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Sunday, 17 December 2017
Yom Rishon, 29 Kislev 5778



Starting January 2012, In the Rabbis Dust will be posted here in audio format. Look out for it soon!





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Question: why do Jewish men ware a skullcap? Traditionally not all Jewish men wear Skullcaps. There are various reasons as to why the caps are worn. First of all the caps themselves are called in Hebrew=Kippah (cap) and in Yiddish=Yarmulke (skullcap).

The caps are worn during or on Shabbats (Sabbaths), High holidays, Bar mitzvahs and on specials occasions such as brisks (circumcision ceremonies). In Israel many Jewish males wear the kippah. Some wear them for Jewish identity and cultural identity. Some only wear them on or during the mentioned times. When a Jewish male inters the synagogue he will usually wear his kippah in respect to others and to G-d. In orthodox or Hasidim Judaism they will wear a black velvet kippah and a black bono hat over it. They do not wear them indoors or within the Shul’s or synagogues. There are many kinds of Kippahs such as netted, crochet, velvet, leather, satin and custom made.

The kippah is not biblically commanded for any Jewish men to wear it is only worn by choice. Traditionally as some have said that the kippah was worn when Jewish male salves built the pyramids for the pharos. This kippah was sort of a distinguishing mark between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. Only slaves such as the Hebrew men wore these skullcaps. From here it is believed that the kippah became a token piece to the Hebrews. It is also said among Jewish tradition that from here after to wear the kippah was a sign of reverence especially while making prayer to G-d(shab.156b;Kid.31a), the tradition further goes on to say that one should never have his head uncovered while mentioning the divine name (OH 91:3).


New covenant ideas about men covering their heads


In the B’rit ha dasha (New Covenant) many have read the following scripture passage in dealing with one’s head being covering. It reads;


1Co 11:4 Every ish (man) praying or speaking forth a nevu'ah (prophecy), having anything hanging down over his rosh (head) brings bushah (shame) upon his rosh (head).

And from the Traditional KJV we read;

1Co 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.


Each version of the passage basically states that it is a dishonor to either hang something upon a man’s head or having his head covered is a dishonor while praying or prophesying. A few questions to this misapplication of scripture must be asked and understood.


Question one should be this;

In Jewish culture was it wrong for a man to cover his head while reading Scripture, praying or reading biblical prophecy in the Tenach (Old Testament) during a synagogue service?

Actually it is a custom to have your head covered with your tallit (prayer shawl) while you pray or read scripture in the synagogue or when your called to the pulpit to read. The Messiah was accustomed to this practice and tradition, and did not resist honoring it or doing it while he was in the synagogue (Luke. 4:16- 17). Therefore we must conclude here that the Jewish apostle Sha’ul (Paul) was not forbidding nor condemning any from covering or wearing their prayer shawls while at the synagogue or reading at the bema (pulpit).

Question two should be this;

Was the Jewish apostle making an augment against his very own customs or tradition by stating that men ought not to have their heads covered because it was a dishonor?

Actually the issue in full context reveals or should be realized that the Jewish apostle was dealing with a gentile community (Corinthian church) of Messiah followers who were adhering to the wearing of women’s veils or head pieces while they were in public prayer or worship. It is thought here that they had wished to continue the practices of following the Jewish custom of wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) but settled for their wife’s head scarf’s or veils instead, this is where the error of the Corinthian men lays. This understanding here seems more probable since the Jewish apostle himself wore and was a maker of prayer shawls often mistaken for tent making. It is highly doubtful that the apostle would forbid or edict his own tradition or custom since he more than likely wore it on its proper occasion and time. A biblical commentator Gill remarks on the same issue and says;

Having his head covered;


Quote1. Which, it seems, was the custom of some of them (gentiles) so to do in attendance on public worship: this they either did in imitation of the Heathens, who worshipped their deities with their heads covered, excepting Saturn and Hercules, whose solemnities were celebrated with heads unveiled, contrary to the prevailing customs and usages in the worship of others; or rather in imitation of the Jews, who used to veil themselves in public worship,


Quote2. Whereas to be covered, as with a woman's veil or hood, is effeminate, unmanly, and dishonorable.

Gills remarks here appear to basically suggest that when gentiles wear the wrong or (woman’s) apparel during public worship service, praying or reading while in the believers congregation, it is not only a dishonor to himself, but to the messiah who is both head over man, woman and the congregation. The discouragement of this practice is believed to be intended here, and the Jewish apostle is not rejecting or abandoning the traditional custom or use of using proper synagogue attire for Jewish or Gentile men while within the congregational setting.

Most Jewish men today as well as in the past whether in the synagogue, reading, or praying wear both their skullcaps and prayer shawls. This is a 4,000 yr old Jewish custom and still remains so. It is neither offensive, wrong or errant for any Jewish man or even a gentle to wear his skullcap in or out of a synagogue or in the Christian church.  Western viewers and followers of messiah must truly learn to respect cultural practices which pertain to biblical times, and should be encouraged to understand their roots when discerning the Jewish world and writings of the Jewish apostles.