Why do Jewish People Wear Yarmulkes?
Answering the Most Common Jewish Questions
Why is nearly impossible to find a cheeseburger in Israel? What is a Shabbat elevator? Director Nic Lesmeister of Gateway Center for Israel tackles these two (along with several other) of the most asked questions on Google about Israel & the Jewish people.
Israel and the Jewish people can be kind of a confusing topic, and a lot of people have a lot of questions about it. And whenever you have a lot of questions about stuff, what do you do these days? You Google it, right?
So we decided we’re going to Google some things about Israel and about the Jewish people and just see what are people asking. And then let’s see if we can answer some of these questions. So I’m going to type it in right here, and let’s see what people are wondering about.
Why do Jewish people wear yarmulkes?
All right, that’s the first one. Why do Jewish people wear yarmulkes or kippah? This is the head covering that men wear. This isn’t something that’s actually found in the Bible. This is something that developed through Jewish tradition, and it was the idea of creating a separation between God above you and yourself. So this is a reminder that there’s always a God present above them. The divine is above them and their humanity is below them. We’ve actually done a video on the different kinds of kippahs and what they actually represent. You can go check that out at another time. All right.
Why do Jewish people put rocks on Graves?
Great question. So when you go to a Jewish cemetery, if you’ve ever been to one, maybe in Israel or somewhere else, you’ll go up and you’ll see these graves and they’ll have stones on them. So this is just a tradition of when you go to visit someone who has passed away already and visit their grave and remember them, that you’ll put a stone on there to say that you have been there. So you see some graves of very famous Jewish people that have lots of stones because a lot of people have visited their grave site or some that don’t have as many, so that’s why they put rocks on graves.
Why do Jewish men have curls?
That’s a great question. So in the book of Leviticus, God instructs Jewish men not to cut the hair on the side of their head. So they took this literally, and they literally didn’t cut the hair on the side of your head. And for a lot of people, if you don’t cut your hair, it ends up curling. And I would imagine that over time, this became a fashionable thing that you could personalize. And now you see Jewish men who are walking around curling their hair or just enjoying their hair.
What do Jewish people believe in?
Okay, that’s a pretty broad one. So Jewish people believe in a variety of different things. The main thing obviously, is they believe in the God of Israel. If you’re a religious Jew, but honestly, you could be a Jew that’s not religious, and you could believe in Buddha. And we know there’s a lot of Jewish people that believe in Jesus. They’re Jewish followers of Jesus. That I guess answers the question, what do they believe in? But God, obviously, the God of Israel the Bible, that’s a pretty popular one. How about…
Where do Jewish people worship?
Jewish people can worship in a synagogue obviously is the most common. They go to synagogue on Shabbat typically on Saturday, or they could maybe not be in a Shabbat. I’ve been in a hotel in Israel, and I’ve seen a group of 10 men gathering around and praying and worshiping together. So they could do that there as well.
Why can’t Jewish people eat meat and dairy together?
Okay, some people probably don’t know this, but when you visit Israel, you find out pretty quickly because you see all these amazing desserts at the hotels. They look amazing, and you just had some meat to eat with your dinner, and you go up and you take a bite of ’em, and you’re like, whoa, that doesn’t taste anything as good as it looks. And that’s because there’s no dairy in it, because there’s three times in the Old Testament in the Torah where God forbids Jewish people cooking meat and dairy together, or the Bible talks about don’t cook a young kid in its mother’s milk. So over the centuries, the rabbis have kind of refined this and they’ve said, hey, you can’t mix meat and dairy together. This was forbidden in the Torah. And so there’s restaurants in Israel where it’s only a meat restaurant, so there’s no dairy in it. And then there’s restaurants where it’s only a dairy restaurant. You can eat fish with the dairy, but you can’t have any meat there, and there’s no intermixing of the two. So typically if you go to Israel, you’re going to have dairy for breakfast and then meat for dinner. So you’re not going to be able to mix them together. How about another one?
Why can’t Jewish people press elevator buttons?
All right. Another one that a lot of people don’t realize, but again, if you’ve ever been to Israel, you know that if you go stay at your hotel, there’s this special elevator called the Shabbat elevator, or the elevator’s going to Shabbat mode. What does that mean? Well, okay, Shabbat is Saturday, right? It’s the Sabbath, the day of rest. It starts at sundown on Friday night. Jewish people believe that they are forbidden from creating anything on Shabbat. That’s what God’s trying to tell them, right? Stop creation. It’s a day of rest. God rested. He stopped creating on the seventh day. And so what do you do when you push a button on an elevator? You create a spark – light. Only God can create light. So it gets taken to that level of adherence that you can’t even push an elevator button. So you just get on the elevator and it just stops automatically at every floor. So if you live on the 45th floor, it’s going to take a while for you to get to your apartment.
Why do Jewish people eat kosher?
Well, this is pretty simple. The Bible commends him to eat kosher. God said, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, don’t eat that. We probably don’t have to go back into all that. And then there’s a whole bunch of other ones. So why do Jewish people fill in the blank? Now you know some of those answers.