the name of rules and regulations for clothing and the usage of religious items that individuals use for spiritual purposes, and the customs.
- Tefillin Boxes
Tefillin is a parchment paper inscribed with verses from Torah and these parchments are kept inside a rectangular black leather box. Jewish Rabbis came up with the practice of religious men wearing this box. Oftentimes, one box is worn on the upper arm of the non-dominant hand and another on the head to keep the god’s words close to one’s heart and head. It is a kind of spiritual symbolism of acknowledgment of the greater power. Tefillin boxes are worn by spindling leather straps attached to them around the left hand.
Tallit is basically a prayer shawl with fringes on the side and stripes on the body. They are worn by adult Jewish men during prayers. Tallit Gadol is the big shawl that has a drape to the waist and tallit katan is just wide enough to cover the head and shoulders. Tallit Gadol in the Ashkenazi community is worn from the time a man gets married, though tallit katan is worn from the time of a bar mitzvah. Tallit symbolizes one’s devotion to God and is a reminder that everything that is happening is according to the plan of the creator.
Mezuzahs are parchment scrolls with Hebrew quotes from the Tanakh and the Torah enclosed in a designed box and in the back of it “Shaddai”, meaning “almighty”, is written. Jewish people affix mezuzah boxes on the right side of their doorposts in their homes. As they pass by those doors, mezuzahs remind them of the commandments. Mezuzahs also represent the blessings of God and restrict illnesses or bad luck from entering a home.
- Shabbat Chanukah Menorah
On Friday nights before the sun sets generally women of the house light candles before the Shabbat celebration and on the evenings of Jewish holidays. In traditional Chanukiah, a 7 or 9-branched candelabrum is used to hold the light of Shabbat. Generally, they lighten the candle, recite a prayer which is “Best are you Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat”, and do a hand movement from the flame towards the head and heart as if ushering in the holy energy and the blessings of the God.
“Siddur” in Hebrew means “order”. Siddurim are the books for Jewish prayers or an anthology of Judaism. It contains the Jewish liturgy for all the daily and occasional prayers. The cover and writing styles and meanings in Siddur nowadays are personalized and customizable. Some Siddurim have prayers for weekdays and some have all the prayers for weekdays, Shabbat, weekends, and for three biblical occasions, which are Sukkot, Shavuot, Pesach.