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I'm Reform, and I generally wear a kippah when leading/participating in prayer or study, and when otherwise volunteering for my congregation. I know it's optional for women (of which I am one), but it has become a common minchag among non-Orthodox women at least in the past 25 years or so.

I recently learned to crochet kippot, using the construction method that involves spiraling outward from the middle until it "looks about right"--to my eye this is 6" diameter, more or less.

I asked a Conservative-Rabbi friend with whom I study Torah (who also crochets a lot of kippot) what the minimum size should be for a kippah. She said that it was a Very Good Question, but did not know. She too, works until it "looks right."

She's going to look into it, but I figure I'd ask here too: Halachically speaking, is there a minimum size for kippot? If so, what is it?

  • One of my Rabbis told me that a Yarmulke needs to be big enough to cover your brain. :) – David Kenner Apr 30 '17 at 23:28
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    @Rhonda Marshall Your question is a good one and it is appreciated. Thanks for the quality post. – David Kenner May 1 '17 at 0:12
  • Your Welcome :) – David Kenner May 2 '17 at 20:31
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The first responsum in R' Moshe Feinstein's Igrot Moshe (vol. 1, OC 1:8) states that a kippah should cover the majority of one's head, although this is a chumrah [stringency] rather than an absolute requirement.

In practice, however, there is no minimum size. Some Israelis (Religious Zionists) wear very small, flat crocheted kippot, whereas others, such as members of the Chareidi community, as well as Conservative and Reform Jews wear larger kippot (the style differs)

I'll also link my question on the matter, in case it answers yours.

4

According to Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Ovadia Hadayah, the Kippah has to be visible from all sides (Shut Yaskil Avdi vol. 6, p. 292). Otherwise, it’s not called a covering. Likewise, Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef said, “It should be recognizable and visible from all sides of the head, front and back” (Shut Yehaveh Da’at 4:1).

Rav Moshe Feinstein in Sh"ut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:8 says that it is best to take the strict approach and to cover most of one’s head, but legally, it suffices as long as it is big enough to be called a covering and not a decoration.

According to the Igros Moshe, a person can put his hand on his friend’s head, and the friend can recite blessings. Thus, a kippa the size of a hand would be sufficient.

As a practical matter, I have read of someone who was told by his grandfather,

the two corners of a yarmulke when folded into quarters should extend from the knuckle of the forefinger to the knuckle of the baby finger when making a fist. (In other words, the diameter should extend twice the distance of the fist of the person wearing it)

Since this is not from a halachic source, it should just be taken as practical advice when making for a person.

  • the chiddush of hands is linked to the fact that owns hands are not good, not to the side – kouty May 1 '17 at 1:39
  • @kouty That's true, but ממילא we see that a hand is big enough. – Double AA May 2 '17 at 0:53
  • @DoubleAA How big should the hand be? Imagine a man whose minchag is to wear a kippah all the time. He's walking down the street with his small son riding on his shoulders. His kippah becomes unsecured somehow, but he doesn't notice until the kippah falls off. Benny helpfully covers his Daddy's head with his hand until Daddy gets his kippah back. Is there a minimum size for Benny's hand? – Rhonda Marshall May 2 '17 at 1:33
  • @RhondaMarshall Just analyzing this source, I'd agree one cannot derive anything smaller than an average size adult hand. That's a least upper bound, not a strict minimum. – Double AA May 2 '17 at 1:36

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