Monday, April 4, 2011

How to close the Kaftan ?


Different chassidic groups keep various customs regarding their Kaftan (coat). Not only specific colours or fabrics but also the amount of buttons plays an important role.

Usually a Kaftan is being closed in a special way: The right side of the Kaftan over the left side. The reason "right over left" may find its origin in kabbalistic teachings.

In Kabbalah, the right side always stands for Chesed (kindness) whereas the left represents Din (judgment). 

Please correct me in case there is another reason or my assumption is wrong !


  1. As you said, Chessed always take precedence over Gevurah. This is why, when we button our clothes, it's always right over left. It applies with our shirts, our coats, etc. To say it more generaly: when we put on something (that means when we approach G-d), we always start with the right side, but when we remove something (that means when we leave from G-d's presence), we always start with the left side, to express how dofficult it is to leave from G-d's presence. That's why, before beginning the Amidah, we take three steps forward, starting with the right foot, when approaching G-d, but after finishing the Amidah, we take three steps backward, to leave G-d's presence, starting with the left side. The same with our shoes. When putting on shoes, we start with the right shoe (dressing in the morning is one of the stage allowing us to get closer to G-d, because the Torah says that one can not invoke the name of G-d in the presence of an Ervah), but when we remove them, we start with the left foot, etc.

    There are also different ways to tie your gartl (chassidic belt used for prayer). Chassidim know that tying it one way or another tells a lot on the court to which you belong. The same with all the other extarnal signs like the kapote you wear, the way you wear your hat, etc.

  2. B"H

    Thanks a lot for the explanation !