January/February 2018 ~ Tevet/Shevat/Adar ~ Vol. 5778
By Gene Lindow
I hope you all had a joyous Chanukah, and a very safe and memorable way of celebrating the arrival of 2018.
I thought I would take a stab at Judaism 101. Below is what I feel are some basic reasonings for wearing a head covering (kippah is Hebrew and yarmulke is Yiddish):
As in any religion, there are many different opinions about how to practice beliefs. A head covering is no different. I have read many of these opinions, such as it is a divine decree, you should wear one 24/7 except while bathing (even while sleeping), young children should wear it, and I even remember that one should not walk four cubits (or six feet) without one being on their head.
While many of these are practical in a predominately Jewish neighborhood, I feel it is not practical to don a kippah 24/7 here in McHenry County.
Yet, when I come into MCJC, whether for meetings, school, or social activities, someone’s home for shiva, and even services, I choose to wear one for “the place that I am at” has led me on a learning/spiritual endeavor.
For me the most logical justification for wearing a kippah is that it is a great way to put myself in the right frame of mind to come before G-d. To approach the Lord with humility and piety.
Some say there must be a separation between Gd and man, that there is a higher power, and we must remember this. To me it is just the opposite. I feel that wearing a kippah is a bridge or transition from the everyday, to becoming more focused on how we approach G-d, no matter where we are at on this earth, and that our behavior is a little more dignified (okay, some may say I may need to work on this one during services).
Wearing a kippah in a synagogue may influence our actions with one another, not just in MCJC but outside of the building in our everyday lives of treating our fellow human beings. This is true for all ages, and not just adults. Our children learn more at times by our actions instead of our words.
The “tools” that we have been given from the Torah and Rabbis for centuries are ways that we can attain not only a higher level of spirituality with God but also to guide us to becoming better human beings. For myself, the kippah is one of those many tools.