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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Yeshivish dress code

In today's Yeshiva world the dress code is dark suit, white shirt, black hat, long payists behind the ears, and probably a beard. What is fascinating is that this is a modern phenomenon. If you look at any pictures from the pre-war yeshivas (for example in הרב מבריסק, where you have pictures of various post war Rosh Yeshivas when they were young in Europe) you will see that all the unmarried guys were clean shaven with regular sideburns. In addition they were dressed stylishly in nice looking grey suits and hats. This changed for some reason in the last 40 years. So much for recreating the world of Eastern Europe.

As an aside, this whole long payists behind the ears thing is not על פי דין at all. The shiur of payists is very very short, and in fact because it is a לא תעשה there is probably not even an ענין of הידור מצוה. What is even more interesting is that someone who shaves and has long payists is being silly. There are a number of דעות in ש"וע that פאות הראש extend very far down so by shaving there they are being over an איסור דאורייתא while by growing the hair higher up long they are not מקיים anything על פי דין.

4 Comments:

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just the dress code. We tend to look back with nostalgia at the "good old days" and forget that they weren't so good.

We bemoan the fact that only a small percentage of world Jewry is observant and we long for the Eastern Europe paradigm.

Let me tell you--it never existed. Most young Jewish men went to Cheder until Bar Mitzva (sound familiar) and then ended their Jewish education as they were apprenticed.

Yeshiva Bochurim were actually few and far between. Jews were observant because they lived in a closed society. As soon as the general society opened even a little, there were defections.

My family in Easten Europe was quite observant--and knowledgeable. In a family portrait my grandmother is wearing an obvious sheitel. My aunts are dressed Tzniusdik. My grandfather, bearded, is wearing a tall yarmulke. My unmarried uncle, about 20 years old, and my father, a little boy, are clean shaven and bare headed. My uncle is dressed the same way a Polish middle class young man would be dressed.

You are right about the dress code.

 
At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Eliezer said...

I was personally present when someone asked HaRav Shlomo Fisher Shlita the question about the hidur mitzvah on a lo ta'aseh and he responded that while that mya be so, the fact that we found that this was a minhag in both yemenite and european communities, even when one had no contact with the other for many generations, shows that it is an ancient minhag, whic must be valid.

 
At 1:02 AM, Blogger ron asheton said...

"the fact that we found that this was a minhag in both yemenite and european communities, even when one had no contact with the other for many generations, shows that it is an ancient minhag, whic must be valid."

Yemeni Jews were forced to grow they're peyot long in the 17th century by the Moslem rulers.

There are many depictions of Jews in Byzantine and midieval art. they do not have long peyot. That isn't certain proof that Jews never grew their peyot long, but the fact that Jewish communities in two different places grew their peyot is certainly not proof that it is an ancient custom.

 
At 11:37 PM, Blogger Shaul said...

the only well known "eastern european" yeshiva that we see pictures of bochrim wearing light suits and hats was slabodka, along with the break-aways, environs, etc.

And the fact that back then in the slabodka style yeshivos and now a days in many litvish yeshivos they shave is nisht git. It's takeh, ayin the arizal's p'sak, is ossur m'deoraisa, he holds there is no heter with non-single blades.

 

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