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  1. Do Chasidim not wear ties as a rule?

  2. If so, is this by design or an accident of history?

  3. If by design, where can I find said intended reason in print?

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[Not serious] I once heard that where a chasid wears a gartel as a barrier to keep his brain and heart unpolluted by his base instincts, a Litvak wears a necktie as a barrier to keep his brain unpolluted by either his base instincts or his heart. –  Isaac Moses Nov 24 '10 at 2:34
    
@IsaacMoses The way I heard it was: a Rabbi wears a gartel; a Christian priest (lehavdil) wears a collar; and a Muslim imam wears an agil (the cord used to keep a keffiyeh in place)... –  Alex Nov 24 '10 at 3:21

7 Answers 7

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Most Chasidim do not wear ties. However there are some that do. Those that do not - do so as "In Der Alte Heim" they did not either. Those that do - do so as "In Der Alte Heim" they wore them.

For example: The Skvere Chasidim wear boots year round. The reason they wore them "In Der Alte Heim" was due to the severe cold weather. However they have continued to do so even in the sweltering hot humid weather in the USA.

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Actually, the boots are to avoid the issue of knee pants vs long sleeve pants. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Indeed, Kiev, which is not far from Skvira, has a summer mean temperature of 13.8 to 24.8 °C (57 to 77 °F), which does not justify boots. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyiv#Climate –  NBZ Aug 1 '13 at 16:50
    
Indeed, Gershon, how do you know this? –  Double AA May 13 at 3:47

It could be based on the prohibition of Chukot HaAku"m, as wearing a tie has no particular inherent practical purpose. See particularly (and ironically) the Beiur HaGr"a YD 178 sk 6.

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To elaborate on what Gershon Gold said, some Chassidim davka wear ties. A prominent example that comes to mind is the house of Ruzhin, which includes, for example, the Sadigura and Boyaner courts, among others, in which even the Rebbes wear ties.

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I have heard from Hasidim that the reason many groups do not wear ties is because the cravat was originally only worn by the priests in those countries they came from. This seems like a very unlikely explanation in light of the fact that it originated as a very trendy fashion statement of first soldiers and then dandies. Most likely, because it was a modern, enlightnement era fashion statement, most of the Hasidim stayed away from wearing it.

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These days ties serve a fashion purpose, but not a functional one (as we have collar buttons). You could try to argue that therefore wearing a tie is something "senseless", and it's a problem for Jews to adopt senseless non-Jewish behaviors (why else would you be doing this if you weren't trying to act non-Jewish?). But R' Moshe Feinstein writes that American clothing styles are all about looking good (or trying?) and therefore not "senseless." –  Shalom Nov 24 '10 at 18:51
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Shalom, I'm not sure what you are getting at. I am maintaining that many Chasidic leaders felt strongly against wearing ties because ties represented to them the free-wheeling spirit of the Haskalah. –  Yahu Nov 25 '10 at 11:35
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Yahu, I'm saying some might say it's chukas akum. Your point is a good one, regardless. –  Shalom Nov 26 '10 at 12:56
    
Shalom, thanks for clarifying. Are you implying that Chukas Akum would apply to any senseless custom and not just to those associated with Avodah Zarah? BTW, Rav Leib Bakst ZT"L used to poke fun at our "need" to wear fancy ties by telling us how in the Mir they used to use their ties as napkins - For them it clearly wasn't senseless - Imagine the convenience! ;-) –  Yahu Nov 26 '10 at 16:09
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Yahu, yes, even if doesn't derive from anything idolatrous or prurient, if it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, why would you be doing it other than trying to look like a non-Jew? See the Igros Moshe on American clothing for more. The Maharik allowed a Jewish member of a doctors' guild to wear their exclusive cape because it's not senseless, it's a smart business move to identify your expertise. There are very few things I can think of today that fall into the "senseless" category. (Well there's one in R' Moshe, but that's a complicated discussion ...) –  Shalom Nov 26 '10 at 20:01

As @avrohom pointed out, the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel) did indeed wear ties. Thanks to @Alex for the links: here, and here

In addition, it has become common practice for Lubavitcher Shluchim of the Rebbe to wear ties as well.

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Some don't, and many Mashpiyim don't –  Shmuel Brin Apr 23 '12 at 0:34
    
@ShmuelBrin B'shita? –  HodofHod Apr 23 '12 at 0:35
    
I think so. I think the ones (shluchim) that do, do it more for the "style" then for "shpitz". Not that there is anything wrong with a Shliach trying to look more "normal" with a tie (I don't think I've ever seen a non-Jew wearing a suit without a tie), yet I don't think they do it because "if the Rebbe wore it, so will I" reason (if they did, they would also wear a big black tie davka) –  Shmuel Brin Apr 23 '12 at 0:37
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@ShmuelBrin re: big black tie, that might be a bit too mimu"sh, IYKWIMAITYD :D –  HodofHod Apr 23 '12 at 0:51
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Let's see how much obscure vernacular/jargon and inside jokes we can squeeze into this. ;) –  HodofHod Apr 23 '12 at 0:52

The Lubavitcher Rebbe wore ties.

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Which Rebbe???? –  Gershon Gold Nov 26 '10 at 18:03
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I'd guess he means the Lubavitcher Rebbe; there are indeed pictures of him from both his younger years (bp0.blogger.com/_2V_BgMY2q6U/RkFKcUZMeiI/AAAAAAAAAQk/…) and his older ones (bp3.blogger.com/_2V_BgMY2q6U/RkFKBEZMeeI/AAAAAAAAAQE/…) where he's wearing one. –  Alex Nov 26 '10 at 19:28
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But Avrohom, it's true that you'd do well to specify more clearly. –  Alex Nov 26 '10 at 19:29
    
The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe wore a tie as well. Once one of the Melachim Chassid (a break away from Chabad) criticized the Rebbe for it saying it was materialistic. This Chasid sadly left Yiddishkeit and lived in Crown Heights until the 80's. Rabbi Paltiel remembers seeing him on Shabbos Washing his car Davka. –  user1292 Mar 12 '12 at 15:48
    
@mochinrechavim I'd be interested to hear that shiur (I'm guessing that's where it's from). Do you remember which one it was? –  HodofHod Apr 23 '12 at 0:54

I have read all the above answers, and I think they are all valid, however, if you notice, all the above answers either say: These Hasidim b'Dafka wear ties or these Hasidim b'Dafka don't.

So I think the answer is: it depends on your intention!

Are ties evil? How about a knife or (I dare say)... the internet?

Well, in all the above examples it depends.

None are intrinsically evil, but if used wrongly or with evil intentions then they become evil.

On the other hand, if they are used with good and holy intentions - they become refined and uplifted and have thus fulfilled their purpose in this world.

The life force of all these 'neutral' creations (which can be either refined or become evil) is called Klipat Nogah - Which on one hand is a 'peel' which conceals G-dliness, but on the other has Nogah - light - because G-dliness can still shine within them. (see Tanya Ch 7 for a broader explanation)

So to answer your question:

1) Do Chasidim not wear ties as a rule?

If the Chossid feels that he can't do anything positive with the tie (or if the Rebbe of that Chossid decides this for him?) - then, as a rule - he'd stay away from it. He would argue:

It's only there to serve a fashion purpose! (as @Yahu pointed out)...

It's Chukos Akum! - as @Double AA pointed out)

But if the Chossid feels that he can spread Torah and Mitzvos better with the tie - because it's a kind of a garment which honorable people wear - which would/could mean that people will accept/take more seriously what he has to say - then in this case he would wear one. @Shmuel Brin: This is the reason why Shluchim wear ties (not to be stylish G-d forbid)

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Are you saying that applying chukos akum is dependent on the wearer's intentions? –  Double AA Oct 29 '12 at 21:03
    
@Double AA :Which Tanna says that ties are Chukos Hagoyim?? The fact that many great Rabbis wear them is proof enough for me that it is not really 'Chukos Hagoyim' but only similar to it. For THIS I can say it depends on the wearer's intensions. If the tie had Shatnes in it however - then intensions wouldn't help ;) –  Danield Oct 29 '12 at 21:13
    
Maybe you didn't understand my answer. I'm arguing that it's actually Chukos Akum according to some. –  Double AA Oct 29 '12 at 21:14
    
So THOSE people shouldn't/don't wear ties (like I said in my answer) –  Danield Oct 29 '12 at 21:17
    
What i'm trying to say is that if there was a clear-cut halacha of Chukos HaGoyim - then there would be an outright issur and nobody would wear ties –  Danield Oct 29 '12 at 21:18

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