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Lately, I have noticed that many people who wear a tallis during davening will deliberately put on the black hat, which they wore on the way to shul, while still wearing their tallis near the end of the chazzan's recitation of mussaf. I have observed people going well out of their way to the coatroom just to get their hat for this when they easily could have gotten their hat as they were leaving shul.

Is there any explanation for this practice? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to put on their hats after taking off their tallis?

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Re "...after taking off their tallis": or after t'fila, for those who continue to wear the talis after t'fila. –  msh210 Apr 21 '11 at 16:52
    
Tzvi, the custom is not just with black hats; it is also with Streimelech. Also, you observed those who do not know the custom, whatever its origins are. The custom is to put it on after the completion of the beracha of kedushah (HaKeil HaKadosh) except when there is Bircas Kohanim because the Tallis is placed over the head for BK. –  Yahu Apr 21 '11 at 23:34
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Since when did the black hat become tashmish kedusha, such that it matter when you put it on or not put it on? –  AviD Jun 16 '11 at 11:38
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@AviD, when did the kipa, or for that matter, the talis? Hats are certainly mentioned in halacha. (No citation at the moment.) –  msh210 Jun 27 '11 at 19:00
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@msh210: I did find another blog where one of the commenters mentions that it is a custom to put on a black hat after mussaf kedusha on shabbos. chaverai.blogspot.com/2007/01/fear-of-black-hat.html –  Menachem Jun 29 '11 at 7:12
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2 Answers 2

In Tzitzit Halacha LeMa'aseh (Chapter 9, footnote 12), The Leket HaKemach HaChadash (8:16) Is quoted as saying:

The custom in Germany is that the whole congregation only covers their head (with the Tallit) while saying Shema on Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur Katan. However, many of the G-d fearing put a hat on top of their Kippah if they are not covering their heads (with the Tallit).

I wasn't able to find a copy of the sefer to read it inside, so I'm not entirely sure the context, but that would seem to be a source for putting on a hat when the Tallit is taken off the head.

This appears to be the Sefer, by R' Yaakov Tzi Katz, but the relevant section is not part of the free preview.


The question then becomes, why remove the Tallit from one's head at the end of Mussaf.

There is a Sicha from the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe from the second night of Chol HaMo'ed Sukkot 5697 (1936), where he mentions that there is a Kabbalistic reason to remove the Tallit from one's head by the Ein Ke'lokeinu prayer (which immediately follows the Chazan's repetition of the Mussaf Amidah). [Chapter 12 footnote 65 of Tzitzit Halacha LeMa'aseh points out that this does not appear to be the Chabad custom]


So to put these two ideas together. If one deliberately removes the Tallit from his head by Ein Ke'lokeinu, but wants to have another covering on his head when the Tallit is removed from his head, he will have to go get his his hat before the chazzan concludes the repetition of the Mussaf Amidah.

I have no idea if this is what the members of the synagogue in your question have in mind.

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There was a time when German Jews commonly wore top hats at services. –  Bruce James Apr 4 '13 at 13:36
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It seems that Shulchan Oruch Orach Chayim 124 (4) describes the correct conduct during the chazzan's repetition of the Amidah, "they should be quiet and concentrate on the brochos said by the chazzan and answer omain ....." No mention is made there of changing head covering, still less of "going well out of their way to the coatroom just to get their hat".

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