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Jewish hat: the name and description

Yermolka, kipa or bale (Hebrew: כִּיפָּה bale, plural boom, Yiddish: יאַרמלקע yarmolke) Is a traditional Jewish men's headdress.
In the Dahl dictionary Yarmolka - "a light cap on the head, without a shell or any increase, especially of the kind that the Jews sewed it on."
In the Encyclopedia "Religion" bale - “the headdress of a pious Jew, symbolizing modesty, humility and reverence for the Almighty. It is a small round (knitted or sewn from fabric) hat that covers the crown "
It can be worn separately or under the top hat. Yarmolka is sometimes attached to the hair with a hairpin.

Traditional hats of Jewish men: photos and names

A special place in Jewish culture is occupied by traditional headdresses of Jews. After the star of David, they are probably one of the most recognizable symbols of Jewish identity. Some are worn only during worship, some are always worn, and some have different uses depending on context or worship.

One of the good reasons to constantly wear hats was adaptation to climatic conditions. Jewish hats have a wide variety of shapes, but at the same time, they bear the power and firmness of the traditions of the Jewish people.

The custom of wearing yermolka and its origins

In ancient times, a headdress was a sign of contact with God - the head was covered during service to the Almighty (during prayer, reciting blessings, studying the Torah, etc.). The Torah (Shemot 28) instructs the koens serving in the Temple to wear a hat. Some Jews wore a bale all the time - by this they wanted to show that all their actions were aimed at the Service. The meaning of this custom-rule is to show that a Jew is aware of the existence of the Most High and His wisdom, appreciating this even above his head, the most developed and important part of man.

Among Christians, a man respects God by taking off his headdress, while among Jews, by wearing it. During the day, especially when praying or reading the Torah, the head should be covered with a bale. At the same time, wearing a yarmulka is a custom, but not a law: nowhere in the Torah or Talmud are Jews required to necessarily cover their heads. Orthodox Jews always carry bales, conservatives in the synagogue and during meals. Reform Judaism considers the wearing of a bale optional. Non-religious Jews put on a bale when visiting the synagogue, during mourning for the dead and at the bar mitzvah (celebration of adulthood). Non-Jews also have the right to put on a yarmulka if they want, as a sign of respect for Jewish traditions, they often do so.

In Orthodox Judaism, women never put on bales, but married Jews cover their heads with a scarf or a wig (after marriage, only the husband can see the woman’s hair). Although, according to the tradition, the bale is exclusively a men's headdress, in some modern movements of Judaism women are not forbidden to wear bales.

For those who think that choosing a yarmulka is a simple matter, I suggest visiting the Kipot Levin store on Shabat Square or Kaftor Wafers on Mea Shearim Street in Jerusalem. The shelves of these stores are divided into dozens of small cells, in which yermolki are laid out in size, material, shape. Knitted, smooth black, silk black, velvet, small on a large head and large - on a small, spiky and flat, six-, four- and eight-wedge. A religious Jew sees his yarmulk from afar, goes straight to the shelf with the style worn in his community, and chooses the right size. A Hasid, for example, will never buy a velvet or embroidered yarmulke, not to mention a knitted one.

There are different types of yarmuloks, and by their type (color, size and material) one can easily determine not only the religiosity of a Jew, but also what kind of current and direction of Judaism a person wearing a yarmulk belongs to. Ashkenazi bales are usually made of four or six wedges of fabric of strict colors, usually a black top and a white lining. Sephardic people prefer smaller, colored, knitted or decorated with embroidery. Hasidim wear a bale under a hat or fur hat. White bales weiss yarmulke are, for example, representatives of some Hasidic yards who want to hint at belonging to the students of Kabbalah (mainly the Hasidim of Reb Arele (also called Toldes-Arn) and some of the Breslovsky and other Hasidim, residents of the Mea Shearim quarter). Sometimes such a bale has a pompon. Adherents of the Chabad movement wear a black six-fold bale. A black velvet yarmulka, trimmed with black or brown fox or sable tails, serves as the basis of the Hasidic ceremonial headdress, called shtrayml.

For most orthodoxy, hats covering the entire head are preferable to Yermolok. Hasidim put on fur hats during the holidays. Other, more liberal orthodoxes wear black yermolks. The course of "modern Orthodox" (followers of Rabbi Cook) prefers very small knitted yarmulkes. The expression “bale of a friend” (“knitted bale”) means a community of modern Orthodox, if someone is said to be: “He is a bale of a friend,” it means that he is a modern Orthodox.


A religious Jewish Jew is distinguished from the crowd by a characteristic Jewish hat. It’s easy to remember what it is called, because this is a very simple word - “pile”. However, she has another name. And you probably thought to yourself when you saw a man with a Jewish cap on his head: “What's the name?” You can see a photo of such a piece below. And another name inherent in this element of the Jewish toilet is yermolka.

Traditional Jewish Men's Headdress

In general, Jews in European countries did not wear any clothing that was different from what their Christian neighbors wore. The only exception to this was that they wore various Jewish hats. Hasidic men spend several hundred dollars on their felt hats of the old European line.

Traditional jewish hat

Yarmolka - a men's headdress, traditional for the Jewish people - a small light cap that covers the top of the head, fits snugly to the head, round in shape without margins and around. It can be made of fabric or knitted of thread.

Symbolizes modesty, piety, humility and devotion to God.

Purpose and tradition of wearing

Kipa translated from Hebrew means “hemisphere”, “dome”. The people have another name - yermolka. According to scientists, the word came from the expression "yere Malka", which means "fearing God." According to the second theory, the name of the headdress has a common root with the Turkic "Yamurluk", which translates as "raincoat with a hood." Kipa is not just a part of the national wardrobe. This is an object that has a spiritual meaning: worship before God, the assessment of his wisdom is higher than the entire earthly world.

It is believed that for the first time the head of a Jew was covered on the eve of the appearance of the Temple of Solomon, which served as a preventive measure of sunstroke. However, here it is assumed that in this way a person tried to lower his face and hide it from the wrath of the Almighty. Another interpretation of the reasons for the appearance of the Jewish bale is the ban on the Muslim caliph Omar wearing turbans for people. They were ordered to cover their heads with something else. Over the course of many centuries of history, Jews have been banned several times from wearing yermolks, including in tsarist Russia. Then their characteristic hats were described hats.

Weak sex wearing a yarmulke was always forbidden. A female headdress is a turban, hats and other varieties are also possible.

Representatives of the Catholic clergy wear a similar headdress after shaving tonsures and taking dignity. In this case, it is called pyleolus. The cap worn on the heads of academics is called academic. Svans (princedoms of Svaneti) also turn to her. It should be noted that Orthodox Jews always wear such a hat, conservative - only for a meal in the synagogue, and reformist - during mourning, on holidays and so on.

They put on a hat and non-Jews as a sign of respect for traditions.

Traveler Maniac

Immediately make a reservation that we will talk about religious Jews. They are Danish (“dates” - religion), they are also called orthodox, in general Jews who observe kashrut, worship the Talmud and live on the Torah. I’ll write about them separately, now I want to say about their appearance. Photos not mine, found on the Internet to illustrate the story.

I wrote about white cover, such as a poncho, it became interesting what it is called. I began to dig the Internet. As a result, I found a lot of interesting things. Let's start with hats.

So many Jews, even those who dress in normal, modern clothes, wear bale. She is also called yarmulke. For me, for example, it's just a hat, but in fact they differ in color, material and tailoring for a reason. Religious Jews choose the bale according to the style worn in their community.

On top of the yarmolka, a Jew almost always puts on a hat. In rare cases, it may be a cap called casket, a casket or dasha. But basically it is a black hat. There are 34 basic types of this headgear, each of which testifies to the origin, community, and even social status of the owner!

Litvak (Lithuanian Jew) or Lubavitcher Hasid wear a hat kneych with a longitudinal crease.

Litvak, a high-ranking member of the community, wears a chic and expensive hat hamburghaving no creases. She is also called maftyr gitl. Many Hasidim wear the simplest of hats on weekdays - droplet, similar to kneich, but without creases of tulle and bends of fields.

And kneich, and kapelush, and most of the hamburgs are made of solid felt. Other types of hats are made of velor, rather like velvet or even short-haired black fur, which is not inferior in hardness to ten-millimeter plywood. for instance Samet, one of the most expensive and luxurious styles. The owner of the Samet is almost certainly a Hungarian Hasid.

There is also push - The traditional hat of the hereditary Jews of Yerushalmi. People call it flicker teller (flying saucer) or super. She has wide fields, and the height of the body is only 10 cm.

But all this cannot be compared to a headdress called shtrayml! This is the most natural fur hat! And there are also many types of them. Wide and low, with a regular cylindrical shape, it is called a “straight”, low and wide non-strict forms, shaggy-shaggy are called “chernobl”, and a tall black fur cylindrical hat is called “spodik”. Hungarian, Galician and Romanian Hasidim wear a simple strum, Ukrainian fluffy Chernobl, and Polish Hasidim as a spodik. This is real fur! In the heat, yeah. Recently, even Pamela Anderson came to Israel in the hope of persuading the Knesset (Israeli parliament) to ban the sale of natural furs, and the orthodox to refuse to wear these shtrayml :)

Let us dwell on this. In the next part, we will try to understand the clothes of Orthodox Jews. Do not switch :)


This is a very small cap, most often knitted or sewn from several pieces of fabric, which covers the crown. She does not have a functional purpose. Its whole meaning is rooted in religious tradition. Therefore, they often wear a yarmulk even when they put on another headdress, for example, a hat. Of course, such hats can sometimes fly off, for example, under a gust of wind. To avoid such an annoying situation, some Jews attach it to their hair with a special hair clip.


Connoisseurs of linguistics will probably note the consonance of the word "yarmulka", as the headdress is called in the languages ​​of different nations. Most likely, it came from the Turkic jagmurluk, which means "raincoat".

A little later it was borrowed by the Slavs. In Old Russian there is a word emurluk of the same meaning. In Polish, jarmułka means "hat."

Jews give two options for the origin of the name Yermolka. The phrase yare malka - in the translation "awe of the King", by the King means God. Or yere me-eloka, literally from Hebrew - "afraid of God."

Reference! “Kipa” is translated as “dome” or “protection”. In French and Italian, there are also words with a similar meaning and close sound - calotte (French), calotta (Italian).

In Jewish clothing stores on the shelves there is a large assortment of yermolks, which differ:

  • in size
  • in color not only the top, but also the lining,
  • according to the material - velvet, silk,
  • in style - four-, six- and eight-wedge,
  • in shape - peaked and flat,
  • on the finish - smooth, embroidered, knitted, trimmed with fur or with a brush, pompon on the crown.

The diversity of species is due to the traditions of the community to which the owner of the bale belongs. So truly the brother-in-law sees the brother-in-law - from the Jews in the headdress - from afar.

Why bales are different

Jewish hats are classified not only by performance, but also by community rules. Yermolka can tell a lot about her master, for example, about which religion he belongs to. Today you can meet the national headdress of the Jews - a bale - of various types and styles, with a diverse cut and different colors.

The different appearance of hats can be explained by the peculiar history of the people. The long absence of a single state has led to the creation of rules for each community, including those affecting men's headgear. Kipa has become the hallmark of various religious groups and movements within Judaism. For example, American neoorthodoxes chose a black leather model for themselves, and the Zionists chose a friend (a hat from a knitted fabric). A large white yarmulka, supplemented with a brush, is an accessory of the Bratslav Hasidim. Kipa of black velvet is typical for representatives of the closed community of Haredim. Sruga - knitted hat of Zionists Black Velvet Bale of Haredim Community Kipa with a tassel - belonging to Bratslav Hasidim Black Leather Bale of American Neo-Orthodox

Do they wear it nowadays?

Jewish hats can be worn not only by men, but also by women. However, in this case, the person is not considered an Orthodox Jew. This refers to a reformist or conservative trend. As Jews increasingly integrated into the modern world, practices such as wearing a bale regularly become taboo.

Even when the desire to preserve Jewish identity remains important, Jews do not want to do anything to draw attention to themselves. For some, wearing a crochet can mean the exact opposite - creating a barrier between man and God.

The headgear of Jewish men does not end there. On top of the pile put on a casket, or dashka. More often for this purpose they put on a black hat. In total, there are about 34 main types of this headgear. Hasidim wear black hats on weekdays, like almost all Heredim today. Before the First World War, Jews wore a cap.

Kolpik is a type of headgear worn in the families of many Hasidic Rebbe. It is made of brown fur, unlike the spodik worn by the Polish Hasidic dynasties, which are made of black fur.

There is also a streymel - a fur hat worn by married ultra-orthodox Jews, especially members of Hasidic groups, on Saturday and Jewish holidays.Sidik - such a fur hat is different in that it is tall, thin and cylindrical.

As worn before and worn in our time

If Christian Christians, entering the temple, take off their hats, showing this reverence for God, then the Jews, on the contrary, wear a bale as a sign of special reverence for the Most High.

It is carried in the temple, for prayer and the study of the Torah (Jewish religious law, the Pentateuch of Moses), during meals, as a sign of mourning for the dead, in honor of the festival of coming of age (bar mitzvah). The orthodox do not take off a pile.

The yarmolka is put on as an independent headdress, and left under another national headdress - a hat or a fur hat.

Such a small cap is held on the head with the help of a special hairpin-clothespin.

Orthodox Jews prefer to wear hats; modern liberal Orthodox choose small knitted bales.

Reference! The little round hat is loved not only by Jews. In Russia, aristocrats allowed themselves to go in a yarmulke. Along with a dressing gown and slafrook (a loose jacket made of soft fabric), she was considered the home clothing of noble gentlemen.

The pope at official events also wears a white headdress that looks like a bale. This is the traditional hat of Catholic priests, which they put on immediately after taking the dignity. Cardinal Richelieu had the right to wear a red cap, black color means belonging to the abbey.

Yarmolka - a small round hat is present, as an attribute of an advanced degree, in portraits of famous academicians. Science professors of the old guard wear it to this day.

And when a character from sunny Georgia appears in the Soviet film, he flaunts in a cap-airport, if he is a city resident. The shepherds in the mountain villages appeared on the screen in a small gray felt hat with a braid trim that closely resembles a yarmulke ...

About wearing a bale

Above, we found out the name of the Jewish hat on the head of a believing Jew. Now let us dwell in more detail on the meaning of this custom. So, in ancient times, the covering of the head was a symbol of the worship of man before God. So, if nowadays it is customary to take off a hat as a sign of respect, then in ancient Palestine, on the contrary, they covered their heads. The same tradition has been preserved in Judaism as a religious system. But if earlier a prayer cover was used mainly for covering the head, today today this very Jewish hat has come to the fore. What is called such a veil, the same is not a secret - talit. In general, they are still used today, but mainly by worshipers - rabbis, Khazans, and so on.

The Bible is supposed to be worn by the Bible only to the servants of the Jerusalem Temple, which for nearly two thousand years has not existed. However, the custom of covering his head with a pile and does not have the status of law. This is a pious custom. Orthodox Jews wear it all the time. Adherents of the conservative wing put on a yarmulka only during prayer and food. Adherents of Jewish reformist associations believe that wearing a bale is a personal choice, but, in principle, optional. It is interesting that both non-believers and unbelievers can put on a yarmulke - firstly, when they enter the synagogue (sometimes it is even charged), and secondly, at any time by personal desire, in order to express respect or solidarity with the Jewish community and religion (depending on the context of the situation).

It should be noted that yarmolka is a men's headdress. In some currents of Judaism, however, women are also allowed a characteristic Jewish hat. What this cap is called in this case, tradition does not report. Most likely, exactly the same.

Modern variety of yermolok

Today's Jews wear a variety of yermolks. They vary in shape, material, cut, finish and size. Main models:

  1. Velvet Six-Link. The main material is velvet, lining is polyester. Often there is a satin border around the edge.
  2. Velvet four-blade. Similar to the previous one, but has 4 wedges. It is made of suede.
  3. Colored velvet. It is mainly made for children.
  4. Breslovskaya. Knitted from thick white yarn with a Breslov mantra. Has blue or black embroidery.
  5. Chabad-Lubavitch Meshikhit. It is sewn of black tyrelin fabric, decorated with a messianic slogan.
  6. Terylene. It looks like a velvet, but light and comfortable. It is found among adherents of the Chabad-Lubavitch movements, as well as Gur Hasidim.
  7. Bukhara yarmolka. Significantly larger in size, has a bright embroidery.
  8. Satin. It is characteristic of conservative and reformist Jews.

The choice of yermolka is not a matter of personal taste preferences of a Jew. It depends on his confessional and ethnicity, as well as the degree of religiosity.

Color options

There is a division of Yermoloks into everyday and festive, especially for Orthodox and liberal Jews. Chic options are made of white satin, decorated with a star of David or made of beige satin. They can be embroidered with gold or silver threads, be decorated with multi-colored stripes knitted on a typewriter. Bright colored bales are worn on religious holidays, as well as, for example, on adulthood.

A distinctive feature of recent times are camouflage color caps. The intersection with the army theme is no coincidence. The society is discussing the stay of religious Jews in military service. A festive bale (blue or black velvet) is the basis for the strum. It is trimmed along the contour with sable or fox tails. Despite the variety of existing yarmoloks, the black bale remains the universal option, which is most often used by Jews without religious convictions. Camouflage Blue festive With fur

Cut and shape

Bales can be small, medium and large (depending on what part of the head they cover), be stitched or knitted. Often products are made from a single piece of fabric using a special cut with the help of darts. The second option for sewing is to detach the cap from individual pieces, wedges. The end of such a bale is an invisible cuff around the perimeter.

There are pointed, flat, six-, four- and eight-wedge products. For example, modern Orthodox have chosen for themselves small bales of knitted fabric. The Hasidim, a more conservative group of Jews, wear models that cover two or even three quarters of their heads. They also have differences in cut - bales are flatter, often have a border.

The small size of the bale, which is often lost in the hair (or is clearly visible on freshly shaved skin), gave it a new name - pear boiling. By the name of this hat, they judge whether the owner is ready to refuse to wear it.

Traditional features of different religious trends

Orthodox Jews consider the constant wearing of a yarmulka obligatory. Conservatives are limited to the synagogue and meal times. In Hasidim, a fur hat closes the pile. Reformed Jews do not consider the presence of a hat on the head of a Jew necessary. Non-religious people put it on during mourning, the celebration of adulthood. When serving God in the synagogue, such a headdress is required.

Among Ashkenazi Jews, the bale has four or six wedges (hence the name: four-, six-blade). Moreover, they are all dark colors, often black. Sephardic yermolk is not so modest: it has embroidery, ornament and can be brightly decorated. Hasidist Jews put on hats over a bale. Their yarmulka is often white, which means familiarity with Kabbalah. Chabadniks prefer black six-piece models. Zionists wear a friend (a cap of knitted fabric), and those who carefully study Kabbalah - weiss yarmulka (in other words, a white pile). For a Hasid, a festive headpiece is a black velvet trimmed with sable or silver fox fur.

It is believed that for religious reasons, boys begin to wear bales from the age of 13, however today you can often see younger children with this attribute on their heads. A special small bale is purchased for them. Children of Litvaks wear six-caped caps - an option that is somewhat similar to a casket.

In the Hellenistic world, a Jew leading morning prayer was allowed to be bare-headed. It was commonplace when significant rabbis threw a Jewish shawl over their heads. In the Middle Ages, to demonstrate their piety, they fastened a bale to their heads (this was prescribed by Shulchan Aruch).

This trend has persisted to the present: in the process of reading prayers on Jews is Yermolka. “Mishna Brura” notes that a covered head is the commandment of the Torah, therefore recommends even sleeping in a pile.

How to wear

The yarmolka, sewn in the classical way, has considerable weight, therefore it rests on the head by itself. The rabbis give advice on putting on a pile (trying on various options) in front of the mirror until it sits firmly on the top of the head. There is also the following statement: if the hat did not fall off the head of a person who spent the whole night in bed in it, then this is the most suitable size for him. However, there are cases when, due to light material, it does not hold well between curls and flies. For these options, Jews have special hair clips. For many curious people, the question arises: how does the yarmulk rest on a freshly shaved head. If it flies off when loose, it can be attached using silicone rubber or double-sided tape. Children who actively spend time on the street, so as not to wear hairpins and all kinds of clothespins, put on a baseball cap on top of the pile, so it certainly will not fall off your head.

Other national hats

The cap of Judea is not the only headdress of a Jew. On top of it, dashas, ​​a casket, or a black hat are worn. There are about 35 such variants. For example, in the families of the Hasidic Rebbe they put a cap made of brown fur on their heads. This is its difference from spodika (belonging to the Polish Hasidic dynasties). Hereditary Jews of Yerushalmi have a traditional plush hat. Its second name is the flicker-teller (flying saucer or super). It is characterized by wide fields and low tops (up to 10 cm). Some types of hats are sewn from velor that looks like black short-haired fur. Among these models is the Samet.

Yarmolki and kippots are varieties of Jewish skullcaps, but they are not equivalent. So, according to scientists, the term “kippah” is used in diasporas, simply meaning a hat that is worn for religious reasons. The original Yiddish yarmulka is a cap made of satin or felt, which has a natural cotton lining. Jewish men, along with bales, also wear hats and hats made of fur.

Hasidim, for which pace is a distinctive feature of hairstyles, wear velvet six-links. At the same time, uncut strands stand out clearly against the background of the overall short haircut. Litvaki, putting on four-wedge yarmulk, tuck paisas over their ears. Orthodox Jews, for whom wearing a traditional headgear is a must, wear a black hat over it. Very rarely, instead of her, you can see a special cap - a casket.

Married Jewish women cover their heads with scarves. It is believed that their hair is part of the body that only her husband can see. The second version of the headgear is a wig. Scheitel (a wig made of artificial or natural hair) is worn in families belonging to Orthodox Judaism, regardless of lifestyle or occupation.

Kipa is not just a Jewish hat that distinguishes its master from the crowd. This is a symbol that demonstrates to itself and others that its owner is humble, humble and reverent to God. In addition, the hat indicates the origin of man, his community. Dasha Fur cap Traditional hat Kippot Wedding Cap Yiddish Satin Yarmolka

Features of such a hat

All kippots and yarmulka are skullcaps, each yarmulka is a bale, but not every bale is a yarmulka.

This is because the Hebrew word kippah, as it is used in Israel and increasingly in the diaspora, means any skullcap worn by a Jew for religious reasons, while the yermolka, which comes from Yiddish, usually refers only to stitched satin or felt cap, usually with a cotton lining.


Each hat, regardless of type and characteristics, is worn over a black yarmulka. For Hasidim, the method of dressing the hat is such that it allows you to see the yarmulke from under the back of the hat. Such a tradition among the Jews is not accidental; they believe that covering the head gives reverence to God and prevents a person from sinning.

Types of Yermolok

There are many types and styles that a Jewish hat can have. It is very difficult to study and describe the name of one or another of them, since classification can be carried out not only by size, materials, shapes and colors, but also by intra-community traditions. However, if you study this whole system, then with a yermolk it will be easy to calculate to which religious trend the Jew belongs. And in some cases, to learn something else. For example, Ashkenazi Jews wear bales with four or six wedges. The colors are kept strict, most often it is black. But Sephardim, on the contrary, love small colorful yermolki with embroidery or ornament. Adherents of Hasidism prefer to hide their bales under hats and fur hats. Some of them wear white bales as a sign that they are studying Kabbalah. By the way, there are special brushes that can be used to decorate a Jewish hat. As it is called with pigtails, a bale made of velvet is also known as a strum. But habadniki wear a strict six-link black.


The word "yermolka" comes from the Turkic language and is most often associated with the word "yagmurluk", which means "raincoat". In use among Jews, this word came through the Polish language in which it means hat. Other theories raise the word “yarmolka” to Jewish or Aramaic roots and give it the meaning “fearing God” or “fear of the king”. But as for the word “kipa,” it means in Hebrew simply “covering.” It is also called, for example, the dome as an architectural element. By the way, speaking of the name of the Jewish cap on the head, it would not be out of place to mention that the stress in the Hebrew language in the word “kipa” falls on the last syllable, while in Russian - most often on the first.

Watch the video: Kippah: What You Need to Know About the Jewish Head Covering (February 2020).

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