Monday, June 11, 2007

Can you wear a Borsalino Black hat on Shabbos? Part 1

Before I go into detail with attempting to aswer this question, I want to direct people to a post by Rabbi Gil Student on his blog regarding this topic here. Once that is read I want to add and question a few things that were not brought up in his post or any of the comments that I was able to read. First thing that I want to point out is that the Gemara here in Eruvin is one that is never or rarely mentioned regarding hats on shabbos. The Gemara always quoted is the one that is in Meseches Shabbos about wearing a hat. I attended an interesting shiur on Shavous on this issue but the Maagid Shiur used the hat issue for an introduction as to whether or not you can use an umbrella on Shabbos.
Getting back to the Gemara in Eruvin, Rashi comments that the hat should be tight fitting so it should not blow off. If the brim is a tefach or larger it is easy for the wind to blow it off of someones head. In one of the popular commentaries for Meseches Eruvin, Perush Chai, the author draws out a decriptive picture of the hats in question and how to wear them properly. In the picture, the brim of the hat is tied down with string around the guys chin as per Rashis explanation. This makes sense to me but apparantly people do not hold by this. In one of the comments on Hirhurim someone mentions the button and elastic string that goes around the black hat. This was originally used to attach to a jacket (hence the slit on the collar of suit jackets) to prevent them from falling off or blowing away. I was told but i have not seen this personally that Rav Shachter Shlita from YU does have a type of string attached to his hat to follow according to what Rashi says explaining the Gemara.
I will continue on my next post on this issue regarding what the Shulchan Aruch says with Mishna Berura's explanation and quoting of the Magen Avraham

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.