Under the Shadow of YHWH’s Wings: The Tallit

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: May 11, 2007

Under the Shadow of YHWH’s Wings: The Tallit

(The Jewish Prayer Shawl)
The Biblical Feasts.
Stephen W. Kraner

Dedicated to the noble Bereans that study whether those things be so.
Acts 17:10, 11.
To those who, like Ruth, have “a love of the Truth.” Zechariah 8:19; 2Thessalonians 2:10.


“1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1.

“8. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,” Psalm 17:8.

“7. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” Psalm 63:7.

“2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.

“37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!” Matthew 23:37.



What does it mean to “abide under the shadow of the Almighty”? What does it mean to “hide under the shadow of [His] wings”? In this paper, two Biblical definitions shall be presented. First, the broad definition will be shown. Then, a Biblically narrower definition will be shown.


The Wings of the Talit.

In Numbers 15 there is an account of a man that broke the Sabbath by picking up sticks on the Sabbath:

“32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35 And the LORD [YHWH]* said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as YHWH [the LORD] commanded Moses.” Numbers 15:32-36.
Immediately, in the context of this event is the following command:
“37. And YHWH spake unto Moses, saying, 38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes [Strong’s H6734, tsiytsith] in the BORDERS [Strong’s H3671, kanaph] of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe [Strong’s H6734] of the BORDERS [Strong’s H3671] a ribband of blue: 39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe [Strong’s H6734], that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of YHWH, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: 40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your Elohim. 41 I [am] YHWH your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: I [am] YHWH your Elohim.” Numbers 15:37-41.

This command is further described in Deuteronomy 22:12:

“12 Thou shalt make thee fringes [Strong’s H6734, tsiytsith] upon the four QUARTERS [Strong’s H3671, kanaph] of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest [thyself].” Deuteronomy 22:12.

Please note that the word, “fringes(s)” is translated from the Hebrew word, “tsiytsith”:
Strong’s H6734, tsiytsith {tsee-tseeth} feminine of H6731; a floral or wing-like projection, i.e. a forelock of hair, a tassel: fringe, lock.

Strong’s H6731, tsiyts {tseets} or tsits {tseets}; from H6692; properly glistening, i.e. a burnished plate; also a flower (as a bright color); a wing (as gleaming in the air): – blossom, flower, plate, wing.

Please note the words, “borders” and “quarters” are translated from the Hebrew word, “kanaph”:
Strong’s H3671, kanaph, and edge or extremity; specifically, A WING, a quarter, border, corner, overspreading, feather[ed]…

Here is the source for the concept of coming under the wings of the Almighty. In Judaism, men, (and a growing custom for women, too), wear a prayer shawl during their worship. The prayer shawl is called a tallit. In the corners of the prayer shawl are knotted fringes [Strong’s H6734, tsit tsit {tseet tseet}]. The knots total 613 knots, representing all the 613 commands in the Torah.


Taking Hold of the Hem of His Garment.

Being Jews and observant of the Torah, our Savior and the disciples wore clothing with four corners and the “tsit tsit,” fringes, in the corners (wings). In several texts of the New Testament we read of a custom (that shall shortly be supported from Scripture) of “taking hold of the hem/border of another’s garment.”

“34. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36 And besought him that they might only touch the HEM [Strong’s G2899] of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. Matthew 14:34-36.

“53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. 54 And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, 55 And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the BORDER [Strong’s G2899] of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.” Mark 6:53-56.

“43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the BORDER [Strong’s G2899] of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.” Luke 8:43, 44. See also Matthew 9:20.

Strong’s Concordance states the following regarding Strong’s G2899:
“Strong’s G2899, kraspedon, the extremity of a thing, edge, skirt, margin; the fringe of a garment; in the NT a little appendage hanging down from the edge of the mantle or cloak, made of twisted wool, a tassel,..: The Jews had such appendages attached to their mantles to remind them of the law.”

From this definition it is clear that the various persons were reaching and grasping a hold of the Tsit Tsit, the tassle(s), on the corners of the Savior’s mantel. And, in doing so, they were being healed! What prompted such a curious behavior?


Taking Hold of the Covenant.

We now turn to the Scripture evidence for the behavior recorded in the Gospel passages above of taking hold of the fringe, the tassels of the Savior’s mantle. Above, I have explained that “fringes,” tassels, with a “ribband,” thread, of blue were to be put into the corners, wings, of the garments that Israel wore FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMEMBERING ALL THE COMMANDS, STATUTES AND JUDGMENTS THAT YHWH HAS COMMANDED ISRAEL TO DO. In Exodus 15:26 we read that obedience to YHWH’s commands would place the believer in the place where YHWH would not lay upon Israel any of the diseases that Egypt suffered:

“26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of YHWH thy Elohim, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] YHWH that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26
YHWH is the One that “healeth thee.” But, the condition is based upon obedience to YHWH’s commandments, and statutes.

In the story of Ruth we read an interesting insight:

“11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and [how] thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 12 YHWH recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of YHWH Elohim of Israel, under whose WINGS [Strong’s H3671, kanaph] thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:11-12.

Ruth had abandoned the paganism of her family. She had adopted the laws and customs of Israel. But, more than this, she had come to trust in YHWH Elohim of Israel. Boaz spoke of her as having come under His wings. The evidence of Ruth’s faith and relationship with YHWH was shown in her practice of Torah. In the book of Ruth, chapter 2, verses 2 and 3, Ruth gleans from Boaz field.

According to the Torah, the gleaning was to be done from the corners (edges) of the fields:

“9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners [Strong’s H6285, pe>ah {pay-aw’}] of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.”

“22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners [Strong’s H6285, pe’ah] of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I [am] YHWH your Elohim.” Leviticus 19:9; 23:22.

While the Torah does not use the word, kanaph, regarding gleaning from the corners of a field, Boaz makes the association of the Hebrew word, peah to the Hebrew word, kanaph, when Boaz spoke of Ruth’s practice of Torah by linking Ruth’s observance of Torah in gleaning from the corners of Boaz’ fields to the commanded remembrance of YHWH’s laws in the Tsit Tsits (fringes) in the wings (corners) of Israel’s garments to the concept that this meant that Ruth had come under the wings of YHWH Himself. Below, I shall present how this concept is the idea of the “protective care” of the Almighty. Boaz goes on to marry Ruth. In a Hebrew marriage ceremony a special “mantle” called a “hoopah” is used. The bride comes under her husband’s “covering” which is also understood as “his tent.” She comes under his headship and rule and tent, as her husband is under the headship and rule of YHWH and under “His Tent.” Isaiah 61:10 describes this covering and its association to the marriage ceremony.

“10. I will greatly rejoice in YHWH, my soul shall be joyful in my Elohim; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

Our Savior’s name in Hebrew is “Yahushua,” meaning “in YHWH is salvation,” or, “YHWH saves.” In Hebrew (Strong’s H3442), in Nehemiah 8:17, Joshua’s name is rendered, “Yeshuwa” {yay-shoo-ah’}. (Or, legitimately abbreviated, “Y’shua.”) Being clothed with the “garments of salvation,” is to be clothed with the garments of Y’shua. This becomes significant when the Messiah comes bearing the name, in part, “salvation.”
To this point we have discussed the idea of coming under the garment of salvation and the idea of coming under the shadow of YHWH’s wings. In the following texts we learn of the concept of “taking hold of the covenant.”

“4 For thus saith YHWH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose [the things] that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHWH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHWH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Isaiah 56:4-7.

Remember how the command to wear frings on the corners of one’s garments came immediately after a man was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath. The knotted fringe, tassel, had its immediate, contextual role of “keeping the Sabbath from polluting it.” In Isaiah 56:6, just as Ruth spiritually came under YHWH’s “wings” when she trustingly ordered her life after YHWH’s laws, so in Isaiah 56, the strangers, and “anyone,” that join themselves to YHWH, to serve Him (obey Him) are described as “taking hold of my covenant.” This metaphorical, or spiritual concept has its literal symbolism in being able to physically take hold of the border of one’s garment and hold the tsit tsit; taking hold of the symbol of YHWH’s laws represented taking hold of YHWH’s covenant. This concept is confirmed in the following passage:
“23 Thus saith YHWH of hosts; In those days [it shall come to pass], that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the SKIRT [Strong’s H3671, kanaph, wing, corner] of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard [that] Elohim [is] with you.” Zechariah 8:23.

Taking hold of the “kanaph” of the Jew is to take hold of YHWH’s covenant. Taking hold of the “kanaph” of the Jew is symbolic of the trusting willingness to come under the shadow of the Almighty in obedience to all His commandments, statutes and judgments.

“7 How excellent [is] thy lovingkindness, O Elohim! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” Psalm 36:7.

When we combine the insights found in Ruth 2:11, 12, with Psalm 36:7 we learn that the commandments, statutes and judgments of YHWH are associated to His “excellent kindness.” In trusting obedience, we come under the shadow and protection, the loving kindness of His wings.

This protection concept is also taught in Psalm 17:8:

“8. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,” Psalm 17:8.

In Exodus 15:26, we read that covenantal relationship with YHWH included deliverance from the diseases that were laid upon Egypt. In Malachi 4:2, the concept of the care of YHWH’s wings and healing are combined:

“2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.

Combining the concepts that the four cornered garment with the “tsit tsits,” fringes, in the corners, wings and the willing obedience of YHWH’s commands is to take shelter under the protective care of the Almighty, with the concept of “taking hold of My covenant” and taking hold of the wing, corner of a Jew’s garment, and with the concept that there is healing in YHWH’s wings–combining these concepts is why the people took hold of the fringe of Y’shua’s garment. This was the Messiah. His name was Y’shua, meaning YHWH saves, or YHWH’s salvation. They took hold of the tassel on the “wing” of the garment of the man whose name meant “salvation.” They took hold of the wings of that garment for the Messianic promise was that there would be “healing in his wings.”

The Tallit (Prayer Shawl) and Healing AFTER the Cross.

Some might think that the commands in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12 have been abolished and not to be observed, especially by Gentile believers. But, the following study shows that the four cornered garment, especially the kind used in formal worship, was involved with miraculous healings years after the crucifixion of our Savior. In John 11:44 we learn of a Hebrew custom to wrap the face of the deceased with his prayer shawl, his tallit, with its fringes in its wings, corners:

“43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a NAPKIN [Strong’s G4676]. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:44.


This practice was also observed in the burial wrapping of our Savior:

“3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. 5 And he stooping down, [and looking in], saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the NAPKIN [Strong’s G4676], that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” John 20:3-7.

Ellen White says of this event, that the Savior Himself folded these items. See Desire of Ages, page 789.* “It was Christ Himself who had placed those grave clothes with such care. When the mighty angel came down to the tomb, he was joined by another, who with his company had been keeping guard over the Lord’s body. As the angel from heaven rolled away the stone, the other entered the tomb, and unbound the wrappings from the body of Jesus. But it was the Saviour’s hand that folded each, and laid it in its place.” Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, page 789. Notice the sanctity that the Savior gives to the “napkin” that had been wrapped around His face and head. The fact that He separated the “napkin” from the regular linen burial clothes shows that it was “holy” for the priests were to teach the people the difference and the setting apart of those things that were “holy” from those things that were common.** I cannot emphasize enough that this is AFTER the cross, that the Savior is setting apart this “napkin.” The reason why the Israelites wrapped their heads in their prayer shawls was because of their belief in the resurrection and respect for the Shekinah glory of YHWH. In veiling their faces even in death, the Hebrew believer showed respect for the resurrecting glory of YHWH. Moses had veiled his face because of the glory of YHWH radiating upon it.* Further, to be wrapped in one’s prayer shawl, tallit, was to show that even in death, the believer was “hiding under the shadow of the Almighty’s wings.” The Strong’s Concordance number for “napkin” in the above texts is Strong’s G4676, soudarion. This word shows up, translated as “handkerchief,” in Acts 19:11, 12:

“11 And G-d wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick HANDKERCHIEFS [Strong’s G4676] or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:11, 12.

“And the diseases departed from them”[!!!] This is years after the crucifixion of our Savior! Yet, the Holy Spirit continues to heal the sick, just as the sick had been healed when they took the hem of the Savior’s garment prior to His death. The commanded symbol of being under the healing wings of YHWH and corresponding willingness to obey all YHWH’s commandments, statutes, and judgments was still binding. The blessing of healing that came by yielding in faith to the care, protection, and healing of being “under the wings” of the Almighty continued.


Observing the Biblical Feasts:

The Special Sense of Being Under the Shadow of the Wings of YHWH.

Having established the continuing, binding obligation of the commands in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12 to wear the four cornered garment with the tassel and the thread of blue in the corners, we now turn to the special relationship of the observance of the Biblical Feasts as being under the shadow of YHWH’s wings.

“16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday [feast day], or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; …” Colossians 2:16, 17.

Colossians 2:16, 17 informs us that “feast days, new moons and Sabbaths” are a “shadows of things to come.” This text alone does not make the feasts to be associated to the concept of being under the shadow of YHWH’s wings. But, the following information makes Passover to be the beginning of the overshadowing of YHWH over Israel.

“In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb,…a lamb for an house,…and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and …kill it… And …take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses. For I will pass through the land of Egypt …and I will smite all the firstborn. …And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses,…and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you.” Exodus 12:3-7, 12-13.

“The verb “pass over” has a deeper meaning here than the idea of stepping or leaping over something to avoid contact. It is not the common Hebrew verb, a-bhar, or ga-bhar, which is frequently used in that sense. The word used here is pasah, from which comes the noun pesah, which is translated Passover. These words have no connection with any other Hebrew word, but they do resemble the Egyptian word pesh, which means “to spread wings over” in order to protect. Arthur W. Pink, in his book Gleanings in Exodus, sheds light on this. Quoting from Urquhart, he states:

“The word is used…in this sense in Isa. 31:5: ‘As birds flying, so will YHWH of Hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over (pasoach, participle of pasach) He will preserve it’. The word has, consequently, the very meaning of the Egyptian term for ‘spreading the wings over’, and ‘protecting’; and pesach, the L-rd’s Passover, means such sheltering and protection as is found under the outstretched wings of the Almighty. Does this not give a fulness to those words …”O Jerusalem! Jerusalem….How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings.’ (Luke 13:34)?…this term pesach is applied (1) to the ceremony… and (2) to the lamb…The slain lamb, the sheltering behind its blood and eating of its flesh, constituted the pesach, the protection of G-d’s chosen people beneath the sheltering wings of the Almighty”

….It was not merely that the L-rd passed by the houses of the Israelites, but that He stood on guard, protecting each blood-sprinkled door! [“YHWH…will not suffer the destroyer to come in.” Exodus 12:23b.”] Ceil and Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, Why Is This Night Different?, Copyright 1978 by Moody Press, Chicago, pages 21-23.
All the rest of the Biblical Feasts follow Passover. With Passover begins the shelter of the blood of the covenant. With Passover follows the rest of YHWH’s Feasts. Following the Passover, YHWH in the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, overshadowed Israel for forty years. At the baptism of Y’shua the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” the Savior. The baptism occurred at the Feast of Tabernacles. It is in relation to the observance of the Feasts that the Torah is taught and learned. The Feasts serve as a servant for the education of Israel of the terms of the covenant. The various “coverings” of the Mosaic Tabernacle are symbols of aspects of YHWH’s covering(s). Winged angels are on the Mercy Seat. Winged angels are embroidered in the curtains of the Sanctuary. The whole system of the Hebrew Economy is about the winged protection of YHWH. In 1Corinthians 5, we read: “7. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast [of unleavened bread], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.” 1Corinthians 5:7-8.

Here is the feast of the New Covenant. “Christ our Passover” is the beginning of the overshadowed protection of YHWH for those who have faith in the substitutionary blood of the Messiah.

Is it no wonder that the circumstances of the command to wear the Tsit Tsits (tassels) on the corners, wings, of the four cornered garment, was made for the purpose of guarding the transgression of the Seventh-day Sabbath, the first of YHWH’s Feasts?!! Here is the link to the Fourth Commandment and to the concept that YHWH’s Word, “Debar” (the Hebrew word translated as “commandment” in the phrase, Ten Commandments) is a “covering” and a “place” of protection for those who will seek YHWH’s sheltering care.

“16 And I have put my words [Strong’s H1697, debar] in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou [art] my people.” Isaiah 51:16.

1 Comment

  1. hearing.yah

    This is a wonderful study. I appreciate learning the deeper meaning of being under His Wings.
    Also, for years I had wondered why Scripture made a point of mentioning that Messiah’s “napkin” was set apart away from the other grave wrappings. I finally found an answer in this article.
    Thank you.