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The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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Da Ma LeHashiv - Wearing a Kippah- Part 2

By: Rav Eli Schenkolevsky
dean of the Teacher’s College and rav in Nofei Aviv (Beit Shemesh) engages contemporary issues.

Question A: May one remove a kippah during a training exercise in the IDF? Question B: May one remove a kippah in a demonstration (in the original for the Golan) in order to foster the impression that the non-observant public supports the positions expressed at the demonstration?

A: Although some authorities rule leniently in specific circumstances-Rav Moshe Feinstein permits one to remove a kippah if it donning a kippah will endanger his livelihood (Iggerot Moshe, Orach Chaim , Volume 4, Siman 2 and Choshen Mishpat, Volume 1 Siman 93), I believe that additional factors should be reckoned with in the above questions { it should be noted that Rav Feinstein dealt in a case when an alternative livelihood was available, however it did not provide the revenue in the original occupation}.

It is certainly feasible to don a kippah in the majority of training exercises in the army. Thus, it may not be removed. In specific exercises that the kippah is excessively cumbersome (such as people with short hair running quickly, and a hat or helmet can not be donned), one may remove the kippah. It must be donned immediately upon the completion of the exercise.

In actual military operations where a fallen kippah is liable to enable the enemy to discover our whereabouts- one may remove the kippah. However, in training exercises prior to the operation, one is required to don the kippah. It may be removed immediately prior to the commencement of the operation (further research can be accomplished in Melumi Milachama , page 254, KeChitzim BeYad Gibor, Volume 2, ppg 105/6. and Kishrei Milchama, Volume 1, page 162).

B: This question contains a number of axioms. 1. The welfare of the nation is predicated upon remaining in …(at the time, the Golan). 2. The demonstration is sufficiently potent to influence against withdrawal. 3. A demonstration of non-observant Jews is more effective than Jews who don kippot.

Even if one were to accept all of these assumptions, I maintain that one may NOT remove a kippah for this purpose. These calculations smack of trying to “outwit” the Divine Providence (Darchei HaHashgacha) and are illegitimate (additionally the assumptions can be countered- perhaps it should be noted that those who observe the Torah and mitzvoth possess superior love towards the Holy Land).


Categorized under: 1: Halacha > General
Uploaded: 9/12/2005 6:04:35 AM