Sunday, August 14, 2005

Velvet Kippot vs Knit Kippot

I really didn't want to address this argument here, but after reading the responses to several things I wrote over at Heshy's House I felt the need to do so on my own forum.

In this post Heshy postulates that the only authentic Jews are those who were Black Velvet Kippot. On of his readers, thought I suspect from the situation that I am really discussing this with Heshy in disguise, and I have a long discussion about this issue.

My basic concept is that Heshy's belief that velvet Kippot are somehow better than knit Kippot is really nothing more than a bias statement. The anonymous reader response with this:
1) The Torah opposes Zionism.
2) Knitted yarmulkes represent support for Zionism. (It doesn't really matter how that came to be or whether it's fair, that fact is the two are associated in most people's minds so that's enough)
3) The Torah opposes knitted yarmulkes.

My response to the almighty un-named one was as follows:
1.) The Torah opposes arrogant Jews.
2.) Black velvet kippot and 'uniform' (modern suites and black fedora's) show who is an arrogant Jew. (It doesn't really matter whether this is true or not. Enough people believe it and accept it that it is associated in many people's minds)
3.) Therefore the Torah opposesJews who wear black velvet kippot and the 'uniform.'

To clarify at this point, I do not 'agree' with my argument in that I do not believe that all black velvet kippot and 'uniform' wearing Jews are arrogant, and more than I believe that every single person who wheres a knit Kippah does so because they are Zionists. I believe, frankly, that arguments that use extreme generalizations are useless as they eliminate the ability to actually discuss the issue.

I also in the discussion asked several times for some one to point out where in the Torah or Halakhah it specifices what a kippah must be made of. The closet thing to a response to that issue that I got was this statement by Heshy: "IF OUR GREAT SAGES WORE YELLOW HATS than all of us would wear yellow hats to show our alegiance to the Torah community.The fact is all authentic yeshivas have a dress code.Every student must wear a black velvet yamulka and hat afterr bar mitzvah with a white shirt and jacket.This is Judaism.You want to look at outside movements like reform,conservative,jews for j,etc.they wear whatever they want.We are addressing authentic Judaism and thats where we have a dress code for men and women just as the police,the army.the fire department have dress codes. "

My response to Heshy is was as follows: Your dress code statement is entirely ridiculus on its face, the Torah Sages that ALL Jews look to did not wear suites or fedoras. They dress in something that was completely different, depending on where/when they lived. The most ancient of our sages would have worn robes similar to what the Saudi royal family wears, if you want to use that argument, I expect to begin to see pictures of you and all of your 'authentic' Jews in long flowing robes with desert (read kifiyah) style headcoverings.

This argument I will stand by fully. I would like to state that I am open to discussions on this subject. As I had stated early in that discussion that I am trying to learn the reasoning behind the idea being stated. But I will not follow a nonsensical 'modern' decision that is neither based on a legitimate Halakhic reason (or reasoning) and that is based on a single communities bias. I believe it would be much more important to wear a kippah, than to worry about what type of Kippah. I also believe that it would be much more important to wear nice 'modest' clothing than some 'uniform' that was developed in that last 250 years. The 'uniform' that Heshy advocates is based on a recent (last couple of hundred years) development in clothing styles and dressing that way because it is 'accepted' by the person or people that are, in Heshy's mind at least, 'Authentic' Jews is just as useless.

I appologize for the length of this post, but the issue became a 'bigger' issue than I felt it was worth at Heshy's and was hoping someone may have a different perspective that could possible create a 'different' opinion for me. For you see, unlike Heshy, I realize that my position is also my opinion and that of the community in which I was raised.

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