Kippah ( Hebrew: כיפה) is a hemispherical head cover, usually made of cloth, often worn by Orthodox Jewish men to fulfill the customary requirement that their head be covered at all times.

Wearing of a head covering for men was only instituted in the Talmud: “Cover your head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you”.The head covering is also a sign of humility for men, acknowledging what’s above us (G-d).

Many Ashkenazi rabbis acknowledge that wearing a head covering at all times was once considered an optional midat chasidut but today, full-time head covering is the norm except under extenuating circumstances. Sephardic communities generally did not have the custom of wearing a kippah all the time.

In Israel wearing a kippah also has a social significance. While wearing a kippah shows that you are somewhat religious, not¬wearing one is like stating, “I’m not religious.” The style of kippah in Israel can also indicate political and religious affiliations. Classical orthodoxy uses a large, smooth, black one shaped like a bowl. Many Hasidim use large black felt or satin, and a “rebellious son” may wear a slightly smaller black kippah to show his independence while remaining in the Classicist camp. Another play on this rebellion is to wear a knitted black kippah. This is also usually used to confuse people as to where you stand.

Collection of yarmulkes at Jerusalem market – traditional jewish hats



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