Monday, April 28, 2014

Why do Skverer Hasidim wear boots?

One thing that differentiates Skverer Hasidim's dress from other Hasidic groups is that they wear high boots on Shabbos.

The Mishpacha profile (referenced in my last post) quoted 2 reasons for this minhag, one a typical Chasidish story and one a very practical reason:

  1. One of the previous Rebbes went to visit his brother for Shabbos. On Erev Shabbos he put on the traditional white knee high socks, however, he saw that his brother was not wearing white socks because he was too poor to afford them. In order not to embarrass his brother he put on his high boots for Shabbos.
  2. Skver located in the Ukraine is a very cold place and therefore they wore boots all the time to keep their feet warm.
The question that we can ask is what is the relevance of wearing boots today? Especially according to the second reason, why wear heavy boots in a warmer climate where everyone has heat? Why did clothing styles get frozen in the style of 150-200 years ago?

3 comments:

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

This is how Chassidus works:
1) Chassidim start doing something either out of imitation of the Chrisian nobility around them or because of practical reasons. The high boots just might have been aristocratic fashion at the time and Chasidim have always seen themselves as the upper class of Jewish society.
2) Since they just innovated something new while condemning innovation they invent a "rebbe story" or claim it's a "sod haTorah" so that no one can accuse them of picking and choosing just like everyone else.
3) Having done that they can no longer change because, well because change is forbidden and we've been wearing high boots and shtreimls since Sinai!

zdub said...

How is this any different than vasa zocken, or kapotas, or shtreimels?

Yakov Minster said...

Complete nonsense. Leather boots were and still are by far more expensive then the white socks. Ukraine is as hot in the summer as NY. Boots was the footwear of choice for the people of some financial means. Peasants went barefoot or wore lapti http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bast_shoe.