March 16, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am #595730meidelMember
I’ve read plenty of topics in the coffee room. I never thought I would actually ever post anything let alone add a whole new topic. I am not sure if this has been discusses before I am sorry if it has. Im just really curious to know what the deal is with Black Hats. What does it mean? What goes along with wearing one? What do you answer to people in shudduchim who say that they don’t want to be judged by what they wear. That if people are going to think they are less “frum” for not wearing one then they are not for them? I just really want to know halachos behind it. minhagim behind it. etc.
Looking forward to your comments 🙂
Kol TuvMarch 16, 2011 12:31 am at 12:31 am #751579GrandmasterMember
It is part of the uniform of a Yeshiva man. It indicates one is a member of the Yeshiva community much the same way fatigues uniform indicates one is a member of the military. Just like military uniform has changed over time, so has the Yeshiva uniform, and this is part of the current uniform.March 16, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am #751580popa_bar_abbaParticipant
What does it mean?
It means you belong to certain communities. Usually.
What goes along with wearing one?
Not necessarily anything. You should get to know the person if you want to find out.
What do you answer to people in shudduchim who say that they don’t want to be judged by what they wear.
????? ??????, ??????????????
I just really want to know halachos behind it. minhagim behind it. etc.
I would think it is a minhag at this point. But I’ll let the other posters tell you about that.March 16, 2011 1:08 am at 1:08 am #751581HaKatanParticipant
Virtually every society has its elegant and put-together form of dress. The form of dress of the United States and of many “Western” countries is that of a suit and hat. Unfortunately, the hat (and suit jacket, and soon the tie, too) have been mostly abandoned due to society’s decadence. However, the many military and other respectable institutions (like police departments), whose uniforms do include a hat, provide continued proof that a hat (and suit) is the most elegant form of dress, even if you would not nowadays wear a hat if you are not in a profession whose uniform includes a hat.
The black hat, in particular, is essentially as Grandmaster stated above. It’s not innately any more respectful than a different elegant hat, say, a Navy uniform’s cap, but in context it most likely is.
Therefore, *unless your minhag is otherwise* or there are practical consideration involved (work, people, etc.), it follows that a yeshiva-educated male would wear a hat to davening if not also throughout the day not less than, say, a firefighter or police officer wears his cap whenever he is on duty.March 16, 2011 1:37 am at 1:37 am #751583aries2756Participant
I believe the “levush” is a sign that you are always dressed appropriately to stand before the king. Which in essence you always are.March 16, 2011 1:37 am at 1:37 am #751584Josh31Participant
Clothing are worn to send a message.
Three generations ago we wore hats and jackets to show that we were of those:
“in accordance with the practice of Jewish husbands, who work for their wives, honor, provide for and support them in truth.”
In three days from now we will dress to show that we are of those who do not work on but honor the Shabbos.March 16, 2011 2:18 am at 2:18 am #751585yogiboobooMember
it depends who it means something to. let me explain…
this girl actually is getting married tonight but when i asked her what she wanted she said she wants a boy who wears a black hat. so i asked why? she says: “because my father wears one so i need one.” now let me tell you…her father is NOT a real black hatter. he wears it just on shabbos but he may call himself a black hatter but he is wayyyy far from one. its sad that people wear them because they are told to or because they have to. it should be done if YOU feel the need to wear it and not because “well thats what everyone else is doing…”March 16, 2011 2:56 am at 2:56 am #751586fedup11210Member
black goes w/ everythingMarch 16, 2011 3:37 am at 3:37 am #751587cshapiroMember
lol fedup so true….
the black hat is like an association with the yeshivish sect of judiasm, its funny because my non-jewish co worker asked me why only one of the men in the office puts on his hat and jacket before davening mincha….i told her he was ‘dressing up nicer’ before speaking to G-d. she asked me why the others dont??? i said because hes more religious?!?!?!March 16, 2011 4:13 am at 4:13 am #751588observanteenMember
I remember when I was a little kid, we whent to a hotel where there were a couple of “non-black-hatters”. My mother told me then that they’re great talmidei chachamim (they’re well known). I opened my eyes wide, and was like, “What?! But they don’t even where hats!” The innkeeper heard my comment and he told me something that I’ll never forget. He said, “maidele, I see “black-hatters” coming here, but they’re empty shells. Those guys may not wear what your father does, but those guys are shtarke bochurim!” Al tistakel bakankan…March 16, 2011 4:15 am at 4:15 am #751589
fyi firemen definitely do NOT wear their hats “whenever they are on duty”; those hats are for their protection not for the honor associated with the position.
Some other posters mentioned that the hat signifies someone as a “yeshiva educated” male. But what about those who are yeshiva educated but does not wear a hat because they grew up outside of a society where everyone wears one? Why would some people, even after being notified of their education and credentials still reject someone in shudduchim, or judge someone in general for something so chitzoniusdik?
And there is no way to “prove” something is objectively more respectful. The same way many years ago society dictated that wearing a hat was a sign someone was distinguished, why is it so difficult to swallow that, since society has adjusted (I wouldn’t necessarily attribute to its “decadence” any more than I would to explain why we stopped wearing powdered wigs as a sign of stature) certain people/circles have elected to adjust how they dress when they are trying to give off a put-together appearance when they daven or go about their day? Especially when one grows up in a society/ is born in an era where putting on a hat may make them feel less yirah than not wearing one?March 16, 2011 8:19 pm at 8:19 pm #751590s2021Member
“Especially when one grows up in a society/ is born in an era where putting on a hat may make them feel less yirah than not wearing one? “
Hows that?March 16, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm #751591
The black fedora is a relatively recent style — probably a century old. It was common in non-Jewish society for a generation or two but is now indeed a symbol of Jewish community for some. Every rabbi I’ve met who wears a black hat tells me that it is the insides not the outsides that matters. My own rav is cleanshaven, and wears a black hat over his kippa sruga. I never shave, ever, wear a black velvet kippah (I’m not sure I’ve ever worn a kippa sruga), and don’t even own a black hat. I wore a black hat once, at my wedding at the seudah, when my wife’s (Lakewood-trained) rav lent me his for about ten minutes. He then repossessed it with the comment, “It doesn’t fit.”March 16, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm #751592
‘fyi firemen definitely do NOT wear their hats “whenever they are on duty”‘
I often work at FDNY HQ and can personally attest that this is the case. I do frequently see frum uniformed FDNY people wearing yarmulkes, though!March 16, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm #751593blueprintsParticipant
So in this dor wot would you say is respectable clothing if society has changed?
I’ll tell you that no one disagrees that a t-shirt and shorts are not worthy
So all you’ve got is a suit, tie, and no one would complain about a White shirt black hat and gartel either.
Point made!March 16, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm #751594happiestMember
yogiboboo- I know the person you are talking about and her father put on a black hat recently because he was a “high” member in the shul and felt that it was necessary. Turns out this girls new husband very rarely wears a black hat and when I was talking to her about it she said to me- I never thought it would be me saying this but it doesn’t matter to me if he wears it or not…March 17, 2011 12:40 am at 12:40 am #751595popa_bar_abbaParticipant
But do firemen always wear their hat whenever they appear in uniform to do a job, even if it is not fire related?
For example, I bet when they go to businesses to do inspections, they wear their hat, even though there is no fire.March 17, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am #751596
Its interesting you mention your wedding story with the hat.March 17, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am #751597
Especially when one grows up in a society/ is born in an era where putting on a hat may make them feel less yirah than not wearing one?March 17, 2011 3:33 am at 3:33 am #751598Josh31Participant
Here in Texas the expression is All Hat No Cattle!!!March 17, 2011 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #751599AinOhdMilvadoParticipant
I absolutely LOVE that expression you just taught me!
I assume (you can correct me) that it means someone is dressing as a cowboy, wearing the hat of a cowboy, but in reality is not one.
How true that is for so many “black hats” who also don’t have the “cattle” that their hat would SEEM to indicate they would have!
And conversely… there are so many REAL “cowboys” without the hat.March 17, 2011 2:30 pm at 2:30 pm #751600
Who really cares if one wears a hat or not! THat does not make one a good jew!
By Rabbi Yitzchok Feigenbaum
“Twas the night of the Geulah, – And in every single Shtiebel. Sounds of the Torah could be heard coming from every kind of Yeedel.
This one in English Some in Hebrew, some in Yiddish. Some saying Pshat And some saying a Chiddish. And up in Shamayim The Aibishter decreed: “The time has come for My Children to be freed.”
“Rouse the Moshiach From his heavenly berth. Have him get in his chariot, And head down to earth.” The Moshiach got dressed And with a heart full of glee, Went down to earth and entered The first Shtiebel he did see.
“I am the Moshiach! Hashem has heard your plea! Your Geulah has come! It’s time to go free!” They all stopped their learning; This was quite a surprise. And they looked at him carefully, With piercing sharp eyes.
“He’s not the Moshiach!” Said one with a grin, “Just look at his hat, At the pinches and brim!” “That’s right!” cried another With a grimace and frown, “Whoever heard of Moshiach With a brim that’s turned down?”
“Well,” thought Moshiach, “If this is the rule, I’ll turn my brim up Before I go to the next shul.” So he walked right on over To the next shul in town. Sure to be accepted, Since his brim was no longer down. “I’m the Moshiach!” he cried, As he began to enter, But the Jews wanted to know first If he was Left, Right, or Center.
“You’re clothes are so black!” They cried out in fright. “You can’t be Moshiach You’re much too far right!” “If you want to be Moshiach, You must be properly outfitted.” So they replaced his black hat with a kippah that was knitted. Wearing his new Kippah, Moshiach went out and said: “No difference to me what I wear on my head.”
So he went to the next shul, For his mission was dear, But he was getting frustrated with the Yidden down here. “I’m the Moshiach!” he cried, And they all stopped to stare, And a complete eerie stillness filled up the air.
“You’re the Moshiach?! just imagine that! Whoever heard of Moshiach – without a black hat?!” “But I do have a hat!” the Moshiach then said. So he pulled it right out and plunked it down on his head.
The shul started laughing, And one said: “where’s your kop?” You can’t have a Moshiach With a brim that’s turned up!” “If you want to be Moshiach And be accepted in this town, Put some pinches in your hat And turn that brim down!”
Moshiach walked out and said: “I guess my time hasn’t come. I’ll just have to return to where I came from.” So he went to his chariot, But as he began to enter, All sort of Jews appeared From the Left, Right, and Center.
“Please wait – do not leave. It’s all their fault!” they said, And they pointed to each other And to what was on each other’s head. Moshiach just looked sad And said, “you don’t understand.”
And then started up his chariot to get out of this land. “Yes, it’s very wonderful That you all learn Torah, But you seem to have forgotten a crucial part of our Mesorah.
“What does he mean?” “what’s he talked about?” And they all looked bewildered, And all began to shout. Moshiach looked back and answered, “The first place to start, Is to shut up your mouths and open up your hearts. “To each of you, certain Yidden Seem too frum or too frei, But all yidden are beloved In the Aibishter’s eye.”
And on his way up he shouted: “If you want me to come, Try working a little harder On some Ahavat Chinam!”March 17, 2011 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #751601
“It is part of the uniform of a Yeshiva man. It indicates one is a member of the Yeshiva community much the same way fatigues uniform indicates one is a member of the military”
Not all branches of the military wear fatigues. Naval personnel for example do not, yet are members of the miliiary. Similarly, one may wear a black hat, yellow hat, purple hat or no hat at all and still be a member of the group known as “yeshiva men”.March 17, 2011 4:25 pm at 4:25 pm #751602
Who really cares if one wears a hat or not! THat does not make one a good jew!
Rabbi Solavatchik, the undisputed leader of Modern Orthodoxy cared. In fact, Rabbi H Schachter reports, that there was a man in Boston who davend at RS minyan. He had about an hour walk. During the summer heat, he left his hat and suit jacket in Shul, so he wouldn’t be as hot during his hour-long walk each way.
Rabbi JB Solavatchik told him (in usual way..) to that kovod Shabbos would be for him to wear his hat in the heat.March 17, 2011 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #751603Joseph / clark-kentMember
If you see a uniformed officer in fatigues, you know he is a member of the military. Otherwise he may be as well, but probably isn’t. If you see a Yid in a black hat, you know he is a member of the Yeshiva community. Otherwise he may be or may not be.March 17, 2011 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #751604
Truth Be Told: Nice Story, but still does not reflect the beliefs of the Rov. The mere fact that a person always wore a hat the rav felt he should wear one even if it is hot. If you asked the Rov if a YU boy should wear a hat, I am 100% sure his answer would be different.
Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet, who studied under the Rov himself said :To me it’s a compliment that I don’t need [a black hat] to be frum…..because being a Torah Jew is the most important thing in the world.” Did he have anything against it? NO, but wearing a black hat does not make a good Jew.March 17, 2011 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #751605Avram in MDParticipant
Perhaps that’s why Melech Hamoshiach would ideally wear a crown instead of a hat:-)March 17, 2011 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm #751606nfgo3Member
To anon1m0us: Best. CR Post. Ever.March 17, 2011 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #751607gavra_at_workParticipant
If you see a uniformed officer in fatigues, you know he is a member of the military. Otherwise he may be as well, but probably isn’t. If you see a Yid in a black hat, you know he is a member of the Yeshiva community. Otherwise he may be or may not be.
Maybe it is better to be incognito. That way Lois (and others) won’t know who you are. It is like those who did Mius acts going to court wearing a Striemel. It would probably be even better to go without a Yarmulka.
?’ ?????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???????March 17, 2011 5:01 pm at 5:01 pm #751608AinOhdMilvadoParticipant
A soldier is a soldier when he is in uniform and when he is not in uniform. A soldier behaves like a soldier when he is in uniform and when he is not in uniform.
Although I don’t disagree that a frum person should dress in a fine way and in a way that identifies what he is, and I am not against wearing a black hat, I am more interested that he can be identified as a frum Jew by the way he ACTS (in business, to people he encounters on the street or in a store or on a train or bus or plane) than by what is sitting on his head.
AND… most importantly – that the way he acts should not be a stira to what the black hat SHOULD imply.March 17, 2011 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #751609yogiboobooMember
happiest-well itys abt time she grew up!March 17, 2011 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #751610
If you see a man in tights he may be superman, he may not. Even the big S on his chest might indicate nothing more than this man is a supervisor. I sat next to an African American man on the subway this morning who was wearing a black felt hat. Does that make him a yeshiva man?March 17, 2011 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #751611
“Rabbi JB Solavatchik told him (in usual way..) to that kovod Shabbos would be for him to wear his hat in the heat.”
With the emphasis on kovod shabbos. In no way does this imply that this same man should or must wear one during the week. Nor does it imply that the hat must be made of black felt. It could have been yellow straw.March 17, 2011 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #751612
What I meant by my last sentence “Especially when one grows up in a society/ is born in an era where putting on a hat may make them feel less yirah than not wearing one” was that for a person who grew up in a “modern orthodox” society but is yeshiva educated and frum, wearing a hat may not elicit the response/ emotions it would from someone who grew up in black hat community… it may be counterproductive. To demonstrate albeit through a bit of an exaggeration, someone from our culture wearing a kilt, although the formal wear of the irish, will probably cause more kalus rosh than it will add to someone’s decorum. If it’s not an accessory you are used to, the strangeness of the item may prove to be a distraction.
And just for the record, many very frum, very orthodox rabbeim do not wear black hats. Personally I have an extra level of respect for those rabbeim i know who dont feel the need to put on a black hat when they themselves did not grow up with one because they live the ideal that chitzonius is sheker.
I’m not really sure what your point was that you say you’ve made so well, I’d be interested if you would please elaborate… but to address your question about what I believe is respectable clothing?
A nice pair of slacks and a button down shirt are considered classy by everybody. Your identifiable as a Jew because your are dressed nicely and have your kipa on.
Just remember, they didnt wear white shirts, black suits, and black hats in the desert. That means that what has become the accepted norm was at one point a “new thing”. In fact, as other posters mentioned above, it actually developed in order to reflect the current period’s culture and accepted norms of dress. Adjusting what we consider to be chashuv dress would just be following that precedentMarch 17, 2011 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #751613
“Rabbi JB Solavatchik told him (in usual way..) to that kovod Shabbos would be for him to wear his hat in the heat. “
The Rav z’tz’l wore hats. But not just black fedoras. There are many photographs of The Rav in straw hats.March 17, 2011 6:32 pm at 6:32 pm #751614
“If you see a Yid in a black hat, you know he is a member of the Yeshiva community.”
The custom in many MO communities, including YU, is to wear a hat on Shabat but not during the week. I presume that means that the YU/MO world is part of the Yeshiva community on Shabat but not during the week?March 17, 2011 7:02 pm at 7:02 pm #751615mewhoParticipant
i always wear a black hat to shule. black hats match most of my dresses and suits.March 17, 2011 8:29 pm at 8:29 pm #751617
If you asked the Rov if a YU boy should wear a hat, I am 100% sure his answer would be different.
Please read my other post on this thread. This was his advice to his YU talmidim (who bothered asking).March 17, 2011 8:35 pm at 8:35 pm #751618
With the emphasis on kovod shabbos. In no way does this imply that this same man should or must wear one during the week. Nor does it imply that the hat must be made of black felt. It could have been yellow straw.
If you’d like to say he only considered it the right thing to do for Shabbos, I can’t argue, since I don’t know. One can ask Rabbi Shachter or Rabbi Meiselman.March 17, 2011 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #751619
gavra_at_work: Rabbeinu Channanel explains that Gemorah, that the black clothing will stop him from committing the sin.March 17, 2011 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #751620
Please see this post. Rabbi JBS disagrees with you!March 17, 2011 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #751621
“a teacher in the yeshiva I attended tried to convince me that Avraham Aveenu and Moshe Rabaynu wore black hats.”
And we wonder why so many people go off the derech.
Rambam never wore a black fedora.
Neither did the Remah.
Neither did the Vilna Gaon.
In fact, neither did the Chofetz Chaim, even though by the end of his life they had become common dress in non-Jewish circles. (I heard this directly from a RY who learned in the CC’s yeshiva while the CC was still alive.)March 17, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm #751622
“a teacher in the yeshiva I attended tried to convince me that Avraham Aveenu and Moshe Rabaynu wore black hats.”
And we wonder why so many people go off the derech.
Actually, trusting anonymous posters to make very silly accusations is the reason people go OTD.
I always took you to be an intellectual, what happened over here? I never ever had a Rebbe who tried to rewrite history. To make such a silly accusation against rabbeim in general leaves me to believe neither did the vast majority of posters, otherwise they’d quote true-sounding stories.March 17, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm #751623twistedParticipant
Rashi’s Hat: In Chullin 18b, 19a the gemara discusses the limiting parameters of where the two simanim are to be cut. On the trachea, the upper limit is the shipui kova, the taper point of the structure that sits atop the trachea. Rashi z’l says there that there is a structure atop the the trachea like a hat on a head. So if the shipui kova looks like a hat, then a hat should also look like a shipui kova- sort of a elongated pentagon with the top point lopped of ( in cross section) Of course the analogy does not refer to color, but if it did, the hat would not be black.March 17, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm #751624ItcheSrulikMember
According to the story you relate, Rav Soloveichik was telling the man not to walk around on shabbos in his shirt sleeves because he was leaving his hat and jacket in shul. (The practice of wearing a broad brimmed fedora without a jacket is a relatively recent shtus.
charliehall: You can write a much longer list than that, including many rabbonim who lived after the fedora came into style. We can start with Rabbi Eliezer Silver.March 17, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm #751625oomisParticipant
It is a minhag. Period. Moshe Rabbeinu did not own a Borsalino, I am quite sure. Neither did Rambam (he wore some type of turban).
The black hat is part of today’s Yeshivish levush. One can be an extraordinary, frum person without wearing a black hat. One can likewise be a waste of space int eh Yeshivah, even while wearing a hat. it is what is UNDER that hat that makes all the difference. If you want a boy with a black hat, only go out with such boys (but make sure their middos match their appearance). If you don’t care about the outward appearance, then go out with guys who do not wear black hats (but make sure their middos, likewise are worthy of you).March 17, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm #751626
Truth be told
How do you think the “black hat” phenomenon developed? Do you concede it had something to do with that time period/society’s accepted forms of dress? What’s changed since then?
And the story about the fellow walking to shul does not prove anything. If someone has the custom to wear a black hat on shabbos and neglects that minhag due to the heat, then he is essentially neglecting what he has deemed kavod shabbas because of the heat. That’s not difficult to accept.March 18, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am #751627
Truth be Told: As you mentioned, a HAT. R’ Schachter never said a black hat. It could be a Russian hat, gray, blue or any other type. Per your quotes.March 18, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am #751628
Truth be told: I looked up your source and here is what it says “
Just as a king must always wear a crown, so too it is appropriate that a Chosson wear a felt (not straw!) hat throughout his wedding” (p. 256).
So according to this, the Rov only suggested a hat at the wedding for Chosson Domah L’melech and did NOT require anyone to wear a hat.March 18, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am #751629
CharlieHall: I actually had that argument with a Skvar Chosid when I saw Moshe Rabaynu with curly payos in New Square. I had to enlighten him what the posek stated when he first came to Midyon. He looked like an Ish Mitzri!! Yes, there are great pshatim on what that means. But the poshet pshat in Posek he looked like a regular Egyptian. Sorry, he looked like an Egyptian prince. Do people think Egyptian princes had curly payos??
The Torah explicitly states that Moshe was chosen because he had a heart and cared for even his sheep. Not that he was a TaLmud Chochum, or was even a Nasi in Israel. He was a jew that cared about other jews. That is what is important. Hats, or yarmulka’s mean nothing if us jews do not have ahavas chinum.
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