So, i haven't heard that anyone today is making this punishable by death, but still...

France has a law that prohibits government workers from wearing religious symbols on their job. This naturally includes the kippa. Quebec was also considering it (the article is from late 2013, i haven't seen anything newer).

According to the Rambam (Yesodei Hatorah 5), during "שעת השמד" - a time of destruction, when the ruler outlaws some Jewish practices, it is a mitzvah to be a martyr and not comply with it. (See also: Self-sacrifice in Jewish law on Wikipedia) I think i remember learning that this applies even to customs.

If the ban was actually so severe that you could be killed (and not just fired or fined), would this qualify for yehareg v'al yaavor - let him be killed and not transgress?

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    I know it's not what you're asking, but for the record, until about 20 - 30 years ago many/most Yidden did not wear a head covering while at work. (Except when making a Bracha.) Nov 17, 2014 at 13:39
  • There is no requirement to wear a "kippah" though, you could wear some other form of hat/cap that is not considered a religious symbol.
    – CashCow
    Feb 10, 2015 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


In Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 157:1, the Ramma quotes a Beis Yoseif saying that shaas hashmad is only when the gizeira (decree) is specifically against Jews. The Shach there (#6) clarifies that if the gizeira is against the entire medina (country or jurisdiction), even though Jews are included, it is not called shaas hashmad.

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    I would like to add to this that the real reason for this גזירה is the moslems. Definitely not directed at the Jews.
    – Asaf
    Nov 18, 2014 at 5:48

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