Pekudei - (Ordinances)

Torah Portion: Pekudei (Ordinances)

Torah Reading: Exodus 38:21-40:38

Prophetic Reading: 1 Samuel 20:18-42

Maftir Reading: Exodus 30:11-16

“Priestly Head Coverings”

The focus of this week’s parasha is the priestly garments and the setting up the Tabernacle for its service. These garments were very different from the clothes that one would wear on a regular basis. The reason for this is to make a clear separation between that which is outside the Tabernacle and those things that pertain to it.  The priests would wear a special head covering while serving HaShem in the Tabernacle. It is also taught that the priest would cover their heads at all times. This is derived from Leviticus 10:6 where Moses instructed Aaron and two of his sons not to “uncover” their heads for mourning of the two other sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu.

The point is that it seems that priests would always cover their heads whether while serving in the Tabernacle or outside the holy place, however with different coverings. Some will immediately point to I Corinthians 11 and what Paul says about head coverings in regard to men and women. It appears that in that chapter Paul is speaking in regard to hair rather than an actual covering.  On this issue I am not going to enter into a debate. 

The purpose of dealing with the head covering issue is to simply give one explanation for why those men who follow Orthodox Judaism cover their head. Many of you are familiar with the Hebrew word “kippah” or the Yiddish word “yarmulke” as referring to the small round head covering in Judaism. So many times people ask me from where this tradition came. There are many traditions, but my favorite is the following.

In Exodus 19:6 one reads about the day when Israel will be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. Because the Kohanim always covered their heads, so did others who were looking forward to the fulfillment of this promise. In other words it was a way of testifying
to others that the Kingdom was coming and to anticipate it with the same commitment that the Kohanim displayed while serving HaShem in the Tabernacle or later on as in the Temple.

Here is the important thing for every man to remember: “…that the head of every man is Messiah…” I Cor. 11:3 If we live in this reality, then everything else will fall into obedience to our Heavenly Father.

Dr. Baruch Korman – March 15th, 2024 


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