Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On Black Suits and Side Curls


At the ultra-orthodox end of the religious spectrum of Israel is the Hasidic Judaism, which interests me if only for their distinctive way of dressing. The Hasidic attire, as I notice, is composed of suits in black. Sometimes I chance upon some wearing overcoat, also in black. Pants are black. I think everything is black, except perhaps the undershirt and the white threads on the waist area. I also notice a variety of head gear, and while black hats are commonly worn on weekdays, fur headdresses are in use during the Sabbath.

What I am just really curious about is the history of the curly hair on the sides of the Hasid’s head. Well, I realize now that the Jewish Bible or Torah commands every Jewish male, not just the Hasid, to maintain such curly locks, or “payot” as how they call it in Hebrew. Are the locks curled with curling iron? I do not want to sound offensive, but I have always wanted to know what really the purpose is of having such unique feature in the countenance of the male Hasidic Jew?

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