The Enduring Kippah

The Enduring Kippah: Why and When Do We Wear One?

The Kippah: Why Do We Wear It?

A few posts back we were talking about frum clothing and I mentioned the kippah or yarmulke as it is known in Yiddish. For the ba’al teshuva, making the kippah a constant part of our life may be one of the most profound aspects of our transformation. We wear the kippah to remind us to be in awe of a higher power, and also to show respect, but more importantly, the kippah reminds us to be humble.

Yarmulke—“awe of the King”

The kippah keeps us in G-d consciousness 24-7. This is far different from donning the kippah only when you go to synagogue or before saying a blessing at the Shabbat table.

When to Wear the Kippah

In Biblical times, only the high priests wore a head covering. During Talmudic times, men of distinction wore a kippah at all times. But over the centuries, it has become customary for Jewish men to cover their heads, and in the Code of Jewish Law, it says a man should not walk more than four cubits without covering his head. Many parents put a kippah on their son’s head from birth.

As a newly observant Jew, it may be too much for you to wear a kippah all the time. Perhaps your place of employment would become hostile, or if you are a lawyer, the jury might go against you. There are many latent attitudes toward Jews that do not always express themselves. No need to bring them out. Do what you can. Many French Jews wear a beret, some with the kippah underneath, which is also an option.

As with everything go slowly. My experience and that of many of my friends, is that we walked gradually, but after time, the kippah came to be a more permanent part of our lives and we grew to appreciate the spiritual benefit that it gives.

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