Thursday, September 16, 2010

My "Black Hat" experiment :)

Okay, so I'm cheating, but I got your attention, didn't I? :)

What I'm really talking about is my black hat, a catalyst for a wonderful Shabbat.
I'm having a bit of a problem with my black hat--it's too hot for warm weather or for simchas/s'machot/happy occasions such as this one, but, since it doesn't cover my ears, it's not warm enough for winter. It seemed that the poor thing was about to be relegated to "transitional-weather" status--meaning that I could wear it only when the weather was between roughly 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit--until I had an idea.
We may very well be moving within the next two-three years, and aren't sure with which denomination we'll be affiliating. But even a left-wing Modern Orthodox synagogue, such as the one to which our friends now belong, though it may tolerate women in tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin, is less likely to tolerate a woman in a kippah/yarmulke/skullcap, since many Orthodox Jews consider a kippah to be "beged ish," a man's garment, and thus forbidden for women. (The Torah/Bible prohibits cross-dressing by either gender.) Well, the other day, it occurred to me that I could take advantage of the fact that I have a hat that's black, and, therefore, hides dirt reasonably well, and try learning to lay tefillin around a hat, instead of a kippah. (My white hat would get dirty much more frequently if I wore it for davvening/praying every weekday morning.)
I've had two day's practice now, and have found that there are advantages and disadvantages to wearing a hat rather that a kippah when laying tefillin. On one hand, since the tefillin must be directly on the body, with no clothing intervening, it's nice not to have to check under the tefillin strap/r'tzuah to be sure that the edges of the kippah aren't stuck there: It would be a good trick, indeed, to get a hat caught under a tefillin strap. :) On the other hand, getting the tefillin on means that, after lifting the hat slightly and sneaking the bayit/box and r'tzuah underneath, I have to make sure that the strap is actually circling the head evenly rather than being off to one side, and, since that means moving the strap around more than I'm used to doing, spending a tad more time centering the box over the space between the eyes.
But the bottom line, I'm happy to report, is that it's doable.
Next adventure: Sukkot and Shabbat Sukkot with the aformentioned and afore-linked (did I just invent a new word?) friends, davvening/praying in their Modern Orthodox synagogue and enjoying meals in the shul's sukkah.
Update: Not all hats are created equal.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with the experiment, I hope you will be happy with the outcome.

Thu Sep 16, 09:03:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

So far, so good, Techelet.

Thu Sep 16, 10:16:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad to hear it's possible. I normally wear a tichel rather than a hat, but I could be flexible. I'd really love to learn to wrap tefillin someday, but haven't yet, and have been wondering how it works without a kippah.

Thu Oct 21, 03:38:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Caroline, you might find my newer Not all hats are created equal and my older Finally, I've met Mark/PT's tefillin challenge (re putting on tefillin around a pre-tied tichel/scarf) amusing and/or helpful. In all honesty, though, I must admit that it's easier to put tefillin on around a kippah than around either a pre-tied scarf or a hat. I wish you the best of luck in your tefillin-wearing efforts.

Fri Oct 22, 11:11:00 AM 2010  
Blogger X said...

"(The Torah/Bible prohibits cross-dressing by either gender.)"

From a Conservative Jewish perspective, does this prohibition also apply to people who are strongly biologically inclined to cross-dress or simply to people who do it for fun without a strong biological inclination (or at least not anywhere near as strong of one)?

Also, would women wearing pants, a traditional male clothing item, likewise be included in the cross-dressing prohibition? Or would pants that are specifically made for women be excluded from this prohibition?

Sun Nov 12, 10:16:00 PM 2023  
Blogger X said...

FWIW, this is just a hunch on my own part, but I suspect that the people who frequently cross-dress but do not transition might have a similar biological makeup to transgender people, but simply to a smaller/milder extent/degree.

Sun Nov 12, 10:17:00 PM 2023  

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