September 25, 2010 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #592443simcha613Participant
I’ve been reading a lot of posts recently about dressing yeshivish, specifically with regard to the idea that a Jewish boy should dress “properly” by walking around outside in a hat and jacket. When did this start? I have seen pictures of yeshiva bochurim of 40 and 50 and 60 years ago and people dressed normally for the time (which happened to be hats and jackets). The yeshivish world did not feel a need to dress differently than the goyim. But somehow, dress styles changed but not for the yeshivish velt. Why are we so makpid about this nowadays when we weren’t 50 years ago? What happened to dressing differently than the goyim? And if the idea is that you don’t need to dress differently than the goyim, but you just need to dress nicely, then why nowadays is it looked down upon (at least in some circles) to walk around with a nice striped or blue shirt without the jacket and hat?September 26, 2010 12:56 am at 12:56 am #697964Ben TorahParticipant
The yeshivish world did not feel a need to dress differently than the goyim.
Incorrect. Yidden have always dressed differently than the goyim. It is one of our hallmarks. Ever since there has been Yidden. A Yid dressed like a Yid.September 26, 2010 1:15 am at 1:15 am #697965yeshivaguy1Participant
you seem to be missing his point that fifty years ago people wore what was in style at the time and changed when the styles changed. somewhere down the line we froze our style of dress while the rest of the world went on. where did that come from?September 26, 2010 1:41 am at 1:41 am #697966cantoresqMember
The current style of yeshivish dress hearkens back to the Alter of Slabodka, who encouraged his students to dress like middle class European business men; a hat, jacket, pressed trousers and a waistcoat. He felt that if his students dressed and looked dignified, they would act dignified and their characters would be refined in the process.September 26, 2010 1:55 am at 1:55 am #697967apushatayidParticipant
Ben Torah. Are you saying that his comment about yeshiva bachurim dressing the same way as other people (ie, hats and jackets), is incorrect?September 26, 2010 1:59 am at 1:59 am #697968Josh31Participant
Shortly after Rav Aaron Kotler was niftarSeptember 26, 2010 2:44 am at 2:44 am #697969SacrilegeMember
To me the bigger question is: When did the people who dress “Yeshivish” grant themselves the right to look down on everyone else who doesnt?September 26, 2010 3:21 am at 3:21 am #697970
Firstly, all humans wore some type of head covering and jacket as basic code of decency, which in Judaism translates as “derech eretz” or menchlechkeit (which is kadma latorah). The alter of slabodka specifically emphasized proper dress as part of his overall training in gadlus ha’adam which was also because he felt yeshiva students at that time were looked down upon and only university students gained approval (besides the reason mentioned by cantoresq). In America, upstanding humans wore hats until JFK removed it during the 60’s – the days of defiance and decadence (he actually wore one for his inauguration but subsequently frequently removed it.) The downgrading of a basic mode of dress is not seen as a change in style; rather it is a lack of style – much as shorts aren’t a change in decent style but a further relaxation of societies standards. Therefore, Torah Jews (whether they learn in yeshiva or not) should maintain the basic code of human decency. Why many people don’t is the same reason they don’t do many things they should, in part bec of the influence of society (yes even “insulated” communities are affected by gashmius and taavah). If anyone can effectively explain the white shirts part, I would be very grateful.September 26, 2010 3:22 am at 3:22 am #697971
“To me the bigger question is: When did the people who dress “Yeshivish” grant themselves the right to look down on everyone else who doesnt?”
1) Wow, what a generalization. Not, “When did some of the people who dress “Yeshivish”…”. Nope. When did “the people who dress “Yeshivish””. All of them.
2) Why do you think that they all do?September 26, 2010 3:33 am at 3:33 am #697972
I visited the ethnography exhibit at the Israel museum in Jerusalem and their exhibits showed many examples of Jewish dress that were very similar to that of the non-Jews in the same time and place, except during times when we were oppressed and had to wear things like a Magen David. More confirmation confirmed by looking at pictoral depictions of our great sages of the past — I found a photo of Rav Hildesheimer on the internet and compared it to one of Bismarck. Their suits are similar; the major difference is that the Rabbi is wearing a kippah.September 26, 2010 3:53 am at 3:53 am #697973
There were no jackets in the desert. I doubt there were any hats, either.September 26, 2010 4:03 am at 4:03 am #697974myfriendMember
There was no cholent in the desert either.
You don’t, perchance, eat that – do you?September 26, 2010 4:11 am at 4:11 am #697975WIYMember
Thank you I was going to post similarly to what you did. It really isn’t fair when people generalize about groups.September 26, 2010 5:12 am at 5:12 am #697976
myfreind: Well said.
WIY: You’re very welcome, and I’m glad you agree.September 26, 2010 9:13 am at 9:13 am #697977yeshivaguy1Participant
based on that reasoning shouldn’t we be wearing ties. Denver actually used to require ties but recently dropped itSeptember 26, 2010 1:01 pm at 1:01 pm #697978SacrilegeMember
“1) Wow, what a generalization. Not, “When did some of the people who dress “Yeshivish”…”. Nope. When did “the people who dress “Yeshivish””. All of them.
2) Why do you think that they all do?”
Granted. I’ll give you #1, but it wouldve been awkward wording had I said it like that and I was trying to prove a point.
I used to be neo-Yeshivish, ultra right wing. And after hearing all the rhetoric and the close minded-ness coming out of that camp (yes, I realize this post makes me sound close minded to Yeshivish) I realized that that lifestyle wasnt for me. The do as we do or you arent part of our “exclusive club” doesnt work for me. I’d imagine the “Yeshivish” movement started to unite Bnei Yeshiva but what its turned into is more of just excluding everyone who doesnt fit/follow all their “rules”September 26, 2010 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #697979SJSinNYCMember
Cholent existed (albeit in a slightly different form). Halacha does discuss “chamim.” Although, I don’t like cholent and I wear sandals so I am closer to maintaining our heritage.September 26, 2010 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #697980HelpfulMember
Really? What “form” of cholent existed in the desert, SJS?
Talmid Bavli was not yet written in the desert. SURELY you will not have it taght to your boys.
Nor did showers yet exist.September 26, 2010 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #697981
We *never* serve cholent, and my wife also wears sandals.September 26, 2010 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #697982
Once during Chol HaMoed I ran out of white shirts that were fit to wear on Shabat or Yom Tov and called my rav to ask what I should do. He said that I absolutely must not launder the shirts, that it was permissible for me to buy some new shirts, but that I should seriously consider just wearing colored shirts on Shabat and Yom Tov because there was absolutely no reason not to!September 27, 2010 3:38 am at 3:38 am #697984
“There was no cholent in the desert either.
You don’t, perchance, eat that – do you? “
Of course I do, Myfriend, but not because I am forced to lest people will think I am not “frum enough.” However, when bochurim do not wear hats, jackets, and white shirts, there are many people who look upon them as less heilig than themselves. Your analogy is not quite… well… analagous.September 27, 2010 3:50 am at 3:50 am #697985rtParticipant
just think, a week ago we were begging for our lives…September 27, 2010 4:10 am at 4:10 am #697986
“when bochurim do not wear hats, jackets, and white shirts, there are many people who look upon them as less heilig than themselves.”
I don’t know if people think that those who dress differently are “less heilig” as much as they think that they simply have a different hashkafos ha’chaim (which is a pretty fair assumption).
“Your analogy is not quite… well… analagous.”
I believe the word you’re looking for is “fitting”. Although analagous does kind of have a nice ring to it…September 27, 2010 7:09 am at 7:09 am #697987simcha613Participant
One of my Rebbeim gave a shiur on wearing hats for davening. He quoted R’ Moshe Shternbuch who said that hats are still choshuv nowadays. When JFK took his off, he wasn’t saying you don’t need a hat to look choshuv, he was saying you don’t need to look choshuv because I’m not a king, I’m one of you guys. Similar to Obama taking off his jacket in the oval office, he wasn’t saying you don’t need a jacket to look choshuv, he was saying I’m not really a king, I’m a regular guy like you, and you don’t need to dress choshuv in front of me. R’ Shternbuch said if there really was a king you would be wearing hats and jackets, therefore you have to wear it for davening, it’s just that nowadays there are no kings. My rebbe said that works well for jackets (and presumably ties also), but hats… even if there was a realy king no one would wear hats, it’s no longer a choshuv way of dress, it’s out of style (I’m assuming my rebbe would extend that to walking in the street… and he happens to wear a hat for davening, but for purposes of atifah [based on the psak of R’ Herschel Shachtar] not for the purposes of chashivus)
“The current style of yeshivish dress hearkens back to the Alter of Slabodka, who encouraged his students to dress like middle class European business men; a hat, jacket, pressed trousers and a waistcoat. He felt that if his students dressed and looked dignified, they would act dignified and their characters would be refined in the process. “
Why did the Alter of Slobodka say this? Is it because:
a) hats and jackets are inherently choshuv and it just so happens that European businessmen of the 19th century had the greatest sense of style in history?
b) He just happened to live in that time period and that was the choshuv dress of that time. Had he lived in the 12th or 21st century the Yeshivish dress code of today would have been much different?
c) He saw some special quality in the goyish businessmen of the 19th century and allowed them to set the dress code of yeshivah bochurim from that time onward?September 27, 2010 2:20 pm at 2:20 pm #697988
simcha, seeing you haven’t received a full answer to your original q, i would add that it has been conjectured that the current black and white look was adapted from the chassidim with whom the litvaks came into contact with basically for the first time after the war in the u.s. It’s possible that they borrowed the concept of a “Jewish uniform” to seperate from the goyim which until then was a purely chassidish hashkafa. The medrash about lo shinu es livusham apparently had a different meaning for the centuries of litvishe and (some) sfardishe communities that dressed essentially like their neighbors. I was told that R Aharon Kotler did not create this look but did not disapprove bec of the possibility that it was a good idea (shev v’al ta’aseh adif)September 27, 2010 2:26 pm at 2:26 pm #697989Ben TorahParticipant
What “different” definition of lo shinu es malbusheihem are you referring to?September 27, 2010 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #697990HaLeiViParticipant
We find this Hanhaga mentioned throughout the generations that Jewish attire should be different. However, let us not forget that it did of course resemble the general type of clothing. Just as today, we all year shirt and pants, but the pants are dark and the shirt is white.
I must mention that I did find instances where Gedolim where not recognized as Yidden. That would seem that the clothing was not different. But perhaps with the above explanation it is not a Stira. Yiddish Levush is separate but not necessarily does it stand out.
Please realize that nobody Paskened that we must wear this color or that kind of hat. The idea is that we dress like a Yid, whatever the Yiddish dress currently is. Over time things do change. First those who don’t care about Levush take on the current style. Then, businessmen dress according to business standards, and so on, until the greatest hermit will finally button his shirt.September 27, 2010 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #697991smartcookieMember
Charlie- your post about wearing colored shirts on shabbos is disturbing.
All week, you can wear whichever color you like and it’s perfect, Shabbos however, there is something to a white shirt. It’s absolutely more shabbosdig in my opinion.
(Like spreading a white tablecloth on your table Lekovod shbbs.)September 27, 2010 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #697992cherrybimParticipant
Does anyone know how the dress norm in Crown Heights to wear shirt tails outside of the pants started? I don’t see any older Chabad people doing this and I would bet the past Rebbe had his shirt tucked in.September 27, 2010 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm #697993theprof1Participant
I hope all you comment makers read this. 1st of all dressing yeshivish, whether officially mandated by chazal, Torah, your local rosh yeshiva or anybody, should be viewed as the way a consensus of yeshiva bochurim of the past few generations have decided to dress. It is an official uniform. Would any of you non-yeshiva naysaying critics look askance at cadets in a military academy or an expensive exclusive prep school for mandating a uniform dress code, one which will get you thrown out if you do not follow? Of course not. If you don’t like the school’s dress code, leave. If you don’t want to be yeshivish, leave. Does it bother you that military school cadets look down at their non-military teenage peers? Why can’t we all realize that klal yisroel does not have to have a single code of anything but the integral halochos of shulchan orech? By the way, the halocho actually does mandate different garments for shabbos and yomtov. This is generally interpreted as wearing dressy garments. Again look at the goyim. Dressy to them means white shirt and tie and a black suit. Chasidim don’t wear ties but the basic dress is definitely “dressy”. Sandals may be considered normal dress in Asian lands but definitely not in America, Britain, etc. There is nothing wrong with looking at goyim and their protocols unless they are keneged halacho and yiddishkeit. We are at a point in our history when we have to solidify many standards in force today that weren’t mandated or enforced years ago. Part of this was that the influence of the mostly chasidish Holocaust survivors wasn’t as noticed as today. But lastly, why can’t you all keep an open mind to your neighbors or anybody else in klal yisroel and UNDERSTAND where they come from? And saying because “they” don’t have an open mind to me, is not an excuse. Don’t you think you’re better? Shouldn’t you then show an example by having an open mind and understand that not everybody in klal yisroel has the same traditions or codes or rules?September 27, 2010 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #697994SJSinNYCMember
For women, wearing sandals can be dressy. Many women in my company wear dressy sandals when weather appropriate.
And the cadets don’t look down on someone because they aren’t wearing their uniform. They think they are superior for what they are DOING, not what they are wearing.
When someone shows me that wearing black/white means the person is a better Jew, then maybe you’ll convince me.September 27, 2010 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm #697995theprof1Participant
Wearing black and white means that you adhere and observe the traditions of your heritage. That makes you a good member of that heritage society. In the 1920’s when the Agudah was first being discussed, the Gerrer Rebbe Ztzl, Imrei Emes, had a heated debate with the Litvish Roshei Yeshiva and the other chasidish rebbes of Poland concerning inviting German Jewry to join. The Gerrer Rebbe argued that they are an integral part of Klal Yisroel and must be invited and urged to join the Agudah. One chasidish rebbe made fun of the Germans because they wore top hats to shul. The Gerrer Rebbe said to him, the German Jew’s top hat is his “shtreimel”. In other words, that’s his Jewish levush. Along with the German short suit and ties.September 27, 2010 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm #697996
firstly, mr. bentorah: i dont know for sure any other pshat in the medrash but it is clear that the mesorah was only some slight differences or just not adopting anything pritzusdik or related to avodah zara.
secondly, to the prof: all the other uniforms you mention were decided upon by the governing body of that organization or group. How does something decided on by a bunch of kids take on true torah value? bishlama if it was the roshei yeshiva , it would have significance. (but we still dont have the explanation) but if it was “a consensus of yeshiva bochrim” then that has no basis in daas torah.September 28, 2010 2:01 am at 2:01 am #697997
I believe the word you’re looking for is “fitting”. Although analagous does kind of have a nice ring to it… “
Nope, analogous (I misspelled) is the word.September 28, 2010 2:18 am at 2:18 am #697998
oomis1105: Sorry, my spellchecker caught it so i assumed it wasn’t a real word. I stand corrected.
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