|On page 121 of the book,
"The Jewish Book Of Why", by Alfred J. Kolatch
"Why are yarmulkes worn?"
A yarmulke, called a kipa in Hebrew, is a skullcap worn by
Jews. Some wear one at all times, others only during prayer
and at mealtime.
The earliest Jewish reference to a headcovering can be found
in Exodus 28:4, where it is called a mitznefet. It was part of
the wardrobe of the High Priest. In other biblical reference,
the covering of the head and face is regarded as a sign of
mourning (II Samuel 15:30). The Talmud, however,
associates the wearing of a headgear more with the concept of
reverence (to God) and respect (for men of stature).
(He's left the reality of Torah, and entered the "reasoning" of
man's tradition, adding to the Torah).
The word yarmulke is Yiddish, but of uncertain meaning.
One view is that the word is derived from the headcovering
called armucella, worn by medieval clergy.
A more probable explanation is that the word yarmulke is
related to the French arme (akin to the Latin arma), a type of
round medieval helmet with a movable visor. (Ah, "more
probable" because the "movable visor" similarity on traditional
Jewish yarmulkes makes an obvious connection!).
Another Yiddish word for yarmulke is koppel (kappel), a form
of the Latin capitalis, meaning "of the head".
The more traditional view is that the word yarmulke is a
distorted form of the Hebrew words yaray may'Elohim, "in
fear (awe) of God."
This idea is based, for the most part, on a statement made by
a fifth-century Babylonian talmudic scholar, Huna ben Joshua,
who said, "I never walked four cubits with uncovered head
because God dwells over my head" (Kiddushin 31a).
The custom of covering the head received wide acceptance,
but not by all. Historian Israel Abrahams points out that in
the thirteenth century "boys in Germany and adults in France
were called to the Torah in the synagogue bareheaded."
In the Middle Ages, French and Spanish rabbinical authorities
regarded the practice of covering the head during prayer and
when studying Torah to be no more than mere custom.
Some rabbis were known to pray bareheaded.
Today, many believe that covering the head is an expression
of yirat Shama'yim ("fear of God" or "reverence for God").
Orthodoxy demands that the head be kept covered at all times,
while most Conservative Jews believe the head should be
covered during prayer. In most Reform congregations
covering the head during prayer is optional."
|according to greenspun.com
Your question has been answered by the noted Catholic
historian, Warren Carroll, as follows:
"The skullcap, traditionally worn by Jewish high priests, was
preserved by Christian priests of high rank (the Pope, cardinals,
and bishops) to signify the continuity of our religion with that of
the Jews of the Old Testament."
Response to why does Pope and Jews have the little hat on
I'm a bit surprised that you would ask "why is it not mandated
that practicing Catholics" also wear a skullcap, if the pope wears
Did you miss the answer, which was in the quotation from Dr.
"The skullcap, traditionally worn by Jewish high priests ..." --
i.e., not originally by all the Jewish faithful.
Thus, it is worn by Catholic "priests" of high rank today, but
not by all the Catholic faithful.
The Jewish Roots of Christianity is a profound and significant