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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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  • An extensive educational and entertaining treatment on this topic Here Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 2:31
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    what is a Kittel ?
    – Avraham
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 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. Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 23:24
  • People get buried in white garments, not a Kittel. Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 16:58
  • Many people get buried in their Kittel - see link - ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/207/Q6 Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 19:00

4 Answers 4

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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
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 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
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 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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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
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 22:22
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    Nor do Lubavitcher chassidim.
    – Alex
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 0:21
  • Alex, that would explain my family's minhag, given my Kaposter background!
    – Yahu
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 5:34
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    Nor does my family. We are of German descent (yekke).
    – jake
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 18:51
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R' Herschel Schachter discusses this in his Haggadah*:

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*R' Schachter's Haggadah is compiled by Reb Allan Weissman

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