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Jun. 29, 2017 - 5 Tammuz 5777
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Section: Halacha   Category: Daily Halacha
Getting Dressed - Rav Moshe Feinstein On The American Wardrobe

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch brings L'Halacha that a Jew may not wear clothing styles like a non-Jew. The poskim bring many different reasons for this and each reason has a specific implication. Rav Moshe Feinstein (YD 1:81)was asked in 1952 whether Polish immigrants who arrived on the shores of the US were obligated to wear clothing like they wore in Europe or they are permitted to adopted classic American style dress. Since almost everybody in not Makpid, Rav Moshe was asked if there was validity to their leniency.

Rav Moshe brings the opinion of the Maharik who says that non-Jewish clothing are assur if they are worn for Pritzus or Ga'ava or if a Jew wears it because he specifically wants to dress like a Goy. Even if the person wants to dress like a goy, if there is a valid purpose for this type of dress it is permitted (this would apply to professional dress code like Doctors). He also brings the Rema who holds like the Ran that it is assur even for no apparent reason because it may have something to do with Avodah Zara an Darkei HaEmori.

Therefore concludes Rav Moshe there is no issur whatsoever for a person to dress American style even straight off the boat from Poland. Moreover, says Rav Moshe, what makes this style Goyish? When the style first started the Jews dressed that way as well, so the Goyim cannot claim it to be their own. Therefore even according to the Vilna Gaon who argues on the Maharik and the Rema, in this case there is no problem.

With regard to keeping the Minhag of their fathers, says Rav Moshe, since this is not called clothing of Goyim but rather clothing of American Jews, there is no problem to change from the clothing style of the Jews in the place you came to the style of the Jews in the place where you are now.

In closing Rav Moshe says that this only applies to respectable clothing. Styles that are not modest fall under the issur even if the Jews adopt it from the outset.

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation. Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.

RELATED ARTICLES:clothing  goy  halacha  Rav Moshe Feinstein

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