May 3, 2013 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #609212
While traveling recently, I davened at a big-city Chabad house with a number of young Orthodox singles in attendence (maybe there was a university nearby). I thought it was interesting that most of the men there seemed to wear fairly large black knitted kippas.
I’ve heard of people referring to a black knitted kippa as the most “apolitical” kippa to wear, maybe because it suggests you’re not either totally modern (who tend to wear small and colored leather or knitted kippas) or totally charedi (who tend to wear larger black velvet or fabric kippas). That is, they may think of it as a statement that they are “just a plain Orthodox Jew without adjectives,” or something like that.
What do you think when you see someone wearing a black knitted kippa? Do you see them fairly often?
I suspect someone will say I shouldn’t care because this is all about “labeling” and we should forget about superficial differences. I kind of agree — but I think to some people that’s kind of the point of black knitted kippas. So I thought I’d see what people think. Thanks in advance!May 3, 2013 4:19 pm at 4:19 pm #951020
If it’s apolitical, then straw men won’t wear it.May 3, 2013 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #951021
theres a young lubavitcher guy that sometimes davens in our shul (when he is visiting his parents) who wears a large black knitted kipa. [his father and brothers wear velvet.] its the only time i ever saw someone wear such a thing.
usually i will assume someone wearing a knitted kipa is mo. i dont see why between velvet or knitted one would be more apolitical or neutral than the other. id assume velvet is the default. were knitted even common 100 years ago?May 3, 2013 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #951022
I don’t think anything about people based on what kind of kippah they wear.
My uncle happens to wear a black knitted kippah. He also wears a black hat when davening, and gives a daf yomi shiur every day. He’s finished Shas 3 times through Daf Yomi, and reviews it regularly. I’d say he’s a good Jew, and leave it at that.May 3, 2013 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #951023
I don’t think of velvet as neutral — doesn’t it signify either charedi or at least “frum but not yeshivish” (to the right of MO)? Would a MO or “centrist orthodox” Jew who wears velvet be seen as a wannabe charedi, showing off his supposedly higher level of frumkeit? I know of someone who stopped wearing a velvet kippa for more or less that reason.
Knitted kippas do seem to be pretty recent, and I’d definitely consider a colored or small kippa sruga to be indicative of MO, but a larger black knitted kippa seems a bit more ambiguous.
From old photographs I’ve seen, I’d guess that plain cloth (neither velvet nor knitted) may have been the most common type of kippa before recent times. But maybe velvet’s been common for a long time, I don’t know.
Interestingly, although black kippas are standard among charedim, a fair number of Chabadniks (though still a small minority) wear dark brown, dark red or navy blue velvet kippas.May 3, 2013 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #951024
Thanks for the example, DaMoshe. I agree — that’s a good attitude!May 3, 2013 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #951025
whats the difference between a kipa sruga and knitted?May 3, 2013 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #951026
No difference — it’s just Hebrew for knitted. Sorry to be confusing.May 3, 2013 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #951027
The discussion on this thread, at a web site supposedly read by Torah-observant Jews, shows very little influence of Torah. The answer to the question – what is the significance of this or that kipa – should be answered by reference to the texts of the Torah, Talmud, and the written record of the gedolim.
Instead, most of the responses posted so far are anecdotal or bad, unscientific “surveys” of observed behavior.
Can anyone give a Torahic answer to the question posed?May 3, 2013 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm #951028
i think middle aged or older OOT baal habatim wear this type because to them it looks the most :normal: to the outside world. It sits neatly on your head and blends in much better. its not conspicuous. it doesnt make a “chareidi” statement either. I think OOT , at least where im from, its what a regular good Jew wears. not yeshivish, not lubavitch, not YU, just regular baal habus..May 3, 2013 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm #951029
among frum people who are neither mo nor yeshivish/chareidi, from what ive seen id say most by far wear velvet.May 3, 2013 5:35 pm at 5:35 pm #951030
I applaud the intellectual bent of this topic.
Perhaps you can start some other similarly stimulating thread. Maybe it can be woven into a colorful twisted shape that is meant to be higly politically charged.May 3, 2013 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #951031
“The answer to the question – what is the significance of this or that kipa – should be answered by reference to the texts of the Torah, Talmud, and the written record of the gedolim.”
Sorry, I don’t have much to offer in this regard. The Torah doesn’t mention the requirement of a headcovering, and I think the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch say little or nothing about specifics. But I know that according to some opinions, a kippa should be able to be seen from all angles to qualify as a headcovering. This supports a larger kippa (or a small one worn on top of the head — which looks weird to me, but whatever). At least one opinion says that a headcovering should cover most of the head, but this doesn’t appear to be generally accepted. The fabric used has no halachic significance I’m aware of (as long as it’s not shatnez!), and I’ve never heard it discussed as in terms of a binding minhag.May 3, 2013 6:02 pm at 6:02 pm #951032
At a shtieble in Marine Park last week, I saw a guy in a black hat and knitted black kippah under his hat.May 3, 2013 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #951033
Can anyone give a Torahic answer to the question posed?
The color and material of a yarmulka usually fall in the category of d’var r’shus.May 3, 2013 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #951034
My own rabbi’s favorite headcovering is a black fedora over a white and blue kippa sruga. 🙂May 3, 2013 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #951035
What about black knitted srugi under parents’ auspicies?May 3, 2013 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #951036
More important than precisely what is ON the head, is what is inside of it. Jewish men are supposed to cover their heads. The Yarmulke (Yirah Malka), signifies that they are aware at all times of Who is Above them. Does it REALLY, REALLY matter if the kippah is made of velvet, suede, or yarn, as long as it is being worn consistently and with the right kavanah? I think too many people are hung up on what type of kippah is being worn, versus what type of mensch is wearing it.May 3, 2013 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #951037
sorry to break it to you but the kippah (clothes) does not make the man. the heart and soul does. so knit or leather etc. its the person that counts, not the gft wrappingMay 3, 2013 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #951038
I don’t think knitted kippot exist. Knitting usually uses heavy yarn and two needles.
There are crochet kippot. Made with a fine yarn (DMC) and one needle.
You may view it as hair splitting but so is an techum around a square town vs a round town.May 3, 2013 9:05 pm at 9:05 pm #951039
I think too many people are hung up on what type of kippah is being worn, versus what type of mensch is wearing it.
Do you really think there are so many people who think that way? I don’t know anyone like that, do you?May 3, 2013 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm #951040
dullradiance- if you’re gonna ‘knit’pick :), knitting uses 2 needles but either crochet or knitting can use both fine or thick yarn. So yeah, most kippot are crochet, cuz its easy to crochet round, but they can be knit too
i’ve seen a number of men wearing the black knitted ones. It does seem to be between typical kippa sruga and velvet.May 3, 2013 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #951041
DY: Sadly, there are far, far too many people who think just like that.
I remember once attending a Shiur at a local Shul. The Shiur was given by one of the Balabatim. There happened to have been some representatives of the Agudah visiting this Shul (I don’t remember precisely why; I think they were visiting every Shul that has a Daf Yomi or something to be Mechazek them before the Siyum or something like that) asked the person if he wanted them to give the Shiur instead. He said no thank you and went on to present a brilliant bit of Lomdus that was exciting and still understandable for the Baalei Batim. One of the representatives when up to him afterwards and said he’s the first Srugi he’s ever met that’s also a Talmid Chacham.
Or, to quote the Marvelous Middos Machine: “There’s that boy with the funny-looking knitted Yarmulke… Why would he need a Gemara?”May 3, 2013 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #951042
Sam2, if that Agudah representative was guilty of thinking the yarmulka is more important than what’s underneath, he wouldn’t have cared what kind of shiur the fellow gave. Your story actually illustrates my point.
The point you may wish to make is about prejudices and assumptions based on externals, but I don’t know people who actually think these externals are more important.May 3, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm #951043
I agree with Sam2. Sadly I’ve seen too many guys with a kipa sruga who expressed contempt at those wearing large velvet yarmulkas.May 3, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm #951044
DY: That is a nice Chilluk to make and it’s true for the vast majority of people (though I have heard otherwise normal and knowledgeable people throw the words “Srugi” or “Black Hatter” around as intended insults). But the prejudice is still there and it is definitely something that should be fought. It’s idiotic to judge a person based on externals like what type of Kippah is worn. But almost everyone does it. They don’t think it’s more important than what’s underneath the Kippah per se. But far too many times they’re just not interested in seeing what’s underneath after they see the Kippah that they don’t like.May 3, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #951045
DY: That is a nice Chilluk to make and it’s true for the vast majority of people (though I have heard otherwise normal and knowledgeable people throw the words “Srugi” or “Black Hatter” around as intended insults).
Again, those insults are based on what’s perceived to be inside, not really on the headgear (as you agree).
It’s idiotic to judge a person based on externals like what type of Kippah is worn.
That depends for what. There’s no question that at times we all prejudge. Sometimes it’s useful, and, probably more often,
harmful.May 6, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm #951046
The Arrival of Mashiach
To All of ‘Us’ From One of ‘Them’
‘Twas the night of the geulah,
and in every single shteibel,
sounds of Torah could be heard
coming from every kind of Yeidel.
This one in English,
some in Hebrew, some in Yiddish,
some saying pshat,
and some saying a chiddush.
And up in shamayim
The Aibishter decreed,
“The time has now come
for My children to be freed.
Rouse the Mashiach
from his Heavenly th,
have him get his chariot
and head down to Earth.”
The Mashiach got dressed,
and with a heart full of glee
went down to the Earth, and entered
the first shteibel he did see.
“I’m the Mashiach,
Hashem has heard your plea,
our geulah has come,
it is time to go free!”
They all looked up
from their learning,
this was quite a surprise.
And they looked at him carefully
with piercing sharp eyes.
He’s not the Mashiach!”
said one with a grin.
“Just look at his hat,
at the pinches and brim!”
“That’s right!” cried another
with a grimace and a frown,
“Whoever heard of Mashiach
with a brim that is down?!”
“Well,” thought Mashiach,
“If that is the rule,
I’ll turn my brim up
before I got to the next shul!”
So he walked on right over
to the next shul in town,
confident to be accepted
since his brim was no longer down.
“I’m the Mashiach!” he cried
as he began to enter.
But the Jews there wanted to know first,
if he was left, right or center.
“Your clothes are so black!:
they cried out in a fright.
“You can’t be Mashiach–
you’re much too far right!
If you want to be Mashiach,
you must be properly outfitted.”
So they replaced his black hat
with a kipa that was knitted.
Wearing his new kipa,
Mashiach went out and he said,
“No difference to me
what I wear on my head.”
So he went to the next shul,
for his mission was dear.
But he was getting a bit frustrated
with the Yidden down here.
“I’m the Mashiach!” he cried,
and they all stopped to stare.
And a completed eerie stillness
filled up the air.
“You’re the Mashiach?!”
Just imagine that.
Whoever heard of Mashiach
without a black hat?!”
But I do have a hat!”
the Mashiach then said.
So he pulled it right out
and plunked it down on his head.
Then the shul started laughing,
and one said, “Where’s your kop?
You can’t have Mashiach
wit a brim that is up!
IF you want to be Mashiach
and be accepted in this town,
put some pinches in your hat,
and turn that brim down!”
Mashiach walked out and said,
“I guess my time hasn’t really come,
I’ll just have to return
to where I came from.”
So he went to his chariot,
but as he began to enter,
all sorts of Jews appeared
from the left, right, and center.
“Please wait, do not leave,
it’s all their fault!” they said.
And they pointed to each other,
and to what was on each other’s head.
Mashiach just looked sad,
and said, “YOU don’t understand.”
And then started up his chariot
to get out of this land.
“Yes, it’s very wonderful,
that all of you learn Torah.
But you seem to have forgotten,
a crucial part of our mesorah.”
“What does he mean?
What’s he talking about?”
And they all looked bewildered,
and all began to shout.
Mashiach looked back and answered,
“The first place to start,
is to shut up your mouths,
and open up your heart.
To each of you, certain Yidden
seem too frum or too frei,
but all Yidden are beloved,
in the Aisbishter’s eye.”
And on his way up he shouted,
“IF you want me to come,
try working a little harder
on some ahavas chinam.”
CYZF Toronto 1992. This may be freely reproduced an distributed under
the following conditions:
1) That it is reproduced exactly as it appears here, including the heading,
all 30 stanzas, and this note;
2) it is distributed free of charge;
3) it is not used by any organization for promotional purposes. Any
breach of these conditions shall constitute gezel and a breach of
copyright.May 6, 2013 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #951047
DY, absolutely, I do, and sadly so. Someone who wears a crocheted kippah is viewed as somehow religiously “inferior” to the suede or velvet-kippah wearers, and you KNOW that is true. It stinks, but it is true.May 6, 2013 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm #951048
Avi K, I have seen this poem before, and boy, what a terrific eye-opener it is!May 6, 2013 2:34 pm at 2:34 pm #951049
I agree with Sam2. Sadly I’ve seen too many guys with a kipa sruga who expressed contempt at those wearing large velvet yarmulkas. “
Clearly, that too, is absolutely wrong.May 6, 2013 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #951050
Someone who wears a crocheted kippah is viewed as somehow religiously “inferior” to the suede or velvet-kippah wearers, and you KNOW that is true.
To repeat what I told Sam, that’s stereotyping, not thinking the kippah is more important than what’s underneath it.May 6, 2013 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #951051
“Someone who wears a crocheted kippah is viewed as somehow religiously ‘inferior’ to the suede or velvet-kippah wearers, and you KNOW that is true.”
I thought suede was basically confined to the MO. I wouldn’t think someone with a black knitted kippa would be seen as less frum than someone with a black suede kippa. But maybe I’m wrong?May 6, 2013 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm #951052
I wish that you were correct DY, because what you state is how it ideally SHOULD be. But in practical terms, it absolutely is NOT, unfortunately. Ask yourself how many Yeshivish families would agree to a shidduch with a boy who wears a crocheted kippah (even if he also wore a hat, and if he DIDN’T wear a hat, then it is not even in the ball park).
I used to be very idealistic and imagine the world the way I wanted to see it be. But sadly, there is so much emphasis placed on levush (and the kippah serugah is part of that levush definition), that many people do NOT act ideally with each other in a mutually respectful way. I sincerely wish that it WERE as you believe it to be.May 6, 2013 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #951053
Kayla Reina MiriamMember
Sure- it’s a passing thought that I have, but that’s all that it is- passing. I don’t dwell on it. I don’t because there are so many more important things to think about and actions to do. We must not waste time thinking about things like this and discussing them. We must prepare the world for the coming of Moshiach by increasing our study in Torah, immersion in Tefillah, and acts of kindness- and doing our best to influence others- frum or not and especially those who are not frum, who are very little prepared- to do the same. Every moment (especially) at this point in time is precious and must be used to its utmost potential. If you shift your frame of reference to the future (the next step), it will help you to stop dwelling on these sorts of real-yet-relatively-unimportant- things. Keep this in mind. Shavuo tov.May 6, 2013 8:31 pm at 8:31 pm #951054
Years ago, there was an article in JO about the difficulty Americans faced in aliya. They highlighted the cultural markers of Americans and American Jews as forgiving, non-confrontational, and NON-JUDGEMENTALMay 6, 2013 8:57 pm at 8:57 pm #951055
Ask yourself how many Yeshivish families would agree to a shidduch with a boy who wears a crocheted kippah (even if he also wore a hat, and if he DIDN’T wear a hat, then it is not even in the ball park).
You are still mixing the two things up.
Respect ? shidduch compatibilty.
You used an example where I happen to think prejudging comes in handy. If you somehow think yeshivish are terrible people for automatically turning down a shidduch with someone who wears a kippah srugah, just realize that it works both ways. A MO family wouldn’t want to consider someone with a large black velvet yarmulka and long peyos either.
Even were you to make the assumption that someone with a kippah srugah would have the exact same hashkofos and cultural bent, and therefore a good shidduch prospect, you could only blame them for prejudging, but not for considering the external as more important than the internal.May 6, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm #951056
Neverthelessd, the prejudging DOES occur, and is more often coming from the side that does not believe in wearing a “Srug” kippah. Wishing it were different does not make it so. It’s good, though, that you see people in a positive light. I hope you are never disappointed.May 7, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am #951057
I’ve lived both lives and I strongly believe that the garbage is hurled equally from/to both sides. Nasty and intolerant and closed minded. We have posters who come here telling off the “black hatters” for their closed minded attitudes, while adding that they expected no less from them. And they don’t even hear their own words.
I personally think a major difference is that people view the “black hatters” as self proclaimed holier people so their infarctions are considered hypocrisy in addition to bad middos.May 7, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am #951058
“I personally think a major difference is that people view the “black hatters” as self proclaimed holier people so their infarctions are considered hypocrisy in addition to bad middos.”
Hum – I thought that the “non black hatters” assert that they are no less holy. Who is being hypocritical? And who is prejudging someones intentions?
At a minimum, it is a very poor excuse, to the point that it has no legs to stand on.
Ther are those who wear specific yarmulkas/kippot to proclaim a political affiliation or even hashkafic affiliation. Those who don the yalmulka/kippot with such intentions are fair game as far as being identified by that label that they have chosen to display.May 7, 2013 3:03 am at 3:03 am #951059
Dr Uri BakayMember
Don’t forget that the pope wears a white yarmulke, so he must be really frumMay 7, 2013 3:24 am at 3:24 am #951060
Well, according to the logic of some posters, if he would wear a black one, he would be considered choshuv by those who don’t believe in wearing kippot srugot.May 7, 2013 3:28 am at 3:28 am #951061
nishtdayngesheft – “Hum – I thought that the “non black hatters” assert that they are no less holy. Who is being hypocritical? And who is prejudging someones intentions?”
right. That’s what I just said. The mud slinging goes both ways.
At a minimum, it is a very poor excuse, to the point that it has no legs to stand on.
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