Why Do Jews Wear a Kippah?
4 ways wearing a kippah is like a wedding ring.
The first time I recall having a real discussion about a Jewish head-covering, often referred to as a yarmulka or kippah, was when I was a staff member in Camp Nageela East. As part of the rules, everyone was required to wear a kippah for meals and prayers and Guy, my 15-year-old camper, said to me, “I don't get why we have to wear a kippah. I've heard that it's a reminder that God is above us, but I'm aware that God is here even without wearing one.”
Guy had a good point. If I truly feel connected with the Almighty, then what would be the purpose in wearing it? After all, I already know He's here.
After taking some time to think, I realized that a kippah is a lot like a wedding ring.
Around the world, a simple ring has become a symbol and reminder of one's commitment and values in life. A married couple may feel very connected without it, but wearing that ring makes a big difference.
There are four key aspects that a wedding ring represents:
1. Commitment: Wearing a wedding ring signifies the commitment that “through happiness and health, pain and joy, struggles and celebration, I will work hard to do whatever it takes to provide for your needs and make you happy, ‘til death do us part. I am committed to you, forever!”
2. Trust: By wearing the ring, a spouse makes the statement that "I am trustworthy, and I trust you! Your faith in me is always on my mind, and this ring will be a constant reminder to overcome any temptation that comes my way. I am loyal to you, forever!”
3. Love: A wedding ring expresses the emotion that one has for a spouse. “I love you more than anything else. You complete me. You are with me everywhere I go, and are a part of all that I do. You are my heart, my soul, my everything!”
4. Pride: Wearing a wedding ring in the open announces: “I am so proud to be married! Nothing makes me smile more than knowing I am connected to you. Just thinking about you fills me with pride and makes me want to announce it to the world.”
All four ideas apply to wearing a kippah.
It’s amazing how a simple piece of cloth has become a known symbol and reminder of one's commitment and values in life. Yes, we may feel very connected and know God is here, but wearing that small, simple skullcap makes a big difference. It represents making a commitment that through happiness and health, pain and joy, struggles and celebration, I am devoted. I will work hard to do what is right 'til death do us part. I commit to my relationship with You, God, forever.
Wearing a Kippah makes a statement that “I am trustworthy, and have trust in You, God. I know that You have faith in me, and this kippah is a constant reminder to overcome temptation in difficult situations. I will remain loyal to You!”
A kippah expresses the emotion that one cherishes in their relationship with the Almighty. “I love You more than anything in the world! I know You are with me wherever I go, and I think of You at all times."
And wearing a kippah out in the open announces: “I am so proud to be connected with You. Nothing makes me smile more than knowing we are together. I’m not afraid of people knowing that I am a committed Jew. I won’t hide this passion away. Just thinking about You fills me with pride and self-confidence every day."
The world can pull us in many directions. It's so easy to get distracted. Choosing a significant mnemonic device, like a kippah on one's head, can help us remain committed, trustworthy, loving and filled with pride.