Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's with the hat-echki? (Celebrity Guest post)

Big Guy here - hacking into Bridechka's computer to take over the blogging duties for the moment . . . Please to enjoy:

On Yarmulkes ...
Whether it be for social protest or simple divine reverence, Jews the world over wear skullcaps as part of their religious practice and/or everyday life. Now, I know what you're thinking . . . "Self," you think, "Skullcap! That sounds bad ass! How cool must they be?"



Well . . . perhaps only the Britons thought that way, since in most other languages, the name for the head covering is derived from its dome like appearance. In Hebrew, it is called a kippah (plural: kippot) which means "dome." In French they are referred to as calotte (meaning "dome"), in Italian, calotta (meaning "dome", sense a theme, yet?), and in Arabic, they are not referred to at all . . . no I keed! ... the kippah  is similar to the Muslim kufi or taqiyah.

However, it's the Yiddish term for skullcaps that gives insight into what they are and why Jews wear them. In Yiddish, a kippah is referred to as yarmulke, pronounced as if it were something completely different: ya-mick-ah . . . 'cause you know, we're a difficult and obstinate people. Though I don't know if its completely true, the peeps over at wikipedia claim that, perhaps, yarmulke is derived from the Aramaic term yarei malka, meaning "fear of the King," in reference of course, to the Bigger Guy (Biggest Guy, perhaps?).


In general, religious Jewish men (and women, in some modern Jewish communities) wear a yarmulke (or a "yam" as the cool kids call it) at all times as recognition of G-D's presence everywhere even in the blogosphere; however, the only time that a yam is mandated by Jewish law, is during prayer.

So you're now thinking, "I want Bridechka back . . . she talks about weddings and cool stuff. This Big Guy character, while very funny and very handsome, is too self indulgent and I don't know why he's talking about little hats?" Well, here's were it all comes together - it is a tradition at big Jewish life cycle events, from circumcision to bar or bat mitzvah to weddings, to order personalized yarmulkes to commemorate the event. Typically the kippot are inscribed with the names of the bride and groom, the date, and either a message or a Scriptural quote.

While it may not be your custom or even your religion, it is a sign of respect for bride and groom and their family to wear a kippah during the religious ceremony part of the Jewish wedding . . . luckily, this usually doesn't last long, as Jewish wedding ceremonies are pretty short (everyone breathe a sigh of relief!). Tomorrow, Bridechka will be back (I promise!) and will give you guys the details on our yams, what they look, like, where they are coming from, and what they are going to say ... I am here in purely academic position.


Well I think I've taught everyone a valuable lesson here . . . never let Bridechka pass the blogging duty off to anyone . . . ever again!

13 comments:

Broadway (Black &) Blueshirts said...

Big Guy,

I find your contributions to this wonderful site refreshing and inspiring, and I think you should contribute more often. I would like to pose a question, which I know you will be able to address given your infinite wisdom.

You mention that religious Jewish men wear a yam so as to recognize the presence of the almighty. However, I have seen religious Jewish men also wear baseball caps (Go, Yankees!), fedoras (at Diddy's annual Hasidic in the Hamptons Party), and cowboy hats (standard fare in Iowa). So, my question is whether they wear the hats as a substitute for a kippa, or in addition to it? If they wear the hats, fedoras, and cowboy hats as supplements to the kippa, why can they not simply wear the hats instead of the kippa? Doesn't it accomplish the same basic goal as a kippa; covering one's head in recognition of G-d's presence?

Thank you

Broadway (Black &) Blueshirts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Guy said...

Black & Blue -

In a word: "Yes!"

I believe that for some people it is a choice to wear a form of head covering no matter what the situation is. By the books, anything that covers ones head is technically a kippah, so i think sometimes it's based on the circumstances. For instance, I used to play basketball with a friend in college who wore a kippah all day, but on the court he wore a baseball cap (backwards, of course) so as not to get his religious gear all sweaty.

On the other hand, there are certainly sects of Judaism where a yarmulke is worn beneath a formal black hat. This is more of a custom, which I'm sure has a basis in something, but I'm not sure what.

That being said, no you may not wear a cowboy hat to Bridechka's and my wedding!

Julie said...

Nice to finally meet you Big Guy!

Marie said...

Great post!

Krista said...

Big Guy,

I enjoyed your post. I like learning, so the history and different linguistic terms for kippot (which I'd only ever heard called "yarmulke") really interests me!

Feel free to post more often! (Although we still love Bridechka!)

Krista

The Professional Bridesmaid said...

Big Guy...I quite enjoy your post...very witty and funny! Thanks for the kippa lesson!

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Mike said...

I find it interesting that in the Jewish religion if the Mother is Jewish then you are Jewish. The mother decides what religion you are. Even if the father is not Jewish.

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