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There is a well-known midrash that says (my translation):

Q: How do we know that Yaakov wore a shtreimel?
A: It says: "And Yaakov left Be'er Sheva". What, he left without a shtreimel?

However, an ancient manuscript of the midrash (MS Hamanovich 82) contains this version (my summary and translation):

Q: How do we know that Yaakov wore a kippah?
A: It says: "And Yaakov left Be'er Sheva". What, he left without a kippah?

It seems to me that both cannot be correct. The contradiction cannot simply be explained by saying that under the shtreimel he had a kippah, because how are we to know if he had a kippah under the shtreimel if all we see is the shtreimel? On the other hand, MS Hamanovich utterly ignores the existence of the shtreimel and focuses on the kippah. In terms of the issue of walking around bare-headed, all that is necessary is some form of head-covering. That MS seems to focus on whether or not he had any sort of head-covering at all, and comes to answer that.

So, therefore, my question is: In light of MS Hamanovich 82, is there any way to know whether or not Yaakov had a shtreimel?


This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

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    @Chatzkel I like your explanation, but it's also possible that Yaakov walked to the end of the techum shabbat and slept there (cue the famous dream) and continued walking on Sunday. And he would have travelled on Shabbat because that was when he found out that Elifaz was coming after him.
    – Harel13
    Mar 9 at 21:09
  • @Chatzkel I forgot to tell you that I liked that explanation and you can write it down as an answer (before the PTIJs are closed until next year...).
    – Harel13
    Mar 17 at 20:58

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The original Midrash is problematic. A streimel is only worn on Shabbos and Yackov would not have travelled on Shabbos. Furthermore, since Yackov was bachur at the time, he would not have had a streimel since the father-in-law is the one that pays for it. Additionally, since he was going to a Yeshiva dorm he was probably wearing a black hat like all Bachurim.

Therefore, I think that the first midrash has a taus hadafus. It should be on the passuk where Lavan made a big seuda for the wedding, and the answer is “what, he went to the wedding without a streimel?” Once we have this, the answer is simple. The kippa is proven from his leaving Canaan and the streimel is proven from the wedding!

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The truth is, that the chassidim forged the Midrash. It originally said How do we know Yakov wore a Black Hat. In matter of fact the contradiction you brought, even proves it was a forgery. Because you wouldn't be able to see his kippa under his striemel. But if you learn he was really wearing a black hat, he could've worn his kippa like some of those yeshivishe fellows that the kippa sticks out from the back.

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He definitely owned some form of head covering. Owing to the fact that his grandfather invented Shacharis - he was already well versed in his daily avoda. And as Shulchan Aruch OC 46:1 writes:

כשמשים כובע או מצנפת בראשו יברך עוטר ישראל בתפארה

When he places a hat or turban on his head, he blesses "Who crowns Israel with glory."

Now the Mishnah Berurah makes it clear that a hat is likewise a form of tznius - modesty, and we know that Yaakov was indeed a very modest person, always conducting himself with a modicum of respect and restraint. We know that he told the shevatim off for making themselves conspicuous (Bereishis 42:1) - so it stands to reason that such a modest individual would indeed own some type of hat.

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    I think it's p'shat from the manuscript that he did indeed have a head covering and that is not disputed. However, I asked specifically about a shtreimel. Arguably, a kippah is a kind of hat.
    – Harel13
    Mar 9 at 11:51

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