Did you say Yamaka or Yarmulke?
Yamaka, Yarmulke, Kippah(or kippa) - every name ever used to designate Jewish Scull Cap goes back in history. Yamaka is actually rarely spelled that way, and ironically Yarmulke is often pronounced Yamaka. Why? We suspect that World Wide Web and search engines had a lot to do with that. You see, Yamaka also happens to be:
- Sounding too similar to the name of the famous Japanese motorcycle. While Yamaha is certainly a great piece of the machinery, it is hardly a hot item for too many Yamaka wearing Jews.
- Yamaka seems to be a pretty common Japanese name. Once again - wrong web traffic to Yamaka selling website
- Yamaka also happens to be the name of one of the Buddist books. You get the picture
Origins of Yamaka - the word
Yiddish word Yamaka (Yarmulke) most likely comes from the Aramaic, yira malka, which means "awe of the King." The word Kippah in Hebrew actually means ?dome?. Kippah (or Kippot for plural) has become much more widely used to designate the skullcap worn by Jewish men.
Why do Jews wear Yamaka?
Reasons given for wearing a Yamaka today include:
- recognition that God is "above" humankind
- "acceptance" of the 613 mitzvot (commandments)
- "identification" with the Jewish people
- demonstration of the "ministry" of all Jews
Some have a custom of wearing two head coverings, typically a Yamaka covered by a hat, for Kabbalistic reasons; the two coverings correspond to two levels of intellect, or two levels in the fear of God. The High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Kohain Gadol, also used to wear a woolen yamaka under his priestly headdress (Talmud Chulin 138a)