Why Do Religious Male Jews Cover Their Heads?

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 “yarmulkah” (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 high priest. 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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  1. Mandla

    Thank you, Dr Eli…! You are such a blessing to the body of Christ! Shalom!

  2. Adalberto Batista da Silva

    Admiro muito a cultura hebraica e a luta do povo Judeu!

    1. Eric de Jesús Rodríguez Mendoza


      Shalom Adalberto!

  3. pablo

    Its so good!

  4. sonia suely

    I try hard to keep both, doctor. But thank you for the counsel.

  5. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    I think we should differentiate between matters of evangelism and covenantal fidelity.

  6. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Thank you so much for your kindness.

    1. sonia suely

      Never mind, years of training, eventhough its not my speciallity.

  7. sonia suely

    Congratulations Dr. Eli! You are breaking a tough paradigm and releasing many people of such heavy deed. Jesus blesses you and your studies even more!

  8. yetilived

    I have questioned using culture to win unreached people. I see that the tassels in Numbers were to help the Israelites remember the commands.

  9. Zechariah Malual Kuol

    I would like to be in your prayerful team always

  10. Gail Smit

    Thanks Dr Eli. This makes perfect sense.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thanks, Gail! I take it you receiving the updates again :-). Eli