Friday, August 19, 2011

Observing the "Black Hat" observant

Click on the photograph for a closer look.

He came to take a three-hour hike in the mountains wearing exactly the same black suit and white dress shirt that he'd wear to shul on Shabbos, to the Beit Midrash/Study House, and/or, apparently, everywhere. In fact, when first I spotted this couple, this guy was actually still wearing his usual black hat. Most of the Chareidi/fervently Orthodox men whom I spotted on the trail had the seichel/common sense to ditch the jacket, at least, and to remove the black hat that they often wear on top of their yarmulke/kippah/skullcap, but almost all of the adult men were wearing their usual white dress shirts and black suit pants. Do Chareidi men consider it literally beneath their dignity to dress for the less formal occasion?

She came to take a three-hour hike in the mountains dressed in a trip-yourself "sidewalk-sweeper" skirt--and she was carrying a baby in her arms. It goes without saying that all of the Chareidi females beyond toddler age whom I saw on the trail were wearing skirts. What makes Chareidi women think that (a) it's safe to wear a skirt even in locations and/or circumstances in which a skirt could create a safety hazard, and (b) that it's more modest to wear a skirt than pants in locations and/or situations in which they're likely to have parts of their bodies exposed that should not be exposed. (See the article "Olive Skirts, Khaki Pants and Rifles: The Dress of Religious Women in the Israeli Army" on page 40 here. The following is a quote from page 42: "They further spoke of functional (rather than legal) modesty – the tzniut associated with a pair of loose pants that would enable them to engage in more tasks while exposing much less of their body shape and skin to the outside world than a skirt would.").

See also A "habit" best avoided, in my opinion.


Anonymous jdub said...

you kind of need to get over yourself. Why not focus on the fact that they wanted to leave the world of the beit midrash to see the wonders Hashem created. They probably don't own clothes suitable for hiking, and this doesn't look like a terribly complicated hike to begin with.

I think this says more about your insecurities than it does about them. When I was in yeshiva, and we went on a hike to the Banyass (I think that's where it was) one of my rebbes came wearing black pants and a white shirt. His sole concession was a pair of sneakers. Who cared? My rebbe came on the tiyul with us and that made it all the better.

Mon Aug 22, 07:59:00 AM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

JDub, your suggestion that "they wanted to leave the world of the beit midrash to see the wonders Hashem created" certainly does put a more positive spin on this.

I don't think this has anything to do with my insecurities. I'm just a bit taken aback that there's this entire class of people who either don't own clothing appropriate for a walk in the woods (the male Chareidim) or wouldn't be caught dead in public wearing such clothing (the female Chareidim, who might wear pants at home or to a females-only gym, but won't allow themselves to be seen anywhere else wearing pants). For the record, I don't think the woman in the sundress was dressed sensibly for a walk in the woods, either. Of course, if I'd been wearing long sleeves, maybe I wouldn't have made such a tasty treat for the mosquitoes. :)

Mon Aug 22, 11:14:00 AM 2011  

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