Question: Why are Orthodox Jewish men required to wear heavy clothing, even in warm weather? Is this based on the Torah, & if so, where?
Answer: Orthodox Jewish men are not strictly required to wear heavy clothing. Rather, it is a custom that some of them have. This kind of clothing is viewed as dignified and modest and reflects the perception that a human being is created in G-d’s image and should do his or her best to reflect that image in dress as in all other actions. We all know that we are affected by how we dress (the same person feels and acts differently in a suit and tie than in jogging clothes).
This dress has also become like an informal uniform that one may choose to wear, through which one demonstrates (to one’s self and to others) a connection to a certain community and its values.
Plus, with air conditioning and fans (and most people working indoors) it’s really not uncomfortable.
Keep asking great questions!
All the Best,
Maimonides Society at Yale