Saturday, June 09, 2007

How many Rabbits does it take to make a black hat?



Even thought the title of this post sounds a little bit crazy, this is a real question that i want to know the answer to. Over Shabbos while looking at the nice fancy black borsalino that i have, i noticed that the tag says made from 100 percent Rabbit Fur. Do you think most people who wear these hats know that they are wearing a dead rabbit on their head? Then i remember seeing the following commercial on TV about reattaching those rabbit feet that are dyed and considered good luck charms to Rabbits. With this in mind, I ask is this appropriate for a frum Jew to kill rabbits just so they can have a nice looking hat?
Chassidus teaches the essence in a brocha is taking something that is not holy and raising its kedusha by making a brocha on it. Does someone make a brocha on a hat? If we wear a leather belt or leather shoes, the leather comes from an animal that the meat and the rest of it were used in a holy way. You have meat from a kosher animal, the skin for STAM and other things that make use for you Avodas Hashem and things that brochas can be made on for elevating the kedusha. What kedusha does a rabbit have? You cannot eat the meat from a rabbit since it is not kosher so are you permitted to kill a rabbit for the feet or the fur? Chassidim who wear streimels might have the same issue but i am assuming the fur used on a streimel comes from an animal whose meat has been used for a brocha. If i am wrong someone can comment and correct me since i am not exactly sure what animal they do come from. The same applies to leather watch bands and some belts which are made from pig skin. Is it appropriate for a Frum jew to wear these things. If not, does it fall into the same category as shatnez? These are some things that i was thinking about and would love to hear any answers anyone might have.

18 comments:

Lvnsm27 said...

Interesting questions.

Rafi G said...

as far as I know there is no halachic problem with using animals that are not kosher for these purposes. Even belts and the like that you say are from kosher animals, they might be, but the animals they were made from were not shechted, so they are still not kosher...

I do not know about chassidus (and yes, their shhtreimels are made from non-kosher animals;rabbit, minks, fox and the like), but according to halacha there is no problem.

FrumWithQuestions said...

Rafi- I was not talking about a Halachic problem but more of a spiritual problem in the same line as morals and ethics. Since you cannot make a brocha on certain things should they be permitted? The belts and things made from animals could be kosher is not a big deal because we do not know which animals they came from and it is possible they came from kosher animals.

Bas~Melech said...

Hm... I never wondered about hats because I don't know much about them, but I do wonder about all the small furry animals whose tails become about 1/3 of a shtreimel...

Maybe its redeeming value is that the meat is being eaten by some goy somewhere, or being ground into animal food...

In any case, it definitely does NOT fall into the category of shatnez, which is an outright aveira dioraisa.

BTW, regarding your leather goods for which the animal has been used for holy purposes -- you still don't make a shehechiyanu on it because an animal died.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I don't see a problem with it. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought of this.

Litvak said...

Hashem made the world for a reason. Non-kosher animals also have a purpose in this world.

In Pirkei Ovos it says that everything that Hakodosh boruch Hu made in his world He made only for his honor. It doesn't say that only the kosher things are meant with that statement. Rather it means everything.

The Torah does not allow us to eat meat of non-kosher animals. Eating is an internal use. When eating something you internalize it and make it part of you. An external use like making use of fur of an animal for a hat is different and is allowed by the Torah.

If the Torah set up the rules that way, permitting such use, we have to defer to and accept this divine wisdom.

My recollection is that the gemara mentions the use of a certain product of dogs that is used in the preparing of skins for parchment for a sefer Torah. So we see that there is not a problem with that.

Avrohom Avinu and other great leaders used unkosher animals such as chamorim (donkeys) and camels. Let us not think we know better than them.

Miriam said...

you have time for these questions? You must be doing great!

FrumWithQuestions said...

Miriam- I dont understand what you mean that i must be doing great.

Litvak- I agree a little bit with your rational but i still feel that if you are going to wear a hat maybe it is better to use a felt hat since you are not killing anything.

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Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting discussion of the subject: http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/furjew.html

I have become convinced that causing so much suffering to animals, as is common today in the fur (and other) industries, is a grave error that we need to raise awareness about in the Jewish community.

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