I have a question about the kippah. As a Jewish man who is learning about observance, and slowly incorporating observance into his life, I still have a very long way to go. I was wondering: when is the “appropriate” time to begin wearing a kippah at all times? Because I am not yet fully kosher, Shabbat observant, etc., I feel it would appear hypocritical to wear a kippah at all times—especially when still active on Shabbat, or when going with my family to eat at a non-kosher restaurant. Please advise.


I will pass on advice given by Rabbi Moses Feinstein (renowned halachic authority, 1895–1986) to a similar question.

He was asked whether people who attend mixed dances should be advised to remove their kippot beforehand, so that no one thinks that such dances are sanctioned by the presence of “religious-looking” people.

In short, his answer was that two wrongs do not make a right. The fact that one is transgressing one commandment is no reason to disregard another, non-related one.

Ultimately, the hope is that that wearing the kippah will serve as encouragement and a gentle reminder to progress in those areas that require improvement. After all, that’s what a kippah is all about: a constant reminder that there is an Eye that watches all we do.

Mitzvot can be compared to money. Stumbling upon a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk, no sane person would say, “I am anyhow poor and so deep in debt; what’s the point in picking up the bill?” So, too, when faced with the opportunity to do a mitzvah, we grab the opportunity—regardless of the fact that there may be other areas wherein we are presently deficient.

Yours truly,
Rabbi Menachem Posner