Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Yekke with curly peyos?

Here's an interesting portrait. This individual was most definitely a Yekke who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. I'll say who he is a little later (either in the comments or by updating the post), but right now that would detract from the visual impact.

Edit: I updated the post; now the original image with its caption is posted. As noted in the comments, this is Aron Wolfsohn, who was also known as Aharon ben Wolf Halle and eventually as Aharon Wolfsohn. He was co-editor of Hameassef with Joel Brill, and later rabbi of Hildesheim.


  1. Moses ben Mendel? (Who else has the shock value?)

  2. R' Nosson Adler? (if dying in 1800 counts as living in the 19th century)

  3. R' Yaakov Ettlinger? (if being born in 1798 counts as living in the 18th century)

  4. DF

    Intressatne. Whoever it is, it seems pretty early for these type of krazilich. (In Israel the Yerushalmis I went to yeshivah with called them zungalach.) When did such payos become common?


  5. The point of this post wasn't "surprise, surprise, who is this guy," but rather "surprise, surprise, a real German Jew with curly peyos." I also should have made it clear that he wasn't a Chassid. In fact, as best I can tell curly peyos was not a Chassidic mode of dress at all. It was, rather, a Hungarian-Galician style, I believe. See here for a picture of Eliezer Lipmann Silverman, the editor of Ha-maggid. He certainly wasn't a Chassid; I've seen a photo of Rabbi Akiva Eger's grandson with curled peyos. I'm pretty sure he wasn't a Chassid either. Chassidim are really the only Jews who kept this style into the present (and Temanim, of course, but that's unconnected).

    This man is Aron Wolfssohn Halle (1756-1832).* At the time this portrait was made he was the rabbi of Hildesheimer. He had been co-editor of Hameassef (with Yoel Brill), among other things. Why he wore his peyos this way, I'm not sure; perhaps I am mistaken and the style extended even into what we would today call Germany.

    * His name can be written various ways; it come from the fact that his father was Wolf, and that he was born in Halle.

  6. Hildesheim, not Hildesheimer. Sheesh!

  7. I should explain better; I didn't want to identify him from the outset because I felt it would be a distraction, ie, better to first take in the sight of a German rabbi with the peyos than a leading maskil (albeit, a German rabbi as well).

  8. This does not undermine you very interesting demonstration, but R. A. Eiger's grandson (if we're talking about the same, i. e. R. Yehuda Leib Eiger) was a big chasidishe rebbe, founder of the Lubliner chasidus and talmid of the Kotzker Rebbe.

  9. Chanokh, I have that image (with a caption) on another computer. As soon as I can, I'll check. In any case, if one of his grandson's was then certainly another may have been, even if the one I have in mind wasn't R. YL Eger.

    Interestingly, I notice that our Aron Wolfoshn Halle curled his peyos toward him. If I'm not mistaken, Chassidim curl them outward. That's interesting, although it could be that in the time we're talking about there was no preference.

  10. "and Temanim, of course, but that's unconnected"

    so why did temanim have it?

  11. Lion,

    Curled payos are mentioned in th Gemara, so perhaps that may be a source.

    The type of curl doesn't really have to be one way or the other. Chassidim curl it one way because of convention. I do know a few contrarians who curl it the other way, like in the picture above.

    I was preempted, but yes, many of RAE grandsons were chassidim. (RYLE authored the sefer 'Torah Lishma".)

  12. "Curled payos are mentioned in th Gemara, so perhaps that may be a source."

    Where exactly?

    Anyway, curly payes are mentioned in later kabbalistic seforim, representing two channels/tree of life etc.

    Reb Shlomo Eger didn't talk to his chassidish son.

    Any explanation for the curly payes of Netziv or his SIL R'Refoel Shapiro?

  13. The gemara is here:

    ת"ר מעשה ברבי יהושע בן חנניה שהלך לכרך גדול שברומי אמרו לו תינוק אחד יש בבית האסורים יפה עינים וטוב רואי וקווצותיו סדורות לו תלתלים הלך ועמד על פתח בית האסורים אמר מי נתן למשיסה יעקב וישראל לבוזזים ענה אותו תינוק ואמר הלא ה' זו חטאנו לו ולא אבו בדרכיו הלוך ולא שמעו בתורתו אמר מובטחני בו שמורה הוראה בישראל העבודה שאיני זז מכאן עד שאפדנו בכל ממון שפוסקין עליו אמרו לא זז משם עד שפדאו בממון הרבה ולא היו ימים מועטין עד שהורה הוראה בישראל ומנו רבי ישמעאל בן אלישע

    While R' Shlomo didn't speak with him (he actually sat shiva), his illustrious father, RAE, did.

    BTW, the GRA too, had curly payos.

  14. Yosef, I assume you're being tongue in cheek by referring to Gittin 58?

    What's your source about the Gra? I've seen the portraits of him, and they don't show curly peyos.

  15. קווצותיו סדורות לו תלתלים? The locks of his hair were curly? Among other descriptions of his beauty? Seriously.

    The Gra? Yeah? Please.

    Unless you mean he had longer payos and they were curly, not the curled rings (something like reb Shmuel Auerbach).

  16. בס"ד
    My late husband was a yekke from Würzberg. My 4 sons had long peyos - some of which curled whatever way they naturally curled( and one had hair that refused to curl).

    Unfortunately they mostly cut them short when they grew up, but one has them twisted up under his kippah as his father did.

  17. Also, since the Natziv had curly pe'ot we see that it was prevalent in Lithuania as well...

  18. Until the Czarist govt enacted Gezarot against Jewish dress and costume, in the mid 19th century many Jews in Czarist Russia also had peyoth shel rosh. Many of the Russian (Lithuania, White Russia , Ukraine and Eastern Rumania) rabbis being exempt from these decrees continued to wear peyoth, and zupitzes ( most orthodox Jews replaced these with Prince Albert style surduten) until Wordl war 1 . After World war 1 it was unusual to see a Lithuanian rabbi with peyoth , not only because of the influence of these laws but also the fact that the Mussar Movement was against any distinctive outer signs separting Bnai tore from the Jewish middle class. With the enactment of these decrees orthodox jews in Czarist Russia agreed to dress like Russian peasants rather than in the manner of the Russian merchant class as desired by the govt. Thus they retained beards, long coats boots etc, but they were forced to drop peyoth, bekitches, and the fur hat. Women's dress was also "reformed"
    That being said it is interesting to see a German Rabbiner with Peyoth shel rosh.I do believe the pictures of the Baal Shem of Michaelstadt also indicate that he had peyoth of course not in the cork screw manner as worn by the rabbiner in this portrait.

  19. Anon, this topic wasn't about growing peyot per se, which we know was a widely and varied Jewish practice in many times and places, but about curling them. (Not that I'm not glad you made the comment you did.)

  20. Fotheringay-Phipps1:33 PM, February 04, 2010

    On a related note, the Aruch Hashulchan refers to streimels as being the standard headgear for Shabbos. A lot that people associate with chassidim is more general practices that the chassidim kept. (The early chassidim were criticized for changing the style of dress, but they changed to wear all white, kabbalistic style - that doesn't seem to have survived.)

    I think the idea that RSE broke off contact with his son RLE is something of a myth.

  21. "the Aruch Hashulchan refers to streimels as being the standard headgear for Shabbos."

    Citation please. Would like to examine to see his words exactly.

  22. Fotheringay-Phipps5:10 PM, February 04, 2010

    O.C. 551:11

  23. IIRC he is saying shraamels USED to be worn on Shabbos in the time of the Gaon - re: shabbos chazon. Am I off?

    Look at this picturem. Bottom right: Litvish Jew, Bottom left: Polish Jew (non-chassidish)


    From the same author: Chassid and his wife


  24. Fotheringay-Phipps5:50 PM, February 04, 2010

    shimon: "Am I off?"


  25. סעיף יא
    ודע שאצלינו יש שנים או ג' דורות שאין נוהגין כמנהג הזה בשבת חזון אלא לובשין כל בגדי שבת וגדולי הדור שהיו אז הנהיגו כן באמרם שזהו במראים אבלות בשבת בפרהסיא ולכן אפילו בשבת שחל בו ט"ב ונדחה אנו לובשין בגדי שבת מטעם זה ולכן בימינו אלה כמעט נשכח הדבר שאין ללבוש בגדי שבת בשבת חזון ותמוה אצלי דבר זה דאטו קדמונינו לא ידעו זה ועכ"ז נהגו בזה אף שאינו כן מדינא ואיך נבטל מנהגם ולכן נלע"ד דזה תלוי באופן ההלבשה דאצל הקדמונים היתה הלבשת שבת וחול שוים בדמותם ובתמונתם אלא שההפרש היה בין סחורה יקרה ובין סחורה פשוטה ולא היה ההפרש ניכר כל כך שהרי עניים גם בשבת יוצאין בסחורה פשוטה ולכן הנהיגו ללבוש בגדי חול משא"כ זה כמה דורות מקודם שבשבת היתה תמונה אחרת לגמרי להבגדים בין עני בין עשיר כמו שבחול היו נושאין כוע של קלאפי"ן ובשבת שטריימי"ל וכן שארי בגדים היה ניכר לכל שזה בגד חול כמו קיטאי"י וזה בגד שבת כמו של משי לעשיר ומשי פשוט לעני ולפיכך הנהיגו הגדולים שלא לנהוג מנהג זה מפני שההפרש ניכר הרבה והוי כאבלות בשבת ולכן אני אומר דבזמנינו זה שע"פ פקודת המלכות כבר החלפנו תמונת הבגדים ושבת וחול תמונה אחת להן אלא שההפרש בין זול ליוקר וודאי נכון לקיים מנהג הקדמונים [כנלע"ד ודע דזה שנתבאר בסעיף ט' דבכל חדש אב לישתמט אינש וכו' מבואר בזוהר יתרו דף ע"ח: דרק עד ט"ב לישתמיט ולא יותר ע"ש

  26. "Fotheringay-Phipps said...
    shimon: "Am I off?"


    Are you sure?

  27. It was partly tongue-in-cheek, although I have heard it as a source.

    The source for the GRA's peyos (and Streimel, really!) is a painting held by his descendants, the Kramers, who claim their picture is the authentic one. There is some support for their claim as well.

  28. so no real source from gemorah

  29. F-P: "the Aruch Hashulchan refers to streimels as being the standard headgear for Shabbos."

    As a commenter above pointed out, he says that that was so in the past, not in his time.

    Also, a streimel worn by a Litvishe Yid was not the same as that worn by a Galicianer/Hassdishe Yid.

    And are you certain that Litvaks that wore them, wore them year round, even when the weather was warm/hot, as Hassidim do today?

  30. Fotheringay-Phipps12:41 PM, February 05, 2010

    Shimon: "Are you sure?"

    Yes. The Russian gov. decree was issued in the 1850s, many years after the Gra.

  31. Fotheringay-Phipps12:45 PM, February 05, 2010

    "As a commenter above pointed out, he says that that was so in the past, not in his time."

    We are quibbling a bit over the exact time. But at any rate, it was evidently not a specifically chassidic dress.

    "Also, a streimel worn by a Litvishe Yid was not the same as that worn by a Galicianer/Hassdishe Yid."

    Possible. I also suspect that the streimels that chassidim wear today are not exactly the same as the old time version. From old pictures/portraits of people wearing them (e.g. RA Eger, the Netziv) ISTM that they were rounder on top than the flying saucer shape they have today. Dress styles evolve.

    "And are you certain that Litvaks that wore them, wore them year round, even when the weather was warm/hot, as Hassidim do today?"

    I would guess they did. Shabbos Chazon is pretty hot.

  32. Fotheringay-Phipps12:47 PM, February 05, 2010

    To add to the first point above, I mean, I agree that Litvaks don't wear them today, and didn't in the major yeshivas in early 20th century Europe. That's not the issue. But they did in the 19th century.

  33. Pauline Wengeroff, who hailed from a misnagdishe family, writes that it Kovne it was the custom to wear a Shtreimel. She also writes that her hair was shaved off, in accordance with custom, after her wedding.


  34. remeber the netziv or refoel shapiro veod, taht shows it was a jewish costom not davka chasidish

  35. Interesting. Not the Payos, but where did his mustache disappear?

    1. Probably shaved it. Lots of West European rabbi pictures from those days show rabbis like that. It was obviously a style. For example, the Shaagas Aryeh's son. (last picture)


      Korban Nesanel's son R. Yedidya Thia Weil; many others. You see a pattern, it's such-and-such's son - it was a more modern style from the early 19th century.

      Mendelssohn too - he had a beard, just trimmed his moustache and down to the chin.

  36. Wow, thіs piece of ωritіng is fаstіԁiouѕ, my уounger sister is
    analуzing these things, therefoгe Ӏ
    am goіng to lеt know her.

    Ηeгe is my pаge; cialis Generique



Related Posts with Thumbnails