Sunday, December 7, 2008

Black Hats

One of the most annoying things about Orthodox Jewry is the fact that it is common that the men wear Black Hats. The Black Hat is considered by many a statement of Orthodoxy. To them the hat is like THE ultimate in Jewish clothing. To many the concept of perpetually replicating an Oreo cookie by way of dress is somehow holy. Supposedly, the story goes, the black and white with the Abe Lincoln look-a-like hat, is "Jewish."

Aside from the fact that the hat is ridiculously unattractive on most people, the hat is not at all Jewish. The hat was a customary article of clothing in many Eastern and Western European countries. Meaning, the Jew were NOT the only ones who wore hats. ALL the people wore them. Some people left the mid-ages behind, and the hat just represents that Jews are backwards.

Regardless...the biggest pet-peeve of all is when a sephardi guy wears a black hat. At least Ashkenazie Jews have an excuse as to why they're stupid (it was part of goyish culture), but many of the Sephardim of middle-eastern and Asian background have absolutely NO trace whatsoever of black-hat wearing in their past.

A few of my Sephardi friends hate the fact that on dates, guys wear hats. They hate it. It absolutely bothers them that this new wave of yeshiva returners come back "frummer" than their fathers by turning Ashkenazie.

Whatever...I think ALL men should abstain from wearing such atrocities on their heads. They're ugly and expensive and impractical. If you really want to wear "Jewish" clothing, put on a pair of knickers and turban, and sandals, and viola. Until then SHUT UP, its NOT Jewish clothing you damned GOY!

32 comments:

frum single female said...

i had a great uncle who used to wear a black hat. and actually he was not frum. he grew up at a time in america where men wore hats. the black hats frummies wear . if you watch old black and white movies you can see men wearing them. actually i thought my great uncle looked rather dashing in his black hat. of course for him it was merely a fashion statement , not an expression of his religiousity.

Child Ish Behavior said...

Who do you think you are, the fashion police? give me a break! I like my shabbos hat, and anyone who has a complaint can take it up with the complaint department, where it will be deposited into the circular file. You are the close minded(and a bit hypocritical) one for saying that people can't dress in ways that make them happy. If a sfardi fellow wants to were a hat(or any fellow for that matter), that is his prerogative. You don't like it when men tell women what type of head covering to where (if any) be the liberal minded one and allow men to choose their own head coverings.

Rich Perkins said...

even funnier than hats is the fact that Chassidim wear streimels and bekeshas. The streimel was worn in Russia by royalty to show off their wealth and because it was cold. Similarly, the bekesha was worn because it was bitter cold over there.

it is crazy for people in warmer climates to sweat their asses off in these things because some of their ancestors wanted to stay warm and they somehow think it is tradition.

Jessica said...

Child Ish - were we separated at birth? I was going to say the exact (well, similar) same thing as you!

frumskeptic said...

childish- you're a cooky fella. if these people wore hats cuz it made them happy it would be one thing, its the fact that they wear hats because it is somehow a Jewish garment that pisses me off.

their philosophy on the issue is based on faulty premises. And more so for the sephradim.

Jersey said...

Here's a relevant article I once wrote for the YU Commentator:

http://tinyurl.com/6obrtm

Anonymous said...

actually, there is a reason to having a double head covering for davening. it has to do with the 5 different parts of the soul. the second head covering is for the 2 upper parts of the soul (chaya and yechida)

Holy Hyrax said...

>Until then SHUT UP, its NOT Jewish clothing you damned GOY.

Sure it's Jewish. Why would a turban and sandals be Jewish and a hat not?

Mikeinmidwood said...

In a 100 ao years there wont be any Sphardi, Ashkenazic. It will just be American. I like my black hat, and if anyone else wants to wear one, fine with me. I am not so conservative, that I wont allow choice on what people want to wear.

Jay said...

Until the JFK era all men wore hats or I should say fedoras. The black fedora was generally worn by the clergy, Jewish or otherwise. Somehow the black hat has evolved to the frummie cowboy type hat. It is a given that the wider the brim the more religous the wearer is. In my neck of the woods (5Towns) you can tell what shul people are coming from or going to by the hats the men wear. Women also wear hats. But mostly those who don't wear wigs which is a whole other saga

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

There are pictures in which Darwin (in his old age) looks quite "Rabbinic" with his white beard, black hat, and long coat...

..what is somewhat funny though is that in the "great" Lithuanian yeshivot that the Ultra-Orthodox are supposedely mimmicking they specifically didn't wear clothing they saw as "Jewish". In Ponovich and Mir the students dressed like dapper business people, and the deans, as I said, like Earopean scholars.

And for the record!: The clothing in Arab countries that Jews wore were far from as uncool as Anita depicts them; they were quite honorable looking. The Rambam says the clothing of a scholar should be where it flows until his feet and wrists. There is evidence in the Talmud that men wore very similar garments there as well. In my opinion the Western clothing is not more beautiful than Arab clothing, just more convinient, and accentuates more of the baser parts of the body..

(http://www.shukronline.com/mg1801.html)

(http://www.shukr.co.uk/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=wD6201&Category_Code=women-dresses)

Child Ish Behavior said...

the reason is immaterial. if people want to do it, no matter why, you should be the last person to dissuade them. They feel happy by wearing a perceived Jewish garment, no matter if you feel it is one or not.

jessica- i doubt it, but hey you never know.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Childish: It should be greatly discouraged as it creates in many of it's wearers socially and religiously unhealthy tendencies.

frumskeptic said...

Shlomo- Didn't mean that Arab clothes is ugly. I dont care one way or the other. But it is more "Jewish" than anything western. No doubt that is what the first Jew (Moshe) wore.

The "look" of soemthing is irrelevant in my eyes when the issue is what is Jewish and what is goyish clothing. The hat is NOT Jewish. Just my point.

David said...

Being a bit of an apikoros (and widely known as such), I don't usually wear the hat. I do, however, own one, and I rather like it, purely for stylistic reasons. I do not wear it indoors. When I do wear it to shul, I wear it with a bow tie, so nobody gets the wrong idea.

In any case, there is something ironic about the ultimate Jewish article of clothing being made out of fur from a traif animal by Italian Catholics.

The Raz said...

lol, a friend of mine just came back from a 3 month stint in Israel and guess what now adores his head, yup, the hat!

The real problem is that black hats are a gateway drug. It’s no secret that there is this mantra to separate oneself from the goyisha community; the idea that we must not just act different but look different at any and all costs. This separatist mentality, most dangerously perpetuated with stories of how the holocaust occurred because/ when we started to imitate the goyisha community, creates a dangerous isolationary lifestyle. What starts with a hat “many times” continues with the oreo colored wardrobe, the lack of care for ones appearance, hairstyles and a complete a dislike of all things modern. What begins as a form of identity becomes a point of division.

The most dangerous part of the hat, is that many people listen to these far fetched supposedly hidden meanings behind the hat and the fact that the student doesn’t raise his hand and say “uhh Rabbi, it’s just a hat and it’s a residual stylistic holdover from a time long since passed” is the real problem. Too many “customs” have become near unquestionable practice and it’s this lack of self assessment that makes Ortho community feel so behind the times.

If you wear a hat with certain outfits because you like the look, great. You recognize a hat is a hat and you like to look gangsta. If you wear for its kabalistic/spiritualistic reasons, you have lost site of what creates real connections and forgot the thing on your head is just a hat. It’s literally all in your (on your) head.

David said...

"You recognize a hat is a hat and you like to look gangsta."

Guilty as charged!

By the way-- y'know what looks really stupid? A nine-year old boy with a Borsalino. We've got a bunch of them in our shul. They remind me of a cross between midget rabbis and Yosemite Sam.

Elisheva said...

Black hats are quite dashing. Whats the big deal?

Moshe said...

Anonymous, a velvet kippa constitutes a double covering.

I was forced to wear a hat for my wedding and haven't worn one since. I have no interest of being mistaken for a Zombie Nazi

KT said...

I wish we could all wear identical kimonos

Moshe said...

I wear kimono, yukata to be exact.

KT said...

You could start a trend!

Moshe said...

So get one and then there will be 2 people in kimonos. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Make that 3!. but on a more serious note, the frum community (IMHO) has become so obsessed with minute details that they loose focus of the main idea, and then they judge other people by the articles of clothing they were. Its ridiculous.

frumskeptic said...

KT and Moshe-

I think Indian clothing looks waaaaay more comfy than Kimono's.

I'd buy a sari :)

Anonymous- you're very right. frum people often lose focus on what is important.

Factualbasis said...

actually them wearing the hats has NOTHING to do with it being a Jewish garb. In houston they wear cowboy hats, in Israel many people wear fidoras. THe concept is the double head covering and your post just proves your ignorance of the subject. When the mishna berurah talks about the double head covering he doesnt even reference a hat rather a tallit. Get your facts straight lady. The black hat is merely what they are wearing nowadays in the places you see (obviously u know nothing of Houston or Dallas). In 30 years it might be something completely different. Stop attacking people for the wrong reasons

Moshe said...

Get your facts straight. A velvet kippa is considered as a double covering.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

double head coverings are a kabbalistic custom; if you're not kabbalistic, no reason to do it. many Yekkes who wear hats only wear one hat at a time -- the yarmulka goes on when the fedora goes off.

The Babysitter said...

A few things, first of all I like how the black hat looks!

Second, there is a reason for it. It's because men are supposed to have 2 coverings on their head when they daven. So they have the yarmulka and the black hat.

Also, the reason for the gartel is because men are supposed to have 2 seperations from their upper and lower body. Some count the belt as a layer which is why not everyone wears a gartel, but then some say there should be 3 or something.

Moshe said...

I mentioned this before, a velvet kippa is considered 2 coverings.

mlevin said...

Babysitter - you know the whole kippa thing is from the rabbeim, so two kippas or black hat or a dead animal is just an additional chumrah to the rabbeim's opinion.

Same goes about separating and gartels. It's all chumras.

The Babysitter said...

Mlevin: umm, it may be from the Rabbi's but mitzvos derabanim are still authoritative.

Your right, the gartel is a Chumra, and the hat can be one too.