Arba Kanphoth

Arba Kanphoth (ארבצ כנפות), i.e. the four wings, is the 'common expression 'for the talith katon, טלית קטן, or little talith. According to the institution of the rabbins, the Jews are obliged to wear fringes the whole day; but, in order to avoid the odium and ridicule likely to be incurred by the singularity of appearance in such a dress as the talith gadol, or great talith, they use it only at prayers, either in the synagogue, or at home if prevented from going to the synagogue. In order, therefore, that they may fulfil the injunction of wearing fringes the whole day (which were designed .to remind them of God's precepts, not only during prayers, but all the day long), they have another 'kind of vestment for that purpose, called by some talith katon, or "small vestment," and by others arba kanphoth, or "four corners." It consists of two quadrangular pieces, generally of wool, the same as the talth yadol, joined together by two broad straps, :and a space left sufficient for the head to pass between, exactly like a. popish scapular; from each of the corners hangs a fringe, so that the wearer may act according to the tradition of the rabbins, "two fringes are to be turned in front and two at the back, in order that the wearer may be surrounded by precepts"- במצות ציצית לפניו ושתים לאחריו כדי שיהיה מסובב מחזיר שתי. This small talith is worn constantly; some Jews make it into the shape of a waistcoat, or-jacket, and use it as an inner garment. The talith katon, as worn by the Jews in Poland, Russia, and the East, is very long, and so made as to present the fringes to their view (although it is used as an inner garment) and thus remind them of God's commandments; but the Jews on the Continent, in England, and America, if they wear it at all, wear it in such a way as not to be visible. SEE FRINGE. (B. P.)

 
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