Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Shtreimels - A Question

Question received via e-mail from Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin:

I am curious to find out more about the Czarist degrees against the Jewish lvush, peyos, shtreimlach,etc. Did it subsequently become a minhag in those places not to wear a shtreimel or was there never such a minhag. It is known that the Chassidim in Lithuanian and White Russia, whether from Karlin or Chabad, placed much more emphasis on pnimius and not on chitzonius as we might see in other places such as Galicia or Hungary. Do the aforementioned decrees have any bearing on this or was this the nature of Jewry in general in those regions?


At June 4, 2008 at 12:04:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

A somewhat related posting can be found here

At June 4, 2008 at 1:12:00 PM EDT, OpenID bahaltener said...

A very thorough article about it (gzeyras malbushim) was printed in koyvetz "Heichal Baal Shem Tov". I'll try too look up the number later bli neyder.

At June 4, 2008 at 1:14:00 PM EDT, OpenID bahaltener said...

Here, I found it.

היכל בעש"ט (issue 12) article "גדולי החסידות וגזירת המלבושים

You can find out about this koyvetz here:

At June 5, 2008 at 12:17:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pardon such a mundane question but, would some one be willing to post the radius/diameter and height of a typical Shtreimel? I realize proportions vary.

At June 5, 2008 at 6:31:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Shneur Zalman said...

It seems to me that prior to the Gezeroth on Levush promulgated by the Czarist regime, all Jews in the Czarist empire wore shtreimlech. The kashe is what form the shtreimel took, was it a normative fur hat, a kolpek, a shpodik or something else like we see in the portrait of the Tzemach Tzedek.

That being said after these laws were put into effect, exceptions were made for clergy. Thus in Chabad the rebbes wore a shtreimel until the Dor Shvii, but the Anash did not.

In skver and other Russian groups it seems that only the rebbe and his family donned these fur hats. In Ruzhin it was also true, but there the Galician nature of some of the group confused things.

Slonim and Stolin and Koidenov also did not wear shtreimlech.

At June 5, 2008 at 8:29:00 AM EDT, Anonymous TZ said...

As far as I understand all Chassidim wore fur hats (whether a shtreimel made of tails or a tall spudik or a kolpek etc.) if they could afford it. Many Rabbonim wore fur hats such as the Chasam Sofer, fur velvet and silk were materials used by the nobility they were chsoshuv.

Chasidic dress was never totally uniform but different regions, climates and decrees altered it even more.

Russian Chassidim had several decrees and great poverty. Many Chassidim in Russia could not afford fur anyway. However the decrees insured that certain distinct Jewish garb were forbidden. Therefore Russian Chassidim did not wear Shtreimels, Payos or Bekishas. This is evident since today most Russian Chassidic groups have re-adopted these clothes and styles now that there is no decree. The same with long socks in cold Russia they wore boots a custom still upheld in Skver (even in the summer). Luckily even Russian peasants wore beards otherwise this too might have become a problem!

The other Eastern European Chassidim were not affected by decrees on clothing. However again in different locales they dressed differently in Ger and Polish Chassidim they tucked pants into socks and wore Spudiks. Whereas the Hungarian/Rumanian groups wore short pants laced around the knee w/knee socks and shtreimels.

Lest one attack and say this is all just outwardly appearance and just chitzonius, we must answer that Jewish clothing protects our distince Jewish identity and while the clothes dont make the man, a soldier w/o his uniform is reprimanded and jailed. We are in Hashem's army and should each proudly wear the uniform of our division, the army the navy the airforce all are one army yet they have seperate unique identifying uniforms whioch are all quickly identifiable as making a uniform for a soldier.

There is a well known story that a Chassid once entered to his Rebbe dressed differently than the custom. Their custom was to have the top button on the shirt open and short pants tucked into socks. The chasid came in with his short collar buttoned to the top and long pants which are "open" at the bottom. The Rebbe qipped at him and said, If I try and teach you Torah how can it penetrate with your top button closed? And if it venetually somehow does get in it wall fall straight out through your pants legs!


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