December 5, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm #600994
Is Individualism allowed?
I was in Lakewood a few months ago and it was raining. I noticed everyone had the exact same rain poncho?
I see there are discussions here about white shirts?
With a Mustache, beard , Black hat , Dark Suite and white shirt it can be difficult to distinguish different people in a large room. Even relatives whom I know well can be hard to find?
Is there some Inyan where everyone is supposed to look exactly the same and some individualim is allowed?December 5, 2011 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #835063
No.December 5, 2011 4:38 pm at 4:38 pm #835064
ZD – I have no comment about individualism, but I will say about the rain coat you saw, which my husband and son recently bought over here in EY, that these happen to be the most practical items for protection against the rain, especially for people like my husband who doesn’t carry on Shabbos. The hood covers his hat (and they have those made to cover even a Gerrer’s spudik on Shabbos) in a way that it’s part of the coat and by thus he is not metaltel. He can’t put a bag or special plastic cover on his hat because it’s considered by some to be carrying.
As far as individualism goes, maybe they should start making them in different colors. Maybe they just started out with a limited stock manufactured and they marketed it specifically for the yeshivish circles for exactly the same reason as my husband bought it. It doesn’t necessarily make sense for them to make such things for everybody since people have different tastes.December 5, 2011 4:50 pm at 4:50 pm #835065
Everyone copies everyone else. If you don’t, you get put in cheirum until you conformDecember 5, 2011 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #835066
Individualism is discouraged among frum jews. We are taught at a young age that we must conform to certain standards (and I’m not talking about halacha). The whole colored shirt thread is a perfect example of this.December 5, 2011 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #835067
A Heimishe MomParticipant
Individualism is assur in Lakewood! Didn’t you know that?
OK Just kidding. Sort of.
In particular – the raincoat you mentioned, I will second it for convenience! And it does come in colors – Black, Navy, and Beige (though the Beige might only be in the women’s sizes – no more rain bonnets!)December 5, 2011 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm #835068
Luckily, I don’t need my shirt color to make me an individual. I don’t feel like a sheep in the herd. I have and voice opinions based on what I decided and how I judged.
Actually, the OP sounds so familiar and cliche-ish that it makes me wonder how common actual individualism is in the first place.December 5, 2011 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #835069
The Alter of slabodka used to encourage his talmidim to be individuals. That is how he could have talmidim ranging from Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L to Rav Meir Chadash ZT”L to Rav Dovid Leibowitz ZT”L to Rav Hutner ZT”L. Today’s black-and-white dress and soundalike gedolim biographies is part of the trend turning yiddishkeit into a sedom-betel.December 5, 2011 6:04 pm at 6:04 pm #835070
Bowwow- I disagree. Individualism is not discouraged. We are taught at a young age to be the best you can be, and not try to be like anyone else.
However, the superficial individuality of which the OP is referring to which often manifest itself in the form of dress is discouraged for several valid reasons.December 5, 2011 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #835071
If you went to an army ceremony, it would also be hard to pick people out due to the uniformity (pun intended) of the dress. Is that also objectionable?
There is an appropriate way to dress for each occupation.
In a business setting, you will likely find the same dark suits, etc.
While there is room for some variety in many professions, a (married/Kollel) Ben Torah, lihavdil, should look at least as professional as a business man, and this is probably what you saw in Lakewood.
As far as the raincoat, I only know of one that covers the felt hats that Bnei Torah wear, so that would explain the uniformity of that choice.December 5, 2011 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #835072
HaLeiVi: +1December 5, 2011 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #835074
Yes. But I’m not the one who’s going to dress like an idiot.
Seriously, that’s the mindset. It’s like when my wife wears a green dress (instead of black-and-white like everyone else) she gets tons of comments on how good she looks from people wearing black-and-white.December 5, 2011 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm #835076
Where is “penguinism” (everyone dressing in black and white) brought down in halacha? This is just as much bal tosif as simchat bat. Furthermore, many Rebbes wear beautiful colored robes by their tisches. Why is color assur for their chassidim?December 5, 2011 7:32 pm at 7:32 pm #835077
Please. The reason they all wear the same plastic raincoat is because someone came up with the genius idea of manufacturing a raincoat that covers a hat, and it took off. Nothing to do with a lack of individualism.
I find it interesting that everyone just loves to rank on Lakewood and find all kinds of ways to show that they do not respect the individual and they’re so judgmental, blah blah blah. You’re the judgmental ones who know zilch about what goes on here, because you don’t live here or just moved here a month ago.
And if you think that individualism only exists where the everyone is different above the skin, then you are skin-deep. So go jump in the lake.December 5, 2011 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #835078
Thanks, Choc. That’s my first point! Hhow do I add that to my profile?December 5, 2011 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #835079
Well well,yes there is a aspect of conforming that you can feel in Lakewood, however those rain coats are very practical as not-to-get-ur-new-borsalino-wet-on-Friday-night.December 5, 2011 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #835080
All fashion is a matter of how you want to be perceived. Styles in clothing are constantly changing. Most people wait until they see others adopt changes, and others prefer to be last. Over the last 20 years, I’ve witnessed a serious decline in double-breasted suits for me and also a decline in homburg hats relative to fedoras. I’ve seen the introduction of large one-piece light-weight raincoats with attached hoods, which caught on fast after some daring individualists started wearing them. I’ve also noticed a serious decline in people rolling their own wicks at Hanukah (prefering store bought ones).
When halacha is not an issue, styles and fashions change among us just as they do among all other humans, albeit based on factors internal to our community.December 5, 2011 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #835081
Re: the comparison to the army. Which general dictated (mandated) the yeshiva uniform (not that I know who mandated the army uniform either).December 5, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #835082
The uniform of the bnei torah in Slabodka was stylish. Were they not Yeshiva bochurim?December 5, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm #835083
My Rosh Hayeshiva ZT”L used to talk about how he came home one day with a black suit. His father, a talmid of the Alter of Slabodka, made him return it. He knew that wearing black and white, in imitation of chasidim, was a poor substitute for actual internal development.
As for why Bigdei Shabbos are different than Bigdei chol, this is a bayasa bekuscha. Shabbos is not weekday.December 5, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm #835084
you an wear any shirt you want as long as it’s white.December 5, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm #835085
Very shallow outlook on people if your individualism is determined by a raincoat.
Like Brainwashed said above, all these Gedolim were individuals, and they all wore black & white.December 6, 2011 2:00 am at 2:00 am #835086
Haleivi: Tell me. In which charedi community can you “voice opinions” that don’t toe the line? I know that among my MO friends I can quote V’yoel Moshe, Rav Shach, and all sorts of other charedi rabbanim and rebbes on anything from Torah to the most controversial political issues but among my yeshivish friends I can’t quote a pshat Rav Aharon Lichtenstein said on a Ro”Sh in gittin.December 6, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am #835087
HaLeivi: it’s another of these undocumented features. Try the /profileegoincr switchDecember 6, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm #835088
Comparing to the army is interesting because in the army there is no individuality. If you are in an army brigade and your CO leading you to march into the ocean, you are required to follow orders without dissent.
You cannot dress or think for yourself when you are in the armyDecember 6, 2011 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm #835089
Gedolim wore black and white once they were gedolim. They did NOT wear black and white in slabodka. And for many years Rav Wachtfogel would wear a grey hat (as per Rabbi Rakefet- on this issue I assume he is meisiach lefi tumo).December 6, 2011 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #835090
Avram in MDParticipant
I want to be an individual just like everyone else! (couldn’t resist)
Seriously though, are there concrete benefits for people to choose different colors for raincoats other than black for Shabbos attire? I don’t feel like a “Borg” when I wear black on Shabbos.December 6, 2011 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm #835091
Individualism is encouraged. In fact, I find that there is room for every type of person to be accepted in the community.
Specifically, you are talking about clothing. So to generalize that “individualism is not accepted” is too broad a statement, in my opinion.
You can dress as an individual or you can dress with according to the preferred customs of any given community.
If you conform to a dress code, unless you are a fashionista, that does not mean you have lost your individualism.
If you follow sports, do you like your team to come onto the field or court in the same uniform? It shows a solidarity and makes a statement separating you from the rest, even though others are doing as you do.
I would not sweat a sense of losing your individuality because of a preferred manner of dress. You are still you and there is no one like you.December 6, 2011 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #835092
Zahavasdad, you obviously have never served in the Army, either in the U.S. or Israel.December 6, 2011 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #835093
individualism isnt toluy in a shirt color. grow up.December 6, 2011 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #835094
Avram in MDParticipant
Great, well thought out post!December 6, 2011 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm #835095
I dont get it. When i look at people who are not ‘frum wearing black and white’ i see basically the same amount of individuality in dress as the frum community. Everyone is either wearing casual jeans and top, or whatevers hot in style, so there is just as much individuality there. So why you saying there is no individuality? We are all humans and there are basic clothes that everyone has to wear its tough!December 6, 2011 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #835096
@btguy actually I was using clothing as a subsitute for alot of things not just clothing.
It could refer to ideas, Food , general likes a dislikesDecember 6, 2011 7:12 pm at 7:12 pm #835097
The military analogy is good in many ways. While the military someone deciding what is the required uniform, and the frum community doesn’t (just look at the variety between different shuls), there are similarities. Military fashion continuously evolves even though at any point there is an “official” uniform. Note how virtually all armies in the world dress alike (something not so 200 years ago), yet many have distinctions, though often you have to know where to look. Can you tell the difference beween a Hasid and a Misnagdid when they are both working in Manhattan? What about between a Marine and a Soldier in their Battle dress? Also the military, like us, have different styles for different occasions (BDUs for work, formal dress, class A, etc., and we have different ways to dress for Shabbos, weddings, shopping in Boro Park, shopping among the goyim, relaxing in the country). And interesing, both military and frummies have a problem when thrust into the “outside” with its much less rigid dress codes (but where your choice communicates a lot more information about you).December 6, 2011 7:26 pm at 7:26 pm #835098
At some point we are individuals and at some point we are Jews. On the side of the coin where we are Jews, there have to be some commonalities that define us as such, to varying degrees.
It is in which commonalities we share, and to what varying degree, that defines us as individuals to where no two Jews are identical.
I understand how you see things, and your view is an impression I used to have, too, but in Judaism, I can say almost nothing is what it seems on the surface. It is an ongoing learning experience.
Hi Avram in MD. Thank you.December 6, 2011 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #835099
you can stand out in terms of character and good deeds, not dress. the inside is more important than the garments on the outside.December 6, 2011 8:45 pm at 8:45 pm #835100
If you went to an army ceremony, it would also be hard to pick people out due to the uniformity (pun intended) of the dress.
Funny you should mention army ceremony. I went to a tekes for my daughter last week, and the only way I was able to pick her out of the crowd was because she had a different color kumta (beret) than everyone else!December 6, 2011 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #835101
My real thoughts are concerning OTD. While I dont think there is one reason people go OTD, I am becoming convinced that individuality is part of it.
A Bocher comes home and says he doesnt want to wear a hat and it becomes an argument and leads to worse later. If someone doesnt want to wear a Hat, It isnt the end of the world
A teenage girl comes and decides she doesnt want to marry young have 10 kids and would like to become a writer. While many would consider this terrible, I have heard of many cases where a woman got married young and felt it was a mistake (I am not talking about a 35 year old single woman, I am talking about a 18 year old)
If some individually is allowed we can keep these people, but if we tell them ITS MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY , some will pick the highway.
I am sure many of you like wearing the white shirt and that is fine but it seems its being forced on others who it might be a terrible idea. If a person like to wear a collard shirt with 3 buttons down (Like a Polo brand shirt, but not as expensive) Why shouldnt they. For some this might be important to them.
maybe you like wearing the poncho, I actually dont. I wear a coat that nobody wears in a yeshivish community (I like to wear Leather coats)December 7, 2011 1:53 am at 1:53 am #835102
The military has a unique mission that requires a high degree of regimentation. Other functions in society require a lack of this regimentation. We would not have the modern society that we know if Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates had been subject to military style regimentation from childhood onwards. The inventors of the weapons the army uses could only create their inventions in a setting much different from that in the fighting core of the army. Highly regimented nations have had to relax their regimentation when their economic sponsor cut off aid.
What scares me is that so many in this Coffee Room are so fascinated with military style regimentation, and want to extend it to the entire community. For a community to be self sufficient economically, regimentation needs to be relaxed.December 7, 2011 4:58 am at 4:58 am #835104
A lot of this discussion about individuality is centering on dress.
To expect every young man to spend his days in the Beth Medrash, and to discourage a young person from pursuing their interests and avocations seems to me the ultimate in worshipping conformity.December 7, 2011 6:07 am at 6:07 am #835105
☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
If you think kids go OTD because they have to wear black hats, you seem to be under the assumption that families in which the men wear black hats have a higher percentage of OTD than those who don’t. Otherwise your entire argument is fallacious.
I would like to assert that it’s not so; black hat families do not have more OTD kids than non black hat families.December 7, 2011 6:34 am at 6:34 am #835106
A Heimishe Mom -“Individualism is assur in Lakewood! Didn’t you know that?”
100%! That’s why there are whole bunch of us on the Net -me, yitay, BTguy, etc. If it was just one of us -they’d throw us out of Lakewood for doing Individualism! ;0December 7, 2011 6:38 am at 6:38 am #835107
mamashtakah -“I went to a tekes for my daughter last week, and the only way I was able to pick her out of the crowd was because she had a different color kumta (beret) than everyone else!”
It’s Ossur Gomur for a Jewish girl to join the army!December 7, 2011 7:13 am at 7:13 am #835108
zahavasdad,when you go into a fancy shop, maybe the workers wear a jacket that is identical. also,here. if you want to join a certain crowd you gotta follow the code. thats life. in certain out of town places its more acceptable to be your own person and still be accepted.December 7, 2011 2:34 pm at 2:34 pm #835109
…With a Mustache, beard , Black hat , Dark Suite and white shirt it can be difficult to distinguish different people in a large room. Even relatives whom I know well can be hard to find?
Is there some Inyan where everyone is supposed to look exactly the same and some individualim is allowed?
There is an inyan called “al tifrosh min hatzibbur”. Meaning there is a great maylah for a community to maintain a certain solidarity.
It seems that your question is…why do the members of the Lakewood community- rabbonim and baalei batim alike, all dress and look like Rav Ahron Kutler who began their community and they continue to look up to as their standard to this day? Is that correct?
BrawinwasheD: The Alter of slabodka used to encourage his talmidim to be individuals. That is how he could have talmidim ranging from Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L to Rav Meir Chadash ZT”L to Rav Dovid Leibowitz ZT”L to Rav Hutner ZT”L. Today’s black-and-white dress and soundalike gedolim biographies is part of the trend turning yiddishkeit into a sedom-betel.
Are you bringing a proof against wearing black and white from “individuals” like Rav Ahron Kutler, Rav Meir Chadash et al.? Have you ever seen a picture of them dressed?
lolkatz Where is “penguinism” (everyone dressing in black and white) brought down in halacha? This is just as much bal tosif as simchat bat. Furthermore, many Rebbes wear beautiful colored robes by their tisches. Why is color assur for their chassidim?
There is no halacha to wear black and white, but it is part of a mesorah. Simchas bat is not. Chassidim work very hard to maintain their mesorah and by not waering black and white, they would be breaking that mesorah. Also, I have seen navy blue tisch bekishes.
IS: I know that among my MO friends I can quote V’yoel Moshe, Rav Shach, and all sorts of other charedi rabbanim and rebbes on anything from Torah to the most controversial political issues but among my yeshivish friends I can’t quote a pshat Rav Aharon Lichtenstein said on a Ro”Sh in gittin.
That is absurd and I think you know it. I have heard plenty Yeshivish Rabbonim quoting from Chassidishe Rabonim. Go find me a yeshivah that doesn’t have a sfas emes on the shelves or even a nesivos shalom. The R”Y of Lakewood East loved to tell a story where he heard Rav Ahron praising the Satmar Rebbe. The point is obviously that certain Rabbis are not recognized as valid dissenting opinions. Those are the ones that are not quoted.December 7, 2011 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #835111
thank G-d for ties. ’nuff said.December 7, 2011 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm #835112
thank G-d for ties. ’nuff said.
HA! I am very proud to say I have not worn a tie in over 4 years.
It’s Ossur Gomur for a Jewish girl to join the army!
In your opinion. Since I listen to my own Rebbeim (who know me, my family, and my daughter much better than you), and not to anonymous opinions on the Internet, I guess I’ll let this one slide. We happen to be very proud of her and what she’s accomplished in her life.December 7, 2011 4:53 pm at 4:53 pm #835113
The way the Gedolim dressed when they were bochurim is not the way they dressed when they were Gedolim. The Alter of slabodka did not dress in the same way as his talmidim. He encouraged his talmidim to dress differently from him.December 7, 2011 6:04 pm at 6:04 pm #835114
The way the Gedolim dressed when they were bochurim is not the way they dressed when they were Gedolim.
So even though all four of these gedolim went on to dress in the same black and white and there are no accounts of these gedolim telling their talmidim not to dress in black and white, or them theirs. Nor is there any account of the gedoliim speaking out against wearing black and white today.
Yet none of this is any indication of the opinion of gedolim on wearing black and white. Is that correct?December 7, 2011 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #835115
So being part of the Kehila is important
So if someone wants to be part of the Kehilla you must dress like the Kehilla, so if the uniform of the Kehilla is a white shirt and a rain poncho you must wear it and if you DONT you are not a Ben-Torah and should be ostracized for being differnt
So why when a Kehilla gets together to make community standards and one rov decides the standards are too leninent and tells people not to eat from the Kehilla hasghcha, He is considered a Tzadik
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