Clothes call

Thou shalt not wear tight pants

Men in Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem are being warned against garb that’s too form-fitting

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Don't get any ideas, Haredi men. (YouTube screenshot)
Don't get any ideas, Haredi men. (YouTube screenshot)

Hasidic hipsters are going to have to forgo their skinny jeans — or, more likely, their skinny black trousers. So says an expert on Jewish law who has lent his authority to a Jerusalem campaign against tight men’s clothing.

Notices posted in the city’s Haredi neighborhoods now include a quotation from Israeli Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading Ashkenazi religious scholar, who warns that men intentionally wearing tight pants will face excommunication.

While women’s clothing has long been a central concern among the religious, the focus on male modesty is only a few months old.

According to Kanievsky and his supporters, wearing tight clothing (a “custom of the goyim”) is stringently prohibited by the Torah.

In case men aren’t able to determine how skinny is too skinny, the posters include a picture of rabbis posing in acceptably wide-legged pants. The posters’ appearance on neighborhood walls — a highly unusual occurrence — signals how urgent those behind the campaign consider the issue.

Tight trousers aren’t the only item of clothing in the campaigners’ sights. They’ve added an additional front in their battle — too-short suit jackets that don’t fully cover the upper half of the body (and presumably offer a glimpse of backsides clad in too-tight trousers).

This is not the first time the 85-year-old Kanievsky has weighed in on current affairs. During Operation Pillar of Defense in November, he promised in a public letter that no bombs would fall on Bnei Brak (where he lives), and in September 2012, he called on people to burn their iPhones.

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