Black hats—nafka minahs?

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  • #611143

    For those that wear black hats, do you do it because of atifah (pashut for talmidei chachomim from S”A), or bigdei elyon? And why is it a begged elyon today? What’s the nafka Minah

    #1024255
    PBT
    Member

    For myself, as someone who wasn’t raised frum, I do it because most of the people I’ve known who are intent on learning and doing Torah lishmah wear black hats. I want to be among them. I realize that not everyone who wears a black hat comes under a true Torah rubrick in their private lives, and I am also aware of some who do not wear black hats who are very knowledgeable and conscientious in their Torah observance. I’m just reacting to what my own experience tells me is the people I want to identify with.

    #1024256

    What does black have to do with it?

    #1024257

    What’s the nafka Minah between holding its a din of atifah vs. begged elyon?

    #1024258
    akuperma
    Participant

    It’s a style. It’s a matter of fashion. In most western countries a black hat is considered a very formal hat worn only by persons of importance at special occasions, e.g. by royalty at a royal wedding. If black fedora became something associated with being lower class (e.g. if construction workers and garbage collectors wore black fedoras), the style would change.

    Socks are a good example of how fashions changed. In 19th century Europe, white socks were a very important garment (remember, this is prior to paved street being common, and when horses tended to make the street dirty). Only rich people could manage to go with shoes (other than boots) and white socks. In America it’s opposite since white socks are preferred only for recreational or physical work and are distinctly undress – and you will notice that the percentage of frum people wearing white socks on Shabbos has fallen noticably over the last two generations.

    Fashion is how you communicate to the world who you are and how you perceive yourself and how you want to be perceived. It has nothing to do with halacha or kabballah. Most frum Jews are communicating that we are respectable people who are very traditional in our outlook. A black hat does that.

    #1024259

    My comment was directed at the OP who was speaking from a halachic perspective. From an identification perspective, style and color might indeed be important.

    #1024260

    I do it because my father gets upset if I come to family simchas without it and I suspect that my father in law would prefer I wear it when I visit him as well.

    #1024261
    For_real
    Participant

    Your question was addressed to those who wear black hats. I guess I can’t answer. Just curious, troll or serious question? Because I’ve yet to receive an intelligent answer on the whole hat thing…

    #1024262
    eli lev
    Participant

    PBT wrote an excellent comment.

    #1024263
    oomis
    Participant

    PBT wrote an excellent comment. “

    I agree. I would also point out that in my father’s day O”H, frum men wore ALL colors of hats, black, brown, navy, gray, beige straw hats, felt hats, cloth hats, homburgs, fedoras, caps, and a hat that was a smaller version of a fedora (don’t know what it was called). People were not hung up on the stereotype of what a hat meant based on its description. But wanting to identify with and be like a particular group that wears a particular type hat, is fine, if that is one’s goal.

    #1024264
    charliehall
    Participant

    Given that the fedora wasn’t invented until the late 19th century, it is really difficult to argue that it is halachically required.

    And if people knew the origin of the hat and how it was named, it would NEVER be worn by frum Jews! It was first used as part of a costume for the notorious licentious Jewish apostate actress Sarah Bernhardt; “Fedora” was the name of her character. For decades the style was only a women’s hat and men only started wearing the style in the 20th century around the time of Bernhardt’s death.

    #1024265

    I don’t think anyone argues that a particular style or color is required, Charlie.

    Most people who wear that style have no idea what it’s called.

    #1024266
    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    charlie: Personally, I almost never wear one but I don’t see why the origins of the style should make a difference. Lots of Christians take a mis-shaped copy of an ancient torture instrument shrink it down to a couple inches, and wear it around their necks and find it a source of inspiration and comfort. Symbols are all about associations in the minds of the people using them.

    #1024267
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I ware a blak het becawse mi wyfe sez shee wull knot let mi gow tew shewl withowt won.

    #1024268

    These are great responses but not exactly what I’m looking for. I’m asking why HALACHICALLY people wear black hats- because of beged elyon or because of atifah? Or is it just a minhag?

    If the wearing of a hat is based on beged elyon, then isn’t that subjective? What was considered “elyon” in the Rif’s time or the Shulchan Aruch’s wouldn’t be considered elyon, or probably even fashionable today. Therefore, does the clothing style change? If black hats are no longer considered respectable and fancy clothing, should they be worn? Or the does the minhag remain? If it remains, why? It’s not elyon! And this is not a troll thread why do people always say that.

    #1024269
    147
    Participant

    popa_bar_abba: Are you popa_bar_abba saying that even on Rosh haShono & Yom Kippur when men wear a Kittle with a White Kippa in Shul, that your wife will still not let you attend Shul without a black hat?

    & How about if you are coming home from work without a hat passing Shul which is just comencing Mincho or Maariv:- Are you popa_bar_abba saying that your wife won’t let you go to Shul and want you to miss that Mincho or Maariv simply because you are missing a hat?

    #1024270
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    No, my wife is (popas bas ima)

    #1024271
    writersoul
    Participant

    RF: I could be misjudging people, but most of the men I know who wear black hats aren’t bedavka doing it because they’ve looked up the halachic sources and decided it was the right thing- they do it because that’s just “what you do.”

    #1024272
    writersoul
    Participant

    RF: I could be misjudging people, but most of the men I know who wear black hats aren’t bedavka doing it because they’ve looked up the halachic sources and decided it was the right thing- they do it because that’s just “what you do.”

    #1024273
    nem621
    Member

    nira li that the halacha that the kitzur shulchan aruch writes that if there is a begged that is distinctively jewish a jew is REQUIRED to wear it and he gives the example of if jews wear black shoe laces and the goyim wear red shoe laces one should wear black shoe laces i might have it wrong im not a posek i am an 11th grader in yeshiva catana

    #1024274
    147
    Participant

    a begged that is distinctively jewish a jew Clearly this portends light blue outfits similar to what was & will be worn by the Kehuno @Bais haMikdosh, and certainly not long black jackets & fur hats worn by the polish on a freezing day in the 1800’s.

    #1024275
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    This is in place of the Sudra. It is considered a Midas Chasidus but was commonly worn by all. Perhaps this is because it served the purpose of Beged Elyon as well.

    People wear Tefillin without checking up the sources, too. In fact, not following the Hanhaga until you got to figure it all out on your own is not a great practice. It uproots the last remaining threads of Torah Shel Baal Peh of the original kind.

    #1024276
    Keenanp
    Member

    I heard one frum Jew explain the wearing of black and white as representing the colours of the ink and vellum of the Torah scroll. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, so I know very little about this.

    However, when I hear a knowledgeable person or rabbi teaching Torah and he’s not wearing a black hat, or kippah, I sometimes feel as if something is off.

    #1024277
    Robertz
    Member

    Just an observation. A black hat is a uniform that underlines the hashkafah of the individual. The wider the brim, the more frum regardless of reality. It comes in very handy when ones children are in shiduchim as the absence of the hat can cancel out all the wonderful midos of a family.

    #1024278
    writersoul
    Participant

    nem: that sounds a bit more like dina demalchusa dina…

    #1024279
    147
    Participant

    the wearing of black and white as representing the colours of the ink and vellum of the Torah scroll If this would so, why do the Amish also be wear these colors?

    BTW Based on the way you Keenanp spelt color with a “u”, are you in the UK? or down & under in Australia or New Zealand?

    #1024280
    nem621
    Member

    147 he was referring to present day (i think it sounded like that) and nowadays although hats are not commonly used by society at large they are common among frum jews and it is a distinctive feature of jews (people relate hats to jews so much that the term black hat jew exists)

    writersoul, don’t read this as me being mean it is just i can’t use tone of voice when writing but not trying to fight… how do you get dina demalchusa? dina demalchusa dina is something completely different here you have the choice you should choose the jewish thing even if there is no reason or maybe just a silly reason i have never heard a rav say what i said so i might (very likely as i usually am) be wrong

    #1024281

    147, why do some sports teams wear light blue uniforms?

    #1024282
    Keenanp
    Member

    “the wearing of black and white as representing the colours of the ink and vellum of the Torah scroll If this would so, why do the Amish also be wear these colors?

    BTW Based on the way you Keenanp spelt color with a “u”, are you in the UK? or down & under in Australia or New Zealand?”

    Sorry I don’t know how to quote on here. That is a good point about the Amish. That doesn’t mean it’s invalid. Still, what I was told is only hearsay. I’m sure there are better answers.

    I’m from Canada. πŸ™‚

    #1024283
    Burnt Steak
    Participant

    I’m looking at these responses and I can’t help but noticing that some very important information is being left out.

    Back at the great Jewish hat conference (2004). The white hat leader (names will be withheld for the sake of peace) got into an argument with many of the other leaders. He took all their hats and put them into the washing machine. Now as you all know colours run in the wash. All of the red, green, blue, ect… got mixed together to create an ugly greyish colour. The other leaders decided to unify to stand against the white hats. They decided that they would all dye their hats grey. This was not to be as they looked at prices for the dye, they noticed that black dye was actually cheaper.

    And that is how black hats became the fashion.

    #1024284

    I do it because that is the community I belong to.

    How you dress is who you are.

    #1024285
    rebdoniel
    Member

    The Rambam wrote about a talmid chacham wrapping a turban and making a bracha upon wrapping a turban. Rabbis don’t wear turbans anymore; perhaps the black fedora is seen as a post-Godfather version of a turban?

    We live in a world that sadly emphasizes the chitzonius over pnimiyus. People look at someone in a kippah serugah, tzitzit tucked inside the trousers, and a polo shirt and khakis, versus someone in a black Borsalino, white shirt, and black jacket and pants, and they automatically assume that the guy in khakis and a kippah serugah “isn’t really frum,” despite the fact that he could possibly be more religious than the guy in the levush.

    #1024286

    We also tend to assume that a lawyer is smarter than a sanitation worker, despite the fact that the guy in the smelly overalls could be smarter than the guy in the tie and suit.

    #1024287
    Sam2
    Participant

    One of the most memorable lines of my childhood is from the leadup to the Ahavas Yisrael song in the Marvelous Middos Machine (tape 3). “Look over there. There’s that boy with the funny-looking knitted Yarmulke. And he’s carrying a Gemara. Why would he need a Gemara?” It’s sad that some things haven’t changed.

    I have not yet found a compelling Halachic reason to wear a hat. I do know that R’ Schachter says it’s completely unnecessary nowadays (he still wears one though).

    #1024288
    Toi
    Participant

    Sam2- pshat is, it wasnt a shteinsaltz.

    #1024289
    Avram in MD
    Participant

    charliehall,

    Given that the fedora wasn’t invented until the late 19th century, it is really difficult to argue that it is halachically required.

    Please don’t beat up the straw man, he did nothing to you:-)

    I don’t think that anybody here, even the nuts (and those pretending to be nuts to discredit the positions they disagree with), are arguing that a fedora is halachically required. A lot of black hats worn by chareidim aren’t even fedoras (no pinches or crease on the crown, for example).

    The arguments here seem to be:

    1. Is there a halachic requirement to wear a hat when davening?

    2. Are black hats somehow more special than others?

    I sympathize with those making the argument that the clothes should not bespeak the man, because in reality, they do not. It is also reality, however, that human beings are not telepathic and cannot see into the depths of another’s soul in the span of a few minutes. Therefore, every human culture utilizes clothing to make statements about status, temperament, and association, to allow the wearer to transmit information about themselves to others. In other words, the clothes do not bespeak the man, but they do bespeak what the man wants others to see. If you do not believe me, go to a job interview in jeans and a t-shirt and tell the hiring manager that your choice of clothes doesn’t reflect on how well you can work.

    Like it or not, there is a culture within Orthodox Judaism that identifies as Yeshivish, and wears white shirts and black jackets and hats as a part of this cultural identification. Orthodox Jews who wear kippa srugas are also making a cultural statement (e.g., modern Orthodox, Zionist, etc). There is value in identification with a culture, so it’s certainly not silly for a person to wear clothing that identifies himself with the culture he chooses. This does not mean that a person wearing the headgear of one culture is more religious than anyone else; the clothes cannot tell us that. It does tell us with whom the person identifies, however.

    So to the people who are saying that clothing doesn’t matter: you have human behavior since the dawn of civilization at odds with you.

    #1024290
    WIY
    Member

    Sam2

    Funny. Yet Rav Chaim Kannievsky says it’s better to daven biyechidus then without a hat and jacket. I’ll go with him on this one.

    #1024291
    Sam2
    Participant

    WIY: I still don’t believe R’ Chaim said that. And if he did, he meant in a community where not wearing a hat and jacket would be considered not being properly dressed for Davening. He didn’t mean somewhere where not wearing a hat is considered tolerable/acceptable.

    #1024292
    WIY
    Member

    Sam2

    “He didn’t mean somewhere where not wearing a hat is considered tolerable/acceptable.”

    Why should their laxness make any difference? There are places where they have no mechitzas and do all kinds of stuff. We ignore them not join the club.

    #1024293
    Sam2
    Participant

    WIY: Because that’s not considered “laxness”. Your cause and effect is backwards. Mechitzah, for example, is an absolute Chiyuv. If someone doesn’t have that, they’re K’negged the Din. The only imperative for wearing a hat is that society has determined that it’s not appropriate to Daven without one. But if you’re in a society that never made that determination and/or has changed their norms from that determination, then the Halachic imperative to wear a hat (read: dress appropriately for Davening) never existed.

    #1024294
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Sam, the Beis Yosef in Hilchos Tzitzis brings the Gemara about the Sudar as a Mekor for the Middas Chassidus of a covering besides for the anti-Gilui-Rosh device.

    WIY, his point is that its only merit is that it is the Derech to wear it. That makes it important. Those who never wear a hat don’t relate to it as something for Davenning.

    #1024295
    Sam2
    Participant

    HaLeiVi: Our Kippas, assuming they’re fairly big, probably constitute a Sudar anyway. And a Sudar seems to potentially be societal in nature anyway.

    That aside, that can’t be what R’ Chaim is referring to. How can you say that a Middas Chassidus trumps T’fillah B’tzibbur?

    #1024296
    Redleg
    Participant

    It has been my custom on shabbos since youth to wear a dark felt hat in the winter and a light straw hat in the summer. One summer shabbos I was walking to shul in my whitish straw hat and one of the neighborhood kids saw me and asked why I was wearing a white hat. The answer that came to my mind instantly is the one, I’m sure, that would occur to anyone on this thread over, say, 60. What do you think I answered the kid?

    #1024297

    Because it’s after Memorial Day.

    #1024298
    Redleg
    Participant

    I wear a white hat because I’m a good guy.

    #1024299

    You’re only a good guy after Memorial Day?

    #1024300

    It’s kind of funny that the black hat, a staple of all ‘yeshivish’ oriented Yidden, isn’t based in Halacha (from what ingot from the comments).

    #1024301

    Funny? Why?

    #1024302
    Anonymous1000
    Participant

    rebdoniel –

    The guy with tatoos wearing a prison uniform may be a wonderful guy too. The guy running in your direction with a knife in the middle of the night may also be a nice guy (maybe he is chasing after someone else who is about to kill someone)

    The point is we judge things based on our knowledge and experience. We do it in every area of life. It is logical and the right thing to do. If we have both a theory as to why something is probable and experience and evidence to back it up its best to use that information or you might just get stabbed.

    #1024303
    Redleg
    Participant

    For those of you to young to know, in the old western movies and series, the bad guys always wore black hats and the good guys always wore white hats.

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