Do we need to treat a kippah with more respect than a normal hat? I frisbeed a couple of kippahs across the room to a friend and he became indignant at me throwing them on the floor.

I remember as kids we were taught to kiss our kippa if it fell off our head before putting it back on, but in Yeshivah I found no such attitude so now I would brush it off if dirty but not kiss it before returning it.

And would it make a difference whether its on your head or not?


4 Answers 4


People seem to have turned kippah into a ritual object, when it really isn't. It's religiously appropriate to cover your head, and a kippah is just a convenient way to do so.

In the Star-K guide to sheimos disposal, they make clear that a worn-out kippah can be thrown in the trash! (I suspect they saw people depositing them for dignified burial along with worn-out Torah scrolls.)

Now obviously if you see someone spitting on their kippah or stomping on it, that's probably an indication that their outlook towards religious life isn't exactly a healthy one. But it's not a holy object -- it's a mundane piece of cloth that enables you to do a holy act.

  • Ironic, how even though we call it Sheimos disposal, people think that it applies to things that don't have Gd's name on it!
    – avi
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 6:28
  • @Shalom Once we use an object (be it mundane or holy) to do a holy act, doesn't it itself have a status similar to an actual holy object?
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 3:35

There is a halacha that once you elevate something, you can not diminish it. This is one of the reasons why we light 1 candle the first night, and 8 candles the last night.

If you view wearing a kippah as a "davar shel Mitzvha", that is, an item which you fulfill a mitzvah with, then it must be treated with "more respect" than a normal item. The halachot regarding how an item is "treated with respect" differs in both time and place, as well as based on the item itself.

Techincally, a kippah is a minhag, but "minhag yisroel cmo mitzvah" (The customs of Israel are like a commandment), so your mileage will vary on how to treat kippot.

The idea of kissing a kippah when it falls on the floor, I believe, is a way to teach children to be respectful to the kippah.

  • 1
    Do you have a source for your claim that the halacha depends here on whether one subjectively considers the kipa a mitzva object?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:30
  • @msh210 Where did I say that? There are different opinions as to whether or not a kippah is a davar mitzvah. I'm not aware of anyone who says its up the the wearer to decide if it is or not.
    – avi
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:45
  • 1
    Sorry. I misunderstood your "If you view wearing a kippah as a 'davar shel Mitzvha'", then. Can you cite the differing views, then?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 17:14
  • It's views I've heard from many people in different settings. I don't have a precise source.
    – avi
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 20:41

it seems to me that a kipah is a head covering just any other hat is, and if a kipah has any "kedusha" (holiness) so would any other head covering. Basically, the reason most people wear a kipah because it is more convenient than wearing a hat. Also, don't forget that there are a great many people who do wear a hat most of the time, would hats then have the same rule a kipah to those who hold there is any "kedusha" in a kipa.

  • 3
    This is a good point. But most people who wear hats instead of kippas do not have any one hat designated as their "religious head-covering". One might argue that a kippa is an object designated for the purpose of covering one's head for religious reasons, in which case there is more of a reason it should be treated with respect than someone's hat, even if the hat is being used as a head-covering.
    – jake
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:55
  • Avrohom H., welcome to the site and thanks for your views. I'm editing your answer to remove some unnecessary jargon. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site; if you register your username, that will afford you a better site experience.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 17:17
  • 1
    Borsalinos aren't kodesh? :)
    – avi
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 18:04

It really is based on your emotions. There are some things that according to Halacha are banned, such as throwing banned. However other things are based on ones emotions. For example if you are brought up in a town where you only frisbee things that are sacred and that is the way you show respect, then by all means frisbee them.

However if you, like most of us, percieve throwing an object as a way of demeaning it a little, then it is wrong for you to do it, not because that is the halocho, but because you are showing disrespect for something you really hold of. Whether to kiss it or not, is again up to you to decide how much respect you have to show it according to your own feelings. If you feel dusting it of is enough, then that is good. However someone brought up to always kiss it, he will not be able to properly respect it until he kisses it.

  • 1
    Do you have a source for your claim that the halacha depends here on what one subjectively considers respectful?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:29
  • Since it is not brought down as a halacha not to do it, that leaves us with Hashkafah, not Halachah! I took your point to heart about quoting, but i dont think it is nessescary here. Thanks
    – Yehuda
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:49

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