Haredim have apparently started a new stringency for Passover – special Passover hats.
The move isn't done for fashion, though – according to a new report in Mynet, it's allegedly done for kashrut.
That's right. Kashrut.
Some haredim apparently are worried that food gets into hats during the rest of the year and some of the food – bread crumbs, for example – are hametz, leven, and forbidden to eat on Passover.
Because some styles of haredi hats – shtreimls, for example – are very difficult to clean, the reasoning goes, there's a likelihood that hametz crumbs will still be in the hats come seder night, and those crumbs could fall into food, accidentally causing a person to eat hametz on Passover.
Some haredim solve this problem by buying a new shtreiml for passover, But shtreimls cost a ton of money, and most haredim can't afford to do this. And while the black hats we're all familiar with are easier to clean, even they aren't perfect.
What is the OCD-addled haredi man to do!?! This is, after all, a crisis!
Some yeshivas have apparently begun offering special pre-Passover cleaning services for the black felt hats for those who cannot afford to buy a new hat for the holiday.
And shtreiml-wearers who can't afford a special shtreiml for Passover-only use have begun to shift to wearing new black hats for the Passover holiday. While the new black hats are a step down spiritually, they solve the problem of minute crumbs of hametz falling down into the matzo ball soup, and that makes for a much better Passover spiritual experience.
Indeed, there even are hat rentals now for those who want a new hat for the holiday for kashrut reasons but who can't or won't spend the money to buy one.
And to think, Moses and the Israelites didn't even wear yarmulkes let alone fedoras or shtreimls.
[Hat Tip: Jonny.]