The skullcap or kippa has become an identifying feature of an observant Jew. The trained eye may also be able to notice subtle nuances between designs and styles which may well indicate a person’s social or religious affiliation.
Although not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, there are a number of sources in the Talmud that refer to head covering for men. These passages seem to indicate that it is an act of piety rather than a strict requirement. Over the last few hundred years (a relatively short time as far as Jewish thought is concerned!) the kippa has become more of an obligation than an optional act of piety.
The purpose of this head covering is to bring us to a sense of awareness that we are constantly in the presence of the Almighty and that there is Something greater ‘above’ us. Whenever we wear one, or even notice someone else wearing one, we are encouraged to focus on the reason behind it, a constant awareness of the Almighty.
- May 15th 2012