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Why do people wear black hats if their kippa has 2 layers?

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For those who are wondering, the halachic source for two layers is in the Bais Yosef and he says it is from Kabbalistic sources. He does not bring it in the Shulchan Aruch. –  Yahu Apr 13 '10 at 20:18
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they wear black hats for the style.... –  Carrot monster Apr 14 '10 at 23:27
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@Yahu could you be more specific? –  Avraham Jun 24 '11 at 8:11
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@Yahu where exactly is this in Bet Yosef? –  Hacham Gabriel Jun 29 '12 at 16:48
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@HachamGabriel, re Yahu's comment: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/28281 –  msh210 Apr 30 '13 at 6:53

8 Answers 8

up vote 18 down vote accepted

See pg. 127 ff. of this publication from YCT. It is an article by Jason Weiner titled "ON THE HALAKHIC BASIS FOR WEARING BLACK HATS". In this article he discusses 5 reasons given by the Rabbinical Authorities for wearing a black hat:

  1. Kavod (Respect)
  2. Distingishing ourselves from the other nations
  3. Atifah (Wrap)
  4. Double Covering
  5. A Jewish custom has the strength of Halacha
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Reason 2 makes me pause. During the criminal trial of a black-fedorah-wearing (but unbearded) Orthodox Jew, some in the national press thought it was amusing that the accused criminal should wear a hat that was popular with gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. If we are trying to "distinguish ourselves from the other nations," the selection of the style of hat may have been a poor choice. –  Bruce James Feb 11 '13 at 17:26
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@BruceJames Right, and so too the "bent-up" hats are worn by the Amish. And Viznitz chassidim apparently wear their "beaver" hats backwards because their Rebbe once walked next to a priest who had an identical hat. The Rebbe turned his around to distinguish. I guess Satmar etc. have an argument for wearing their style of flat "beaver" hats, as I don't know of any gentiles wearing that style. –  NBZ Jan 6 at 17:32

The Chayei Adam says for birkas hamazon, "and wear a hat, like any respectable person would do if they were walking in the street."

R' Yitzchak Hutner once told a fellow: "wear a hat. A yarmulka is too easy to fold up and put in your pocket if you get embarrassed of being Jewish." (Very similar to the Lubavitcher Rebbe's letter about sheitels vs. kerchiefs.)

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The curious thing is that all of the old European (specifically) Litvaks I know take off their yarmulkes and put them in their pockets when they put on their black hat. Then when they take off their hat, they discretely slide the yarmulke back on underneath as they remove the hat. But the younger, born in America generation that I am familiar with, wears both the hat and yarmulke together. –  Curiouser Oct 18 '11 at 16:19
    
@Curiouser As far as I remember, that is actually the main halacha. –  NBZ Jan 6 at 17:27

The Zohar is meramez that a talmid chacham needs an extra level of head covering, especially upon saying a davar shebik'dusha. Regarding the hat, it not only is a second cover, but it is bigger and more demonstrative of one's devotion.

The Zohar adds, for instance, that one should wrap oneself with a tallis during davening; apparently, standing with a kippah is not enough. The same wrapping concept would apply to a hat that hovers above the head very much like a tallis, albeit slightly less.

All of these head coverings indicate deference to someone greater, and that we commit to G-D's commands even when we cannot understand and even if our ideas conflict with it; we still accept.

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@jake Is it really necessary to edit transliteration from one popular scheme to another? –  Isaac Moses Jun 23 '11 at 21:26
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@IsaacMoses, No, not in general. But once I was editing for punctuation and grammar, I went ahead and did that too. –  jake Jun 23 '11 at 21:28
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@jake, I think as long as it's intelligible, it makes sense to respect the author's choice of transliteration scheme, unless there's some special reason not to. –  Isaac Moses Jun 23 '11 at 21:30
    
Would you mind quoting the source in the Zohar? –  jake Jun 23 '11 at 21:33
    
@IsaacMoses, Sounds fair. This one happened to be inconsistent, so I changed it toward my own preference. –  jake Jun 23 '11 at 21:34

For a great shiur on the topic see Here: http://www.khalbneitorah.com/1024/index.htm The shiur is called Hats And Jakets

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i think the link is broken –  Adam Mosheh Apr 17 '12 at 14:39
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@AdamMosheh Nope, click on the link on the side called Shiurim and find the one called "Hats and Jackets". –  Double AA Nov 12 '12 at 23:45

Look in Aruch Hashluchan in Hilchos Dayanim and Birkas Hamazon where he mentions that Atifa (enwrapment) mentioned in SA is applied nowadays through a hat (and possible jacket, I don;t have an Aruch Hashulchan on me).

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in bircas hamazon he says wearing a jacket is a rediculous new fad with no basis but wearing a hat should be done kabalisticaly –  user6591 Jun 18 at 3:30

The main reason people wore hats during davening was because thats what they would wear when in front of someone important. Nowadays, they mainly wear it so as not to change from before, or to differentiate themselves from other people. The two-layer thing is not in the shulchan aruch, but if one does want to follow it, I could see why one item wouldn't make the cut.

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You are correct as far as the facts stating people's reasons. However, I've always thought the diffrentiating part is ridiculous. Whenever it was people decided to wear the hats like everybody else nobody seemed to care about being different and not changing old ways of dressing. And not only did they not care but it even became halachicly binding in order to be dressed normally. –  user6591 Jun 18 at 11:15

A kipa isn't actually a double covering if it has two layers. The two pieces sewn together are part of the same head covering. The only reason some kipas are like this is to reinforce the fabric. For more on wearing a hat for davening this is a great shiur that discusses this... http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/736994/Rabbi_Ally_Ehrman/Hat_And_Jacket_For_Davening:_The_True_Story

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i think its becouse its a tradition that we do when we turn the age of thirteen. i dont think you have to do it

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