When and why did we stop wearing sackcloth in times of mourning and other times of distress (e.g., when fasting for rain)? (I presume sackcloth was quite uncomfortable.) Sackcloth is mentioned in the Torah in Bereshis 37:34 (Yaakov put on sackcloth after getting Joseph's coat of many colors dipped in blood), and is also mentioned in a couple of dozen places in various other Books of the Bible.

(Since writing this, I've heard that in recent past (in memory of the living) when fasts were called in Israel, at least some wore sackcloth.)

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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/33903/759 – Double AA Aug 9 '15 at 21:39
  • Probably it was a thing that everyone used to do, Jews and non Jews, as a sign of mourning. Just the society changed. Just like we don't do a lot of things society used to do. I don't think it was specifically a Jewish custom. – user613 Aug 10 '15 at 5:29
  • I take back my previous suggested answer in the comments. Just checked on wikipedia, it was primarily a Jewish thing. – user613 Aug 10 '15 at 16:13
  • Bavli Taanit 14b, cf judaism.stackexchange.com/a/9292/759 – Double AA May 21 '17 at 13:21

It is specifically mentioned in the siddur of Rabbi Shabtai of Rashkov for during the time between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. That means it was being practiced in Poland around 1700-1740. Although not widespread, it is still in practice in some Charedi communities just like kapparot and malkot are still practiced.

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