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Years ago, when I taught classes to a mainly Chassidic male group, there were two students in my class whom I had trouble distinguishing. (Yes, I know it's sometimes hard to do this among Chassidim :-) When I approached the two, I asked told them that I often confuse the two. One responded, "What? You can't tell that I'm Satmar and he's Bobover?"

I asked him to explain. He said the Satmar wear the buttons on their coats on the right and Bobov has them on the left. (Or, maybe, I have this reversed?)

Why do different Chassidic sects have the buttons on different sides? What's the significance specifically about button location that's important? Do all clothing buttons follow the same rules, or it's only for the jacket or outer-most clothing? Does this rule apply only to buttons, or would it, say, change the location of a zipper "pin"? (Most coats have the "pin" on the left side.)

Note: My question is not limited to the two Chassidic sects that I mentioned.

  • Nope, I've seen Satmars with right-over-left and some with left-over-right. I think these two students think it's more standardized than it is. – ezra Nov 6 '17 at 23:39
  • @ezra While I know a Satmar Chassid, in my neighborhood (This is a mentch who can make anyone, myself included, dispel any negative notions about Satmar, BTW), I can't say that I've ever studied his bekishe button location. Maybe, next time I see him, I'll ask him "וואָס איז די סיבה פֿאַר די קנעפּלעך אָרט?" – DanF Nov 6 '17 at 23:51
  • I remember being told that some chasidim wear the jacket buttons reversed in or to show that they are different from the goyim (who have a standard button location on their jackets). – sabbahillel Nov 7 '17 at 0:25
  • @sabbahillel - This is true. – ezra Nov 7 '17 at 1:42
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt - I was talking of shirts; as for bekishes the only kind I've seen is right-over-left. I've never seen a left-over-right bekishe. – ezra Nov 7 '17 at 3:41

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