Thursday, August 09, 2007

Imposing A Dress Code

(Picture courtesy of

A Talmid commenting on Becoming A Breslover Chassid:

I asked Rabbi Chaim Kramer (son-in-law of Rabbi Tvzi Aryeh Rosenfeld) of the Breslov Research Center, , who is a baki in all of Torah besides of course Breslov seforim, regarding the issue of short/long jackets and shaving the beard as has been discussed recently. The following is his reply:

Where does Rebbe Nachman teach about wearing long coats? The only place I know of is in a note by Rabbi Kaplan o"h in the book Rabbi Nachman's Stories in the second story. It is a reference to the German Enlightenment of that time. So don't take it to heart. There does NOT exist a dress code in Breslov. Only those who want to impose their view upon others have a dress code. I too wear a short jacket.

Shaving the beard. In halakhah it's permitted (done in a permitted way). In Kabbalah it's a very important thing to have a beard.

Best wishes,

Chaim Kramer


At August 9, 2007 at 11:06:00 AM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

A Talmid: I'll give sources if you want. About shaving and clothes in Breslover sforim.

I'm surprised that R' Chaim Kremer is not aware of them, saying that "there does NOT exist a dress code in Breslov" which can denote that there is nothing to say about it from the Breslov perspective.

While anarchist ideas did catch on in many Breslover circles, they aren't inherently Breslov ideas at all (even though I admit that general situation with leadership did lead to such things).

At August 9, 2007 at 11:25:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

I heard over something interesting. Someone asked a Breslover Rov if there is a special dress code. He answered that the only requirements of dress are to follow Shulchan Aruch and a remez that the Rebbe wasn't makpid on clothing is the story, Master of Prayer, which Reb Noson says refers to the Rebbe. Near the begining of the story it says "and on clothing, he was not makpid".

At August 9, 2007 at 11:48:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

A dress code is not the same thing as a single regulation uniform or wardrobe. Some communities dress with more uniformity than others.

At August 9, 2007 at 12:13:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Doesn't sound real to me. Especially because in other place it is said that Rebbe was very makpid on clean and neat clothing, on derech eretz and etc. I'll try to collect sources later.

There are those who say, that one can be a litvak and a Breslover because Breslov isn't Chasidus but some kind of ethics school. The main thing is to learn sforim and etc. and etc.

This is wrong. Breslov is a Chasidus, and not a mussar movement.

Also as you said - the issue is exactly in the "code".

The "code" means, that external appearance becomes the main factor of membership and etc. Definitely Breslov doesn't go for this way. But it is equally wrong to make a conclusion from it, that it is now a total hefker and chaos, and from Breslov perspective there is no difference as long as one isn't viloation laws of tznius. There is a difference. But this difference (in chitzoynius) isn't made into primary focus, which usually goes together with throwing out pnimius into the dust bin.

As I said before - either extreme is wrong, and Breslov anarchists can't justify themselves that "there is no code" in Breslov so they can do what they want and it is still in accordance with the spirit of Breslober Chasidus.

At August 9, 2007 at 12:16:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

(It was reply to A Talmid's post above).

At August 9, 2007 at 12:34:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Here are some quotes from Breslover minhogim project on this subject (reference to Chayey Moharan isn't done properly according to sections, and uses "through" numbering).

The Rebbe cautioned his followers not to wear unclean, torn, or shabby clothes. Rather, a G-d-fearing person should wear clean and respectable clothing, according to his ability.
(Chayei Moharan 201)

The Rebbe praised the Chassidim for preserving the traditional Jewish style of dress and appearance, and for keeping distant from chokhmos chitzoniyos.
(Chayei Moharan 421)


Reb Noson discusses the mystical meaning of the centuries-old Jewish custom to fasten one’s shirts and jackets so that the right side is on top of the left side. This indicates the dominance of midas ha-chesed over midas ha-din. Chassidim are particular to use such garments, as opposed to those worn in the secular world, which fasten left over right.
(See Likkutei Halakhos, Hilchos Hashkomas ha-Boker 1:10)


The Rebbe once remarked that there is a connection between the fact that Jews in Germany in his day already wore short jackets in the modern, western European manner, and that the Zohar was not commonly available there.
(Chayei Moharan 422)


The Rebbe delivered awesome mystical teachings about the beard and peyos. He also related the removal of the beard to assimilation and religious decline.
(E.g. see Likkutei Moharan I, 20; Chayei Moharan 51, 86; et al.)


Reb Noson expounds at length upon the mystical meaning of the beard and peyos, which he relates to the Patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and the right, left, and middle columns in the array of the sefiros. He points out that these are not only symbols, but also channels for spiritual illumination.
(Likkutei Halakhos, Gilu’ach 1, 3, et passim)


I'll try get more sources later iy"H.

At August 9, 2007 at 12:44:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

When questioned on this subject, Reb Elozer Kenig answered that a Chassidisher levush is a holy and important component of the Rebbe's derech. Some people from a more modern background who are attracted to Breslov may hesitate to change their style of dress. This hesitation should not be an obstacle. One need not wear a long black jacket to study the Rebbe’s teachings and follow his guidance in ‘avodas HaShem. However, even if one is not ready to make such external changes at present, one may aspire to wear a Chassidisher levush. In any case, one should respect the traditional Jewish manner of dress.


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