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It seems like almost major rebbeim/poskim do/did ear some sort of additional head covering (black hat, streimel, cap, etc) for davening. If the practice is that universal among gedolim, that might imply that the general populace ought to behave similarly.

I am curious: Are there today, or were there ever, any major rebbeim/poskim that do not wear an additional head covering for davening?

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    Can you define "any major rebbeim/poskim"? – Double AA Mar 9 '15 at 14:59
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    "which would imply that it is..." I don't see why that is so. Do you know any Gedolim that enjoy eating caviar? What does that imply for our menus? – Double AA Mar 9 '15 at 15:00
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    "Any gedolim" questions like these are very difficult to pose in a productive way, since, as suggested in @DoubleAA's first comment, it's hard to define , in a sufficiently precise way to be constructive, what one means by "gadol." So you end up with mostly unsatisfactory answers relating to people that may or may not qualify. Examples: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13753 judaism.stackexchange.com/q/25986 judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35837 Meta: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13000 – Isaac Moses Mar 9 '15 at 15:22
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    @Nafkamina There's no source for this urban legend about double coverings besides 20th century post-facto explanations that arose after the development of this urban legend. Otherwise, sources cited in support for this notion (e.g. one of the Beit Yosef's explanations of the Tur in OC 8:5) exclusively mention (usually in the context of prayer) wearing a larger head covering as opposed to the smaller yarmulke usually worn. One may choose to wear or not wear the smaller head covering underneath at the same time, thus wearing two coverings at once, but this choice has no religious significance. – Fred Mar 9 '15 at 17:23
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    Seriously, who is a gadol? In the black-hat-yeshivishe-veldt, I'm sure the answer to your question is no. In the Zionist/Modern Orthodox world, the answer is most certainly yes. What counts as a hat? Is a turban a hat? How far back are you going in time? This question is either impossible to answer or too obvious to be worth anyone's time. – Seth J Mar 9 '15 at 20:58
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"One example is R.Yehuda Aryeh of Modena (1571–1648). Rabbi Modena served on the Bet Din of Venice and authored many important works, including his commentary on Ein Yaakov entitled Beit Lehem Yehuda. As a respected rabbi and a member of the Bet Din, R. Modena responded to many inquiries about his rulings on various halakhic questions. However, one response of R. Modena dealt not only with a halakhic question, but also with an event that seems to have occurred frequently. R. Modena wrote that “a Rabbi Yitzhak Gershon12 would not once or twice, but every week berate [R. Modena] for standing with his hat in his hand [bareheaded].”

Rabbi Modena would stand outside the local synagogue speaking with people, all the while without a yarmulke, and R. Yitzhak Gershon would chastise him for doing so. R. Modena justified his practice and commented that “the majority of Jews in Italy [do not wear a yarmulke]” as well. He also noted that Italian Jews “dress differently [than other Jews], grow their hair long, and their custom is to remove their hats when greeting important people, as this honors them.” Indeed, when R. Modena’s Historia de Riti Hebraici, History of Jewish Rites, was published in 1637, the portrait of R. Modena on the cover displayed him bareheaded."

Source that contains sources Yarmulke: A Historic Cover-up?

There are also other Sephardic people who were big, but could you call them gedolim? i don't know. If someone made their own siddur that was used by an entire country (Such as the Farhi siddur for Egyptians) would you say he was a gadol? Dr Hillel Farhi

Dr Hillel Farhi

Farhi Siddur

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    I don't see any mention of davening in this answer. – Alex Dec 1 at 2:38
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Rav Ilan Feldman, a great man and a respected personality in the rabbinic pulpit world regularly davens without a hat.

Culturally in the Sephardic countries such as Yugoslavia and Greece the Rabbonim did wear Rabbinic Yarmulkes (similar to this yarmulke of Rav Moshe's one.)

enter image description here but not a hat on top of it. So seemingly they also davened like that.

  • How do you know that the rabbinic yarmulke isn't the additional hat that sits on top of another, smaller, yarmulke? – Seth J Mar 11 '15 at 14:28
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    I know because my grandfather wore one and didn't wear an extra hat – Shoel U'Meishiv Mar 11 '15 at 14:29

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