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Many men will wear hats for mincha and for maariv (also for other prayers if not wearing a talis). Many will not. And then I've seen a few who wear hats for mincha and maariv on Shabas but not on weekdays. This may, of course, be simply a way of dressing more nicely for Shabas (Orach Chayim 262), but I'm wondering (a) whether there's anything more to it than that, and, if not, then (b) whether there's any source that gives specifically this practice as an example of dressing nicely for Shabas.

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2 Answers 2

Kal v'homer -- It is well held by the sages that on weekdays one should wear a proper hat when praying. Commenting on Shulchan Aruch 91:6, the Mishna Brurah holds that one should always wear a hat during prayer because it is not the custom to appear before prominent persons without a hat on. As discussed at http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/weekly_torah.php?id=19, there are differing views as to what to do if you have no hat, some holding that you should daven alone if you can't find a hat (and you can't use someone else's hat without permission). Assuming that that is the rationale for wearing a hat on weekdays during prayer, kal v'homer (how much more so) must it be true that a nicer, special hat should be worn for Shabbos, just as you would wear nicer clothes on Shabbos to be kavod haShabbos. Some Hasidim take this a little further and wear streimels (fur-brimmed hats) because in the 18th and 19th centuries in Eastern Europe, that was very impressive.

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I don't see how this answers the question. –  msh210 Jan 7 '13 at 23:47
    
Consider the fact that if there is a requirement to wear a hat on weekdays because of the formality of speaking to a king, it is even more so that one should appear before G-d in that way. Some of. The poskim cited in the article suggest that if you don't have a hat and coat, you should daven alone. Others seem to concede that many don't wear hats every week day. No one would suggest that you should daven alone on Shabbos. So get a hat. –  Bruce James Jan 8 '13 at 3:17
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In the Chafetz Chaim's time, people wore hats in front of prominent people. The MB also mentions that a person should wear a hat "like the way a person dresses when he walks in the street." Not per-se relevent in many communities nowadays. However, as atifa goes, the Rokeach (Hil. Aveilus, 313:1) refers to עטיפת הראש כמו עתה מושכין הכובע לפני העינים, suggesting that a hat might be used for atifa. Though that was said the context of aveilus, I vaguely recall the Rokeach being cited by an acharon who applied this idea to prayer. –  Fred Jan 8 '13 at 3:22
    
...As I recall, in fact, it was specifically mentioned to justify the practice of wearing a hat during Ma'ariv, when a tallis would not be worn. The idea was that the hat would effect some degree of atifa in the absence of a tallis. –  Fred Jan 8 '13 at 3:30
    
For a Modern Orthodox Jew, it makes sense that a formal hat would not today be necessary to meet the President or some other head of state, as it would have been 100 years or more ago. In fact, in some countries, wearing a hat indoors is breach of protocol. So one could argue (as people do) that one no longer needs to wear a hat, even on Shabbos. But for yeshivish and hasidisha communities, keeping up with today's fashion tastes is not an issue; they pray to speak to the King of Kings and dress with regard to what looks good in their eyes. –  Bruce James Jan 8 '13 at 19:13

Pri Tzadik Shushan Purim says that the Minhag by Klal Yisrael is to wear a hat on Shabbos that is different than the weekday, since the hat is indicating the crown of Torah which was received on Shabbos.

ועל זה נתפשט המנהג בישראל ללבוש בשבת על הראש כובע משונה בתוארה מאותה שלובשים בימי החול, והיא מקפת הראש כעין עטרה, מה שאינו כן בשאר הבגדים, שמחליפין אותם רק במה שלובשים בגדים חשובים יותר ולא בתמונה אחרת מיוחדת לשבת, מפני שהכובע ירמוז על כתר תורה שניתן לנו בשבת, מצד נשמע כנ"ל

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