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I grew up hearing that if you put two hats or two yarmulkas at the same time that you could forget your learning- is there any source for this?

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya daddy! – mevaqesh May 12 '17 at 0:53
  • its a problem for carrying in a reshus harbim lfi ashkanzim... – sam May 12 '17 at 1:36
  • The tag description for 'superstition' reads: "A belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck : a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck." This question, proposing ill non naturalistic effects of a particular action qualifies by definition, and warrants the tag. You don't need to use the word to warrant the tag, just as a question about Parashat Noah, need not mention those words to warrant the tag; it just has to be a question...about parashat noah... – mevaqesh May 12 '17 at 14:32
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    @mevaqesh, you're right: neither question gives any reason to assume any particular kind of explanation. So neither is about superstition (though, again, answers may be). – msh210 May 14 '17 at 17:00
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The Magen Avaham (OH 2:3) references Shaar HaKavanot of R. Hayyim Vital which states that one should not put on two items of clothes at the same time, as it can make one forget:

ויזהר מללבוש ב' מלבושים יחד בפעם א' כי קשה לשכחה (הכוונות)

One should be careful not to don two garments together at one time, for it can cause forgetfulness (Shaar HaKavanot).

This could perhaps be read to mean that one should not wear two garments at the same time. It seems likely that this is the source of the idea that you heard.

However, it doesn't appear (to me) that this is the Magen Avraham's intent, since then one would never be able to wear more than one garment at a time! Rather, it appears that he refers to donning two garment simultaneously; not wearing the two simultaneously.


Of course as with most things, proving the negative is very difficult, there could always be some source somewhere about wearing two hats, rather than donning two garments, but this seems (to me) to be the likeliest explanation.

  • Hat tip to someone who confirmed for me that the ShHK is speaking about donning, not wearing. – mevaqesh May 12 '17 at 2:55
  • Does he mean two different garments? So, if a t-shirt is already stuck inside my polo shirt, before putting this on, one has to remove the t-shirt? And what about putting your feet into both shoes at the same time? I can't do that, either? – DanF May 12 '17 at 16:18
  • @DanF Neither the Magen Avraham nor the ShHK say anything about the garments being different in type. | "so, if a t-shirt is already stuck inside my polo shirt, before putting this on, one has to remove the t-shirt" it is a medical concern; that a particular activity could affect your physical and mental well being. If, indeed, your medical guidelines comes from 16th century superstitions, then you might indeed want to avoid donning two shirts simultaneously. Regarding the simultaneous shoes, perhaps they arent included in the 'garment' rubric, as far as this belief. – mevaqesh May 12 '17 at 19:10

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