Question: [Wednesday, 25th Sivan 5780]
Why do people seem to have talleisim that go way farther then one amah? Is it based on the Gra that the Talis should go until the knees (Shiurei Torah p. 265)? Seemingly all that is needed is about 19inches on each side? Is this perhaps similar to the Rebbe’s analysis as to why the people have long retuzos for the shel rosh? Sharei Halach Uminhag page 63)
I am not aware of a recorded reason for why the custom of the world is for the straps to be longer than their minimum length or why the custom is to wear large and long Talleisim. Perhaps the reason is simply out of Zeh Keily Veanveihu, or to ensure that a minimum length is kept, or perhaps the Shita of the Gr”a became adapted in Europe as the Halacha. See Maharsham 4:121 and Mishneh Halachos 8:3 who also bring this statement of the Gr”a and discuss its source.