Men wear black and white?

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  • #1987316
    stephencurry
    Participant

    I’m just curious about why yeshivish men wear black and white? I asked my yeshivish brother-in-law and he told me its basically gang colors or a uniform.

    Is this true or is there something more to it? It seems silly in my mind to take color out of your wardrobe for no real reason.

    #1987507
    IYK
    Participant

    I suspect it has to do with an issue that many people are colorblind and would feel left out if they had no way to compete in popular styles. Out of true care and love, we have decided to make this world simple. To tell everyone that there is no grey area and everyone must become robots… black or white, right or wrong, we know it all… either you’re good, or you’re bad. Personally, I disagree with the message it sends. But I understand the caring for those who are colorblind. Nowadays, we do have a solution called “enchroma glasses”. But once such a min gag is established, mishaneh minhag, mishaneh perception of being Jewish.

    #1987511
    ujm
    Participant

    Jews always had a Jewish mode of dress.

    #1987520
    akuperma
    Participant

    Styles are like that. If you look at clothes over time you see changes reflecting a mix of what the goyim are doing (which we sometimes ignore, but not always), as well as halacha, and dynamics within our own community. For example, goyim switched from long suits to short suits (for “business wear”) because King George V did, and gave up hats because President John Kennedy misplaced his top hat and walked bare headed at his inauguration parade – we weren’t impressed and kept wearing kapotes and fedoras. Whereas goyim look at their politicians and media celebrities, we look at our rabbanim, who tend to be proper and dull on matters of fashion (which in fact, are largely irrelevant to the survival of the world). However the frum community is influenced by the goyim (note that pants are worn universally by males, which clearly would not have been the case 400 years ago, and that many frum people wear neckties which wasn’t the case 200 years ago).

    But note the changes in other areas of clothing such as shoes. Non-leather shoes, and even sneakers, are increasingly worn whereas once only formal leather shoes were acceptable. Polyester and other artificial fabrics have increasingly become common in the frum community. When wearing a short (i.e. normal length suit), we tend to follow the goyim’s styles but about 10 years late (so double breasted suits are becoming much less common). And except for the requirements of married women covering their hair and all women covering up much of the rest of their bodies (which is contrary to the goyim’s minhag in western countries), women’s fashions closely follow those of the goyim.

    #1987524
    IYK
    Participant

    The religious reasoning given is chitzonios miorer es hapnimiyos – basically, the way you look affects what you are on the inside. The example that’s given is that the day people come to work dressed casually, they are less productive. The problem with this approach is that the ceo of Facebook didn’t start off dressed in a suit. He dressed casual and established one of the most successful social media platforms today. There are superstars in the non Jewish world that are extremely successful yet dress casual. Dressing like a penguin doesn’t allow for individual thought. It is crushing personal expression, silencing the individual personalities that if they wanted to be successful, they need to be shunned by the community first. I have seen many very people being called “Goyatz”, simply because they don’t dress the part. It has led to perceptions being all that matters, instead of the individual value within each and every one of us.

    #1987536
    Chaim Shulem
    Participant

    Cuz Moishe Rabbeinu wore black and white. If he did, so should we.

    #1987544
    MosheFromMidwood
    Participant

    It seems it just out of simplicity and modesty. Plain and showing a lack of attention to physical matters. However, I am sure you have noticed over the years that yeshivish clothing now includes first gray suits and now blue, and surprisingly, some of those shades of blue are far from navy blue. I would say blue is the more popular alternative to black than gray, just from my observation

    #1987554
    KGN
    Participant

    >Currently, in the Western world, formal, proper clothing is either black-white or elements of blue or dark-brown.

    >In today’s world, Observant Jewish men are less expressive with clothing than their female counterparts. I guess some people are not raised to be expressive in this area of life.

    >Khasidim are more into the exterior. It could also be that the people that are Litvak/Litvish got their color trends from the Khasidim.

    #1987587
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Why would one choose clothing as a way to express his personality…

    Even among western men’s clothing variety, there aren’t that many ways one can dress. For women, a discussion about where a woman “bought that” can be had because there are millions of different designs… Effort is put into women’s fashion. Women definitely express themselves by their clothing choices and outfits.

    For men it’s basically either a polo shirt, dress shirt, jeans, slacks, cotton pants or a suit… Men don’t have “outfits” and “accessories”. Men also generally hate shopping for clothes, buy whatever is good material, looks good at first glance, and move on.

    Men don’t express themselves very much in the way they dress, except when they want to be rebellious, feel that the Torah world “isn’t me”, or want to blend in with goyim.

    If a yeshivish guy feels stifled by the dress code… Ask them, do they write? Sing? Dance? Paint? There are many ways to express one’s self, but all too often, the answer to all the aforementioned questions will be a resounding “no”. True expression isn’t something that they’re interested in doing.

    It’s just an excuse to want to be more modern.

    #1987639
    Sam Klein
    Participant

    To remind us what is written in the Torah and seforim saying “ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE SHOULD BE WHITE” I.e. meaning pure and sin free.

    #1987638
    IYK
    Participant

    If all our food was black and white, same issues. How would you know if the food was fresh or spoiled? Only by taste? There are so many things we can learn from color. Color is a hint of what we are receiving from the world. But the color green is not what makes a leaf into a leaf. It’s a hint to what the leaf is offering to us, as that color is what we receive in the senses of our eyes. I have to stop posting for tonight, but good luck. You can only stifle self expression until it explodes. By then, too much comes out at one time for most to comprehend.

    #1987636
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @stephencurry, welcome and congats at posting ur first post here

    #1987635
    IYK
    Participant

    I actually enjoyed a time when I wore a silk shirt. It was very comfortable, very colorful, full of patterns, I felt self worth instead of being denied self expression. Schools have uniforms, I get it. But what you wear on your own, I don’t care if it’s even a colorful Hawaiian shirt, you should be capable of making your own choices, by the time you’ve left school. Not forced to look superficial or be shunned and judged negatively for expressing appreciation for the beautiful colors that hashem put in this world.

    #1987623
    IYK
    Participant

    How about what wallet is used, what belt they wear, what glasses they wear, all accessories. Unfortunately, avira, you’re already judging self expression as rebellious. I think, a lot can be said without words about what one feels about themselves, just through colors, not even coming close to brand names. Stifling has also caused bachurim to feel they cannot safely express themselves. Yes, if being true to yourself is interpreted as wanting to be modern, or being a rebel, perhaps this world needs what you call modern, or rebellious. If yeshivish can only mean black and white, only means what’s taught, with everyone having to fit in a mold to be something they’re not, just for purposes of image, nobody will ever grow into their true potential. Such an attitude that everyone must submit to being robotic, is clearly not the purpose of creation. Just imagine what the world would be like if every tree, flower, animal, even the sky itself, only appeared in black and white.

    #1987697
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    To fit into a group. you follow the group.

    #1987649
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    I don’t see any response to my post; just a reiteration of the need to express one’s self and being stifled.

    Men, even in the non Jewish world, do not express themselves with their clothing, by and large. Women do. That can be seen by the vast differences in scope between clothing that is marketed to men vs clothing that is marketed to women.

    Therefore, if a man feels stifled by the clothing issue, i am saying that it is disingenuous. It can be proven by his lack of self expression in areas that truly matter and are reflections of the soul.

    I am a writer. I express myself mainly through poems, songs and short stories. I never even once thought about expressing myself through which glasses I buy: I get whatever catches my eye (no pun intended) which isn’t too out of the norm, and most importantly what I can afford and what looks well made.

    In my encounters with yeshiva guys who are upset over the dress code, I have yet to meet one who engages in meaningful self expression. Expression of thought, feeling, inner depth. Music, art, writing… show me one such bochur who understands self expression and feels stiffled by having to wear black and white…. I’m open minded, perhaps such people exist, but by and large it is part of a greater spiritual defect – it comes with wanting to be involved in goyishe culture; movies, music, etc, and often far worse.

    Your understanding of the example given of professionals and elite men needs to be addressed. Just because some degenerate,CEOs nowadays walk around with hippie hair and in states of disarray does not change our understanding of true dignity. A princess is supposed to be a moshol, a comparison for us to appreciate tznius. Does that mean that if a princess walks around in shorts that now our understanding of tznius must change? You’re confusing a “sign” for a “cause” to use lomdishe parlance. The fact that we cannot look to social elites as examples of dignity does not mean we change our understanding of dignity.

    It seems that you’ve been taught a rather simplistic explanation of chitzonius meorer etc…that the successful people are a cause, or something, rather than a “siman be’alma” a sign, a benchmark that reminds us of the thing itself.

    It is very easy to contrast the concepts of “black and white” with cor, and go ,”wow! This seems so much more positive and vibrant”

    That is a superficial thought pattern – to go down to the level of such comparisons, what would you make of classical musicians who almost exclusively wear black and white? Are they too, dreary, without color in their lives?.

    Dig deeper; always look beyond the surface. Isn’t that what the nodernishe say to do instead of judging others by the way they dress? Is that only a one way street, where we cannot judge by the way one dresses, but it is also supposed to be deeply expressive? That’s a logical impossibility…

    #1987650
    sm77
    Participant

    My Rosh Yeshiva zt’l said that in Lithuania, the only ones that wore black and white was the Catholic seminary opposite the yeshiva.

    #1987652
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    The other reasons for picking a distinct mode of dress, aside from the dignified appearance of black and white, are several:

    Separation from goyim – while according to most opinions, one does not violate the letter of the law of bechukosayhem lo saylaychu as long as they are noticeably jewish (yarmulkah, tzitzis) it is still encouraged by the poskim as a way to keep ourselves aware of our separation from goyim. That applies even moreso when going to work; the last thing a jewish man wants is to end up feeling like one of the crowd in an office full of inappropriate relationships, language etc.

    Protection: very often, the desire to not make a chilul hashem will prevent a man from doing something he ought not do, because he is noticeably jewish, a representative of hashem.

    Status; the rambam says that talmidei chachamim and their students are noticeable in their dress. They look different from the general populace.

    Clearly self expression in the form of dress is not a factor in the halachik and hashkafic discussions of gedolei yisroel throughout generations. Largely because for men, it is non existent.

    #1987653
    Participant
    Participant

    @Iyk
    if the dress code prevented frum Jews from starting Facebook then you just gave the best explanation for the practice.

    #1987689
    user176
    Participant

    I was once buying a suit in a store that sells hats as well and a young boy asked which hats were in style. Whether one wears a uniform or not people who want to will find a way to express themeselves with dress.

    It’s simply a uniform that has become known as “Jewish.”

    Most Rabanim where white shirts because it is plain and respectful. Rabanim are supposed to invest in their appearance as those who represent the Torah. A representative of Torah must dress respectfully at all times. White shirts are the best way to go. I think all grooms where white, it’s simple and elegant, anything else distracts from the wearer.

    No one will tell you Jews must wear white, although al pi kabala there is an inyan to do so.

    Black suits are just neutral. There are Halachot about wearing black on Shabbat.

    #1987694

    Because that’s how rabbis of old look on the photos … Before color photos … They also look very serious – because it took many minutes to capture the picture ..

    #1987753
    IYK
    Participant

    AviraDiArah:
    If I wanted to, I could look at the whole world as a mashal. That it’s just me and hashem, that you do not exist, are not going through life like I am, that all humans want to be bad, mean and cruel to each other… I could explain how seeing the way people act in this type of view being presented leaves no hope for the future rather than to become like them, something very wrong. I could assume that the ratzon haborei is for me to be like them. Reality is, if humans wanted hashem in their existence, the beis hamikdash would have been here already. For this reason alone, I have no reason to attach to rebellious Jews. I prefer to attach myself to the creator of all, who has shown me kindness, love and protection, shown that I am worth it, probably way beyond what you’ve experienced.

    #1987822
    twisted
    Participant

    User176: Do you mean like the Halacha of a Milah on tishab’av where in SA it says that the father, the mohel and the sandak can wear Shabbos closthes, and the the Rama says ” just not the white ones?

    #1987834
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Shakepeare says that the world is a stage. we all of are actors and Hashem is the director, but this itakes away bechirah. Rather, a man is taken to a room with all beatiful paintings and tapestries. On tbe table is jewelry and other precious stones. He is told whatever he can collect in a day belongs to him but he gets mesmerized from its beauty that he forgets the table. At end of the day, he wants to collect the valuables but is too late. He is chased out of the room.

    #1987846
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    BH, Covid is over, this election is over and now this is what people are worried about.

    #1987874
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The RMA says tbat Shabbos Chazon we should not change cloth only a whte shirt. If everyone mourns the same way than it is not considered mourning in public but the GRA argues.

    #1987875
    IYK
    Participant

    I don’t care at all for what’s in the room. Everything in the room is just a distraction, another cause for pain. I care only for the one who created the room. Being locked in the room is a total waste of my time. The Torah is only a gift if it can be understood in a positive sense. But it is taught from a negative perspective all the time. The goal of the Torah was for us to be able to connect with our creator, but people don’t want to do that and instead worship Torah over hashem. I only want to be back with the creator who has more positivity to give than anyone or anything in this room.

    #1987881
    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    IYK – the world is a lot bigger than your daled amos. I am sorry you have only learned Torah from people with a negative view but you can’t possibly generalize that to the rest of the universe. It’s just plain false.

    #1987927
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    IYK, You should care what is in the room. If tnere are other people in the room hurting, physically or spiritually, Hashem wants you to help them.

    #1987930
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    If everyone learning seats and learns what will happen to those needing help? Like tne reform movement where they did not disturb their learning. The closing of the Voloziener yeshiva?

    #1987938
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Even in learning, you must care to help others in their learning or your learning is not worth anything. Chanoch was taken away because he only cared for himself.

    #1987964
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    If you see in the room that people need help, you have to check the room whether they are being helped. If not, you are mechuyav to stop learning and help them.

    #1988036
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    I have posted this in the past:
    I don’t wear black suits on a daily basis, I wear extremely dark blue or gray. When I first became an attorney and went into court in a Black Yeshivish suit, white shirt and non-descript tie, a friendly older judge asked to see me in chambers. He pointed to his black robe and said that the only one wearing black in the courtroom should be the judge, it is a sign of respect to wear another dark color.
    Although, I don’t appear on court most days, I never know when I might have to be there on a few minutes notice, so for decades I dress every day in a dark non-black suit.

    My sons grew up seeing what I wear and they wore similar garb. They attended the same yeshivah in Brooklyn that I, my brothers, my father and uncles attended. Some wore Midnight Blue suits as I do, others felt the pressure to wear the ‘cheap black suits’ worn by most of the young men in order to fit in. The one thing that never happened was the Rosh Yeshiva telling any of us we had to wear a black suit.

    Edited

    That said, the majority of my Shabbos suits in the past 59 years have been black

    #1988076
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Maybe the reason he didn’t mention it is because they were good bochurim who learned well and were bnei torah?

    My rebbe Rav Belsky held of dressing “yeshivish”, but would not mention it to a bochur in yeshiva who was not doing so. There is a time and place, and with many people it is a matter of picking battles.

    #1988137
    IYK
    Participant

    There is an entire masechta called makos, about beating people up. Do you believe that’s what our creator wanted for us? That if Torah ruled, we would whip people who won’t listen, or kill them chas vishalom? I’ve got a totally different view that I wish to share. One about what Sanhedrin was meant to be and two about what the Torah was meant to be. If this gets posted, you’ll see how humanity has failed.
    A Sanhedrin that killed more than once in seventy years was called a killer bes din. With the guilty mentality most people have nowadays, if those people ran Sanhedrin, it clearly would be run wrong. Must be, the job of judgment wasn’t to judge likaf chov, rather to judge likaf zechus. So much so, that no matter the case, there was a requirement to see positivity in others. Sanhedrin was made of humans judging. There was absolutely no way another human could fully comprehend what another human went through to get to that point of being judged, as we don’t know all the steps every human took in life that led up to whatever action was taken. So if Sanhedrin was meant to be so merciful and kind, so much more so hakadosh baruch hu that knows everything that happened up to that point and has 13 attributes of mercy, for sure after 120 years we are not being put into a fiery furnace. That’s one perspective to sit over. The other is regarding yitzias mitzrayim. Having been just freed from slavery, we finally made it through to har sinai to get the Torah and hashem holds a mountain over our heads and says accept the Torah or die right here under the mountain. If we were forced, then even according to the Torah it was a case of oness rachmanah patreh. There is a deeper message one can take that is not seen. What follows this display of power was us all calling out we will do and we will listen. The surprise afterwards was that the first 2 commandments were given by hashem, yet we were scared of dying again so the rest of the commandments were given through a human, where perceptions are automatically skewed as it’s not coming directly from hashem to us. So we do have the capability to fully comprehend the first 2 commandments. Therefore what did it all mean? My understanding is that after the fear of dying under the mountain, Hashem then put the mountain down and gave the first two commandments together. Anochi hashem and lo yihyeh licha. Meaning, hashem took us out of mitzrayim where it was forced labor, no freedom, no choices, denial meant death. We were slaves. Now that we were freed, our job was not to accept judgement of others to make us subservient again. To understand that there is greatness with the ananei hakovod, that we still do not experience today, because of Galus. Perhaps if you were to see my view, you’d understand that this world has no value to me without the protection of the ananei Hakavod.

    #1988177
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    IYK, if you believe so strongly give the respect to Hashem that it deserves by using a capital letter.

    #1988074
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Plenty of elements of the yeshiva world have constituency who wear other dark colors besides dark navy/black. If someone goes to a yeshiva which a segment of the bochurim wear blue, gray, or other colors….that was never the issue under discussion here. I also don’t think you would want your sons to dress differently than everyone else; you’d probably suggest changing yeshivos to find a place where they fit in rather than be contrary to what the entire Yeshiva is doing.

    I take issue with the insinuation that the reason why a rosh yeshiva did not reprimand you or your boys was because you were paying tuition. If you respect this rosh yeshiva as an authentic daas torah to the point where you entrust your boys to him to guide them and teach them Torah, then you should not think of him as anything less than what the Torah demands of chachamim – sonei batzah, etc…people who are unbiased and not motivated by money.

    If you think that all the rosh yeshivos are impacted by money and that money will make you invulnerable… it’s sad that there are rosh yeshivos who are like that, but it is an affront to Torah to say that most or chas veshalom all are such.

    #1988203
    IYK
    Participant

    Just one capital letter, or all of them? Would using capital letters even come close to justification of what THE NAME even represents? What about my username? Should I put them all in lowercase? What do I do for teshuva if my spell checker misspells/corrects what I type? I know there’s a way to use text replacement settings on iPhone that every time you spell love, spell checker replaces it with the word hate. I know there’s a way to change the keyboard settings on a non iOS computer to be DVORAK instead of QWERTY, thereby making most non tech savvy people not know how to use their computer anymore. I apologize, as I was unaware that there’s no mitzvah in the Torah to love my biological parents, although they kind of wanted to see love from me. Also, after both biological parents are no longer around, how can one accomplish the feat of kabed es avicha vi’es imecha? Or is avicha first mentioned as avinu shebashamayim, and imecha mentioned afterwards as a reference to the eishes chayil/Torah? Am I talking still too much gibberish? I apologize for capital letters missing or placed in the beginning of every sentence as I’m trying not to get too involved in smelling and spokabulary. Most of what I write anyway gets misunderstood by those reading…

    #1988218
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    IYK, It has nothing to do with a spell checker as you once wrote Hashem correctly.

    #1988222

    CTLawyer, how do we explain that dressing like a judge is not respectful, but dressing like a Rosh Yeshiva is not a problem? I guess, Roshei Yeshivot are not as jealous and want their students to be like them, good, but what about students – should they show respect and not dress like Rosh Yeshiva?!

    #1988246
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    AAQ – rosh yeshivos wear kapotes and hamburg hats…you can usually tell right away

    #1988337

    Avira, my point is that the fashion is for everyone in certain communities to dress like talmidei chachamim had pluses and minuses. Pluses are increased self esteem and increase in desire to be like talmidei chachamim. The minus is that after some time people delude themselves that they made it even when they are not, and people from outside judge Torah by them. When I am cut off by a car driven by someone in a black hat, I don’t have time to see what brim it is.

    #1988564
    ari-free
    Participant

    Bllack is beautiful….there is a reason why formal events are “black tie’ only

    #1988640

    Color is cultural. If I recall, an appropriate present to the wife in Israel was linen clothes, in Bavel, colorful, and I don’t think the colors were fifty shades of black. Red wasn’t appropriate, though

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