Question by Erin: what is the difference between the size of hats hasidic jews wear?
I work in a north eastern town that has an influx of hasidic jews in the summer season. I am curious about their religion but am unable to make contact with any of them. They keep to themselves and rarely make eye contact. I have noticed that many of the men wear fur hats some little some big. The women are often wearing scarves or head wraps and I have been told that when they marry they cover their hair. If any one has any info that would be great. I am curious about other religions and their customs. Thanks!
Answer by affinity292
Hi. There are two basic customs:
Among orthodox Jewish women, there is a custom to cover one's hair once one is married.
Among orthodox Jewish men, there is a custom to cover one's head (at least the crown) as a sign of respect.
(It used to be that covering one's head was a sign of respect and uncovering it was reduced respect e.g., a "bald faced liar." Many cultures have since switched it and take off their hats to show respect).
It is also seen a symbol that G-d is always there, over us.
There are no requirements about how to cover one's hair or what kind of hat to wear.
So, the rest is just personal preference.
Hasidic Jews have developed hat habits.
My take: Identification is when people start dressing and emulating people they like and respect. It is a very unconscious process. And it happens all the time.
When people start talking, dressing, copying sports stars, rock stars tv stars etc... it is identification.
It is the same thing. Although there is no requirement to dress a certain way, many Chassidic men began copying the way their leader / Rebbe dressed. And he probably dressed as was considered normal for the village from which they came.
So, CHABAD may have come from a certain area of Europe and local followers begin wearing the same style hat and style suit as the Rebbe. It is not required. Just emulation. And before you know it, pretty much every man is wearing the same hat.
The fur hats (streimels) are typically worn by different groups of Chassidim.
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