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  • Writer's pictureGene Benjamin II

Apostle Paul - To Be or Not to Be a Tallitmaker

Apostle Paul

To Be or Not to Be a Tallitmaker


Acts 18:3, “Paul lived and worked with them, because he was of the same trade. They were tallitmakers.”


Modern Messianics, at least in the West, often call their tallits a tent. Then, when reading the Scriptures about Paul's career, it just hit me that he would not have carried around with him on his missionary journeys all over the MidEast and Asia Minor, the heavy tent materials and tools to make tents. He would have carried sewing needles, thread, maybe some linen or cotton material for tallits, strings for making tzitzit/tassels, etc. Light stuff that would pack and travel well. Nowhere he traveled did folks live in tents. They lived in houses/huts, etc. Even while traveling, people stayed in public lodging, inns, guest rooms, etc. See Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11; Luke 2:7; Luke 10:34. In Yeshua’s and Paul’s days, hospitality was an important custom. People stayed with people in buildings while traveling. Even during the three Pilgrimage Feasts when men only were required to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feasts, how many traveled and camped in tents rather than inns? In first century AD Israel, not many.


Why did Paul hang out at the Jewish Synagogues? Other than proclaiming our Savior and Lord Yeshua ha’Mashiach, to meet potential customers after Sabbath teachings. He stayed close to the synagogues because that was his customer niche market. He sold tallits and tassels/tzitzyot to Jews and Messianic believers between Sabbaths!! Possibly even custom making them per customer requests for color/style/material, etc. He could have purchased light-weight linen/cotton materials for tallits and tassels everywhere he traveled... His tallitmaking work supported himself and his ministry team!! It is just my theory, but much more logical and plausible for Apostle Paul and Aquila and Priscilla to be tallitmakers than tentmakers in the First Century AD. Not every ancient Jew needed to own a tent, but every ancient Jew owned at least one tallit with tzitzyot/tassels, males and females, young and old. Western translators are clueless when it comes to Hebrew culture, traditions, and often Hebrew context, etc. That's why I chose to "fix" my Son Of Man Bible.


It is, after all, just my personal Bible that I choose to share with the world. I’m following the Scriptures from Deuteronomy 17:18-20, “When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he must write for himself in a Scroll a copy of this law, from the law that is before the priests, who are Levites. 19The Scroll must be with him, and he must read in it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to honor Yehowah his Divine One, so as to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to observe them. 20He must do this, so that his heart is not lifted up above his brothers, and so that he does not turn away from the commandments, to the right hand or to the left; for the purpose that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, among Israel.” I’m not an official translator of Scripture, so I don’t have the same constraints that they must adhere to. I am simply making my own copy of Scripture, attempting to clarify Hebrew culture and context for my Western-minded Messianic allegiants.


Numbers 15:37-41, “Again Yehowah spoke to Moses, 38“Speak to the descendants of Israel and command them to make for themselves tassels to hang from the corner of their tallits, to put a blue string in the tassels on each corner. They must do this throughout their people’s generations. 39It will be a tassel as a special reminder to you, when you may look at it, of all Yehowah’s commandments, to carry them out, so that you do not look to your own heart and your own eyes and prostitute yourselves to them. 40Do this, so that you may call to mind and obey all my commandments, and so that you may be set apart, reserved for me, your Divine One. 41I am Yehowah your Divine One, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to become your Divine One. I am Yehowah your Divine One.””


Deuteronomy 22:12, “You must make yourself tassels on the four corners of the tallit with which you clothe yourself.”


Matthew 23:5, “They do all their deeds to be seen by people. For they make their tefillin wide, and they lengthen the tekhelet (blue string in the tassel) of their tallits.”


Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear my name, the Brilliance of righteousness will rise with healing in his tallit. You will go out, and you will leap like calves from the feeding stall.”


Mark 5:27-30, “She had heard reports about Yeshua. So she came up behind him, when he was walking in the crowd, and she touched his tallit. 28For she said, “If I touch just his tallit, I will be healed.”29When she touched him, the bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed from her affliction. 30And immediately, Yeshua noticed in himself that power had gone out from him. And he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my tallit?””


Luke 8:44, “She came behind Yeshua and touched the tassel of his tallit, and immediately her bleeding stopped.”


Mark 6:56, “Wherever he entered into villages, or cities, or into the country, they would put the sick in the marketplaces, and they begged him to just let them touch the tassel of his tallit. And as many as touched him were healed.”


Acts 9:39, “Peter arose and went with them. When he had arrived, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing him the tallits and garments that Dorcas had made while she had been with them.”


Acts 19:12, “so that even the sick were healed, and evil spirits went out of them, when they took face-cloths and tallits from Paul’s body.”


Judah 1:23, “Save others by snatching them out of the fire. To others be merciful with fear. Hate even the tallit stained by the flesh.”


Ruth 3:9, “He asked, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am Ruth, your female servant. Spread your tallit over your female servant, for you are a near kinsman.””


Psalm 22:18, “They divide my garments among themselves, they cast lots for my tallit.”


Psalm 63:7, “For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your tallit I rejoice!”


Luke 9:3, “He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no trekking pole, no backpack, no bread, no money, and no extra tallits.”


Why didn’t Yeshua say, “Do not take a tent”? Tents were just not that much in use during travel in his and Paul’s days.

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