Question

Should I be wearing a gartel (prayer belt – ed) or some other such garment during tefillah? I am going through hilchos tefillah and the Aruch HaShulchan brings down opinions that even if you never wear one it is good to wear one during tefillah because of “hikon(Prepare yourself to greet your God, Israel –1)Amos 4:12 – ed)” and the Mishnah Brurah’s language I believe is midos chassidus. My thoughts are like this: I definitely have no problem taking on chumras if they are good for me; despite the fact that I would feel weird the first time, I think I could get into such a thing. That being said I don’t really see so many of my rebbeim doing this but I don’t know exactly why. Is it just not “done” so much these days? If not a gartel, should I do something else to add to my “preparation” for tefillah?

Answer

Before elastic underpants and leather belts were common, a gartel was much more of a way to be mekayemhikon”. Today it is mainly kept as a chassideshe minhag avos. There are also some individuals who are mehader in this din within the litvishe world based on the mishneh brurah you mentioned. In my experience I have seen a lot of litvishe baalei teshuvah, who are drawn to the styles and customs of the chasidim, put on gartels to feel more chassidishe. I have seen this lead to confusion and backtracking later which can be detrimental to growth. If you sense this may be part of your motivation I would try to be misgaber if I were you even though you say you will probably “get into it” after a while.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Amos 4:12