What is the purpose of the uniquely Chassidic attire?
by Rabbi Shlomo Chein
What is the origin of Hasidic attire? I recently read a book that simply wrote Hasidic garb off as a remnant of ghetto life in Europe but I'm wondering what the actual signifigance of the clothing is to contemporary Hasidim. – Beged
1. It is true the Chassidic attire began in Europe. However, it was even then an exclusive "uniform" for the Chassidic group, different than the attire of the local (non-Jewish) populace.1 It thus was, and continues to be, a uniform signifying a sense of belonging to a certain group and/or philosophy.
Clothing create an attitude... When Chassidim dress in the garments accustomed to holy people, they feel a sense of holiness2. The Chassidic attire today is also (in addition to a uniform) a tradition; a link to the past, a proud display of their connection to, and carrying on of, their beautiful heritage.
3. Clothing create an attitude. When one dresses sharp he feels sharp, and when dons a pear of ripped jeans and leather jacket he might feel like a biker, even if he never rode a Harley in his life. When Chassidim dress in the garments accustomed to holy people, they feel a sense of holiness. They are inspired to live by that holiness.
4. As a matter of fact, wearing a hat is actually symbolic of holiness. See Why do many Orthodox Jews wear a hat while praying? Chassidim want to apply the sacred awareness experienced during prayer to the rest of their day.
Daily Life » Clothing » "Jewish" Clothing
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