Sunday, June 04, 2017


Head Coverings

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Head Coverings


     One of the workers at the Kotel told me that a non-Jewish tourist had a question that he did not know how to answer.

     The tourist was from China. I had never heard his question before. He saw the guards insisting on men covering their heads when they entered the Kotel prayer area but women did not have to, and he wondered why.

     I explained, "Our Temple has been destroyed. When the priests served in the Temple they had to have their heads covered. The rabbis gave us the custom of Jewish men covering our heads to remind us of the Temple service. And since women did not serve in the Temple they do not have the custom."

     There are reasons for all of our customs and all of our laws. Each of them brings its own specific benefit. If we do them without understanding why we do them they can become a burden, but when we understand why we do them, they become an uplifting experience.

    The Torah does not come to give us a burden. It comes to relieve a burden. It comes to help us to remember and fulfill our spiritual purpose for being here.



  1. So why does the non-Jew have to cover their heads? Is this not unnecessary religious coercion unlike the request for women to cover up legs and shoulders (but not heads)?

  2. Josh: I learned that covering the head for the man in a Jewish holy place is respect given to H', our Creator. This holds true for everyone, Jew and non-Jew. This is so that they are aware that H' is above us.

    Also, it is a world custom that when one visits a place of importance to that country and people, visitors should show the respect they expect.


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