Male chassidic garb, a THREAD, part II: 👇👇

In part I we looked at general features of male chassidic garb. You can read that thread here:

In this part we'll be taking a deep dive into the specific items of clothing. Buckle up! /1 Image
1. Let's start with underwear. Yep, there is chassidic underwear. It is called גאטשעס\גאטקעס, gatshes/gatkes. It is white and airy and long. Why? So that it shouldn't press or rub onto your penis and cause erection or arousal. /2 Image
It also has a flap that is very easy to maneuver, so that one can urinate through it without touching the area of the penis. Touching one's penis is strictly forbidden. Men see each other undress in the mikve and that's how there can be communal norms for underwear. /3
Longer gatshes are jokingly called "rabayni tam's" (רבינו תםס) and the shorter ones "rashi's" (רש"יס). This is a reference to tefillin where the basic commandment is curried out according to Rashi's opinions, but those who go above and beyond don a pair according to RT. /4
2. Shirts are white and button up right on left. Some wear חסידישע העמדער, "chassidic shirts", which have no cuffs and buttons, just a hemmed seam. I was told that the reason for that was to be different to the gentiles (becasue if not for that we'd be easily misidentified...) /5
3. Trousers are black. Some wear האלבע הויזן - half trousers, especially on shabbes. These are knee length shorts with laces hanging from the bottom. These get tied around pulled up socks on the upper thigh. This combination is called הויזן זאקן - trouser-socks. /6 Image
Now pay close attention as here is where subtle differences signal alegience to different dynasties. In Satmar, Vizhnits and Bobov married men generally wear shorts with white socks on shabbes and long trousers on weekdays. In Belz men wear shorts and black socks always. /7
Ger men wear long trousers but tuck them into black socks, like bikers do (see pic). Bachelors have somewhat different codes. Satmar & Vizhnits boys wear long trousers and Bobov boys are encouraged to wear shorts and black socks on shabbes. /8 Image
By the way, when I say 'shabbes', I am referring to all ocassions when men wear their festive garb: on the sabbath, on major festivals and at weddings. There are minor festivities when part but not all of the festive garb is warn, but I'll avoid these minutiae for now. /9
Some men wear shorts and black socks on weekdays - usually descentants of the rebbes (who have princely status in the community). The rebbes (chassidic leaders) themselves often wear white socks even on weekdays, which is a sign of royalty (much more below). /10
In Satmar, Vizhnits and Bobov "half shoes" (האלבע שיך) are warn with the trouser-sock combination. These are slip ons and emphasise the socks. They say that this whole trouser-sock-shoe combination originates with the European Nobility. I do indeed find it quite regal. /11 Image
Finally, some of "royal" descendence (רבישע אייניקלעך) wear checkered, rather than black, shorts. I'm not sure why, but as a rule, the royal class wears more colourful clothing (more below). /12
4. Chassidim usually wear a "mini-prayer-shawl" (טלית קטן), or tzitis over their shirts. This is usually white-yellowish (depending on how old it is) and made of wool. It has four fringes on its four corners. This is due to a Biblical commandment (Num. 15:39). /13 Image
5. On weekdays chassidim usually wear a long suit, called a "rekl" (רעקל). It is made of wool or cotton and is either black, dark grey, or dark blue. These can have subtle designs, allowing for some creativity. A decent one costs £100-200. /14
On shabbes a "bekitshe" (בעקיטשע) is warn instead. These are made of silk and are pitch black and shiny. They usually descend to mid-thigh. On the bekitshe a "gartl" (גארטל) is wrapped around. This is a waste-sash that wraps around several times. /15
Female relatives often knit the gartl themselves as a special gift. My mum knitted mine and I wore it every week. It was very special and personal. /16
Royalty will often add bits of velvet on their bekitshes around the collars and cuffs, as a family tradition, signalling status. In this pic you can see the Bobov rebbe and the velvet on his bekitshe. Different dynasties place the velvet differently. NOTHING IS ARBITRARY. /17 Image
The bekitshe is heavy and stuffy so for mealtimes a lighter version is worn: the "table bekitshe" (טיש בעקיטשע). It's lighter and has flowery designs. You get some personal choice based on asthetic preferences, but pick something too noisy and you're signalling rebellion./18
The tish bekitshe comes with its own inbuilt gartl, made of the same fabric. How handy! Rebbes get to wear beautifully coloured ones: blue, gold, silver, white. #Jealous!
Look at the contrast between rebbe and followers in this pic of the other Bobov rebbe (there are two). /19 Image
And here is your's truly wearing my own tish-bekitshe this past Passover during a seder that I hosted for friends. It was beautiful and incredibly meaningful-joyous. (The tie is my own personal touch and not part of the traditional garb [except see below]). /20 Image
We're not finished. Far from it. But I have dinner plans. We'll pick up where we left off another time. Stay tuned!

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