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ASK RABBI DAN
by: Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
  See the rabbi's bio.
 
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This Month...

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On Friday, July 03, 2009 I was asked the following question:

I am a semi-observant Jew living in a neighborhood of extremely observant Jews, so I spend a lot of time watching and thinking of the things I see and hear. I have a question:

Is there a specific commandment in Torah concerning the covering of one's head at ALL times? I wear a yarmulka at temple, during other ceremonies such as unveilings, or when I pray. I consider this a tradition, not a commandment. Am I correct?

Thank you for your consideration

This was my response:

Yes, you are correct...it is a custom that wasn't always accepted by all observant Jews.  In the early part of the 20th Century, Orthodox German Jews did not all always keep their heads covered.  Most did, but not all.
 
However, that being said, when a custom becomes as widely accepted as covering one's head at all times that it becomes a "tradition", it also usually is accepted as a "law".  I fluctuate between wearing a kipa and not, depending of where I am going.  If the community is less aware of Jewish traditions, I might wear a cap or a funky hat or, even, nothing at all....what is paramount is always being aware that there is something above us at all times.
 
B'Shalom,
R. Dan

If you have questions about a personal matter, or jewish practices and customs, you can submit them to me by e-mail. I answer all queries directly, or through this column, when the question is informative to our community.

Thank you for your kind attention and this opportunity to share with you,
Rabbi Dan S. Wiko
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