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Why do religious male Jews cover their heads? (Hebrew Insight)

Religious male Jews cover their heads with platter-shaped cap (yarmulkah), usually made of cloth to distinguish between them and their Creator.

The custom of wearing such “yarmulka” (also known as “kippah”) is itself not rooted in the Hebrew Bible as is the case with tzitzit – tassels, hanging from the corners of male clothes (Num. 15:38).

The covering of the head in Biblical times was something mandatory only for the highpriest. The idea of all males covering their heads was an invention of emerging rabbinical Judaism (around 3rd century CE) that sought to reconstitute Israel under their leadership after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, symbolically projecting priestly duties on every male Jew.

But what does “yarmulkah” mean in Hebrew? The answer is nothing. The word is in Judeo-German language called Yiddish. It is compound word made up of two Aramaic words – Yar (fear) – Malkah (the King).

Disclaimer: Unlike Hebrew, Aramaic has a different grammar system and so all of you Hebrew experts out there keep that in mind before you think I made a mistake confusing “Queen” in Hebrew with “the King” in Aramaic :-).

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About Susie Jones

Susie Jones
The administrator of this blog, Susie Jones, is passionate about helping others unlock the full potential of who they where created to be through knowing God intimately and believing that He is who He says He is. The purpose of this blog is to nurture the truth that Christianity is all about a relationship with God, not just another religion.

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The post Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks appeared first on Jewish Studies for Christians, Dr. Eli's Study Group.

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