Yarmulke known in Israel as a Kippah

Symbol of Jewish piety has been the wearing of the Head-Cap known as the Kippah or Yarmulke. The Orthodox Jewish men wear it as a sign of their reverence before God. Many Jews outside of Israel wear it to identify with Israel and the Jewish people. It is also a custom among many Messianic Jews.

Some “Christians” have raised objections to the wearing of the Kippah on the basis of Scripture. Causing confusion to many Messianic Jews, for they were told they could keep their Jewish identity when accepting the Messiah Yeshua. That they don’t become any less Jewish but in fact, become better Jews by accepting their Messiah. With Scripture being our ultimate authority, we should look deeper into what it actually says on this matter.

I Corinthians 11:4-15 is the Scripture in question, in this Scripture Paul is making an argument for the distinction between the sexes, based upon the creation order. He speaks of hair length as a creation order. Then goes on to speak of head covering as another reflection of this order. The Kippah was not a fashion at the time Paul wrote this passage, but we still need to see if the passage has relevance to this issue.

V:4-15 Every man praying or “prophesying” having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every women that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head. : for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the women be not covered ,let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the women is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him. But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

As we read this Scripture the first thing we find is that all legalistic religions have inconsistencies. These same people who say this Scripture says a man cannot wear a Kippah, never say that a women must cover her head. In fact, some go a step further and the women who have long hear put it up in a bun on the top of their heads.

To understand this or any other Scripture we must first understand its cultural context as well as the original historical setting. (This is why it is so important to understand the Jewishness of Yeshua to understand His Words) This scripture of I Corinthians 11: 4-15 covers a lot of subjects, having to do with the culture and history relating to male and female distinctions, including style of dress and grooming. Possibly the first question we should be asking is what Paul meant by the veil and headcovering and its relationship to the length of hair. There is a lot of evidence in this Scripture that Paul is not talking about a Kippah or Yarmulke. But is is very clear that he is speaking about a particular kind of veil, a large veil that would cover all of a women’s “long” hair. The woman’s hair was considered her glory, considered to be beautiful and attractive while covering her head. It was not allowed to hang loose, that was indicative of a loose woman. The Tenach (Old Testament) is clear on this point. Isaiah 3:17, Numbers 5:18. The Jewish law is so strong on this that if a women walked bear headed after marriage her husband could divorce her on that one point.

So after reading and examining the evidence of this Scripture we can but come to one conclusion; Paul is not talking about a Kippah in fact, he had never seen one. What we must consider above all else is what the Biblical teacher was trying to teach, and not apply our own interpretation to it. The Kippah or Yarmulke is permitted, and I can find neither a reason to wear one or a reason not to wear one in the Scripture. The head cover of Paul’s day had absolutely no relationship to today’s Kippah.

Shalom, Jerry Golden

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