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I grew up with my father wearing a Kittel at the Seder. My father wore a Kittel at the Seder immediately from when he got married. Over the years I have heard that some people do not wear a Kittel the first year, and in some instances only the one leading the Seder wears a Kittel. Who wears? Starting when? When not? Why? (sources please)

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what is a Kittel ? –  Avraham Mar 28 '11 at 23:17
    
A Kittel is a completely white garment that some people wear on Pesach at the Seder. It is also worn by some on Yom Kippur for Davening. In addition people get buried in it. –  Gershon Gold Mar 28 '11 at 23:24
    
People get buried in white garments, not a Kittel. –  Anon_2Kislev71 Mar 30 '11 at 16:58
    
Many people get buried in their Kittel - see link - ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/207/Q6 –  Gershon Gold Mar 30 '11 at 19:00
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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Netziv, in the introduction to his commentary on the Hagadah, Imrei Shefer, notes that some say the reason for the kittel is to remind one of death, and we shouldn't be too happy on seder night. He rejects this reason out-of-hand.

He suggests instead that we're recreating the experience of eating the Passover offering, and has sources to indicate that people would wear fine Egyptian linen clothes for special occasions like that.

While it's purely conjecture, you could suggest that according to reason #1, maybe your first year of marriage should be super-duper happy (so no kittel); according to the Netziv's reason, there should be no difference between your first married year and others. But it's a source.

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Not having a copy of the הגדה in question, I was taught in the name of that same נצי"ב that it was specifically the one bringing the קרבן (one per חבורה) who would wear special clothing and therefore only the "leader" (or exactly one other person perhaps) wears one in modern times as well. –  WAF Mar 24 '11 at 2:49
    
Could be; I don't recall his exact wording. But you could derive various forms of the custom from his reasoning. –  Shalom Mar 24 '11 at 13:12
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(Sort of a repeat of part of R'Shalom's answer, but with a source for his conjecture, so I'll just answer separately.) Taame Haminhagim 503 says the reason one wears a kitl is to keep him somber by reminding him of death; he adds that because of the a mourner wears it, but a bridegroom (in his first year after marriage) does not (as he should be happy).

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Baruch Shekivanti in my conjecture, then. –  Shalom Mar 23 '11 at 19:09
    
What about those homes in which only the head of the household/leader of the Seder wears it? And if this is the case, why should a groom wear a Kittel at his wedding, as is widely practiced? Do the reasons for a groom to wear one at his wedding override the reasons not to (at least vis a vis the Seder)? And if so, why wouldn't those positive reasons override the negative ones at the Seder (or Yom Kippur, for that matter, for those who don't wear one on Y"K in Shanah Rishonah)? –  Seth J Mar 23 '11 at 19:48
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An extensive educational and entertaining treatment on this topic Here

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As per lo.yodeya.com/2010/04/guidelines-referring-and-quoting.html , "Even more helpful would be to also summarize... what the external material says. This helps people get an idea of the answer you're presenting, and also helps them decide whether to follow your reference." –  Yahu Mar 24 '11 at 8:08
    
I am the author of the blog referred to by Simchas Torah. Yahu commented that he should summarize what I wrote so that people can decide whether to follow the link. I have to say that generally, my posts are not summarize-able, and in this case in particular, summarization is completely impossible. For better or for worse, they are not sound bites. –  Barzilai Mar 28 '11 at 16:39
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Barzilai, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks for the note! Please note that this sort of response to a comment is best expressed as another comment, which is something you'll be able to do if you hang around here, register an account, and accumulate 50 reputation points. –  Isaac Moses Mar 28 '11 at 17:35
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I take exception to your suggestion that summary of your material is impossible for this purpose. At the very least, it should be possible to describe what your essay accomplishes, e.g. "presents a wide range of possible meanings for the kittel from a diverse list of sources." In addition, it would be good to point out which part[s] of the question at hand the linked-to material addresses and how, e.g. "To the part of your question about 'Why,' it seems from this essay that there are quite a few different reasons brought down in the sources." –  Isaac Moses Mar 28 '11 at 17:40
    
The point isn't to duplicate your material in fewer words; it's to give the asker and the reader a good idea of what value is to be found by reading it, in particular toward the resolution of the question at hand. This sort of data is particularly valuable when the material in question is long and complicated, requiring, as your blog puts it, "personal investment" on the part of the reader. –  Isaac Moses Mar 28 '11 at 18:05
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My family,as well as many others in Klal Yisrael, (see Haggadas Arzei Levanon) (also Chasidei Gur) does not have the custom of wearing a kittel at the seder.

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My father. His father. His father etc. Look in Arzei Levanon you will find Gedolim who did not wear it. Also my understanding is that Chasidei Gur do not wear a kittel by the seder. –  Yahu Mar 23 '11 at 22:22
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Nor do Lubavitcher chassidim. –  Alex Mar 24 '11 at 0:21
    
Alex, that would explain my family's minhag, given my Kaposter background! –  Yahu Mar 24 '11 at 5:34
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'by' the seder? –  Raffy Van der Vaart Mar 24 '11 at 14:23
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Nor does my family. We are of German descent (yekke). –  jake Mar 28 '11 at 18:51
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