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Author:  Mishehu
E-mail:  not available
Date:  11/30/2003 10:10:00 AM
Subject:  Black Hat II
Message:  You don't have to write 2 pages on this, but, I just started to wear a hat for davening. I have a lot of skeptics telling me there's no point to it, and just a chumra that doesn't apply today.... like my dad. Then there are my friends in the Yeshiva world, my old rebeim, they're all so proud of me. So should I drop the black hat thing? I just think I'll get a lot of "Hey! wheres your hat?" It might be a little bit of a change. What do you think? I don't know if I do it because everyone else does. But I do feel a littlebit... more..... complete, i guess. I feel it is a burden... running to get my hat every time davening starts, but I don't know what to do. Please, help me out with this choice.

Reply:  That's a very good question. I had the same issue myself. So I went to the store and bought a blue hat. But eventually I stopped wearing hats completely, because it bothers my head. Every person is different. For me a hat is very irritating. The only time there is a benefit to have your head covered with a hat is for Shemonah Esrey/Amida, and when you get an Aliyah to the Torah. Wearing a jacket is the same. It's an extra thing, a way to better your Tefilah. By Shacharit, if and/or when you wear a Talit, you don't need either, because the Talit would cover your body and your head. The hat & jacket would be overkill. If there is a slight chance that you will be late to a Minyan or late for any of the times of Tefilah or Kriat Shema, or it will cause you to pray Mincha after sunset, it would be a sin to wait to get the hat & jacket. If the hat or jacket is even a little bit dirty or stained, it would be a sin, too. In all other situations, if your prayers are decent and you can concentrate and focus, then adding a hat & jacket is an enhancement, and will certainly be a wonderful thing. Wearing a jacket while wearing Tefillin is a bit tricky. If you leave the arm with the Tefillin out of the jacket and you button it around like many people do, that's not a nice way to face God. You wouldn't walk in the street that way. You can easily get the jacket sleeve onto the arm with the Tefillin by doing it gently. Otherwise, leave the jacket off.   I always threatened to come to a wedding with my jacket buttoned in that way, just to show how ridiculous it is. Additionally, if you are living in an environment that not wearing a hat and jacket even in the street would label you in any way that could give you problems, it is certainly a good thing to wear it. Not everyone can buck the system like Aaron Abadi.

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