Rav Avigdor Miller on Snoods, Yarmulkas and the Mamleches Kohanim

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Q:
Why don’t girls wear yarmulkas like boys do?

A:
Let me explain to you. Why do men wear yarmulkas? That’s an important question. It’s not in the תורה. And the answer is that Hashem declared ואתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש. You are a nation of Kohanim. Now, כהנים must wear caps. They have four בגדים. A מצנפת, a כתונת an אבנט and מכנסיים. One of the four garments of a Kohen is the מצנפת, a cap of sorts. A כהן has to have a cap on his head. פארי המגבעות it’s called. The caps of glory.

And therefore, when הקדוש ברוך הוא said that we are a ממלכת כהנים, a Nation of Kohanim, it wasn’t just words. It means that we live for one purpose only. We are כהני ה׳. Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, you’re a כהן. Your job is to serve Hashem. And the Jewish Nation, in the course of time decided, “We have to remind ourselves that we are a Nation of Kohanim.” Now in the old generations, it wasn’t necessary. They had recently heard these words when Hashem told them אתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים. And they lived with that feeling. They understood what it meant. But as the generations passed by, hundreds of years later, some began to weaken in that understanding. Some began to forget that their purpose In this world is to be כהנים. And they began to remind themselves by putting a מצנפת on the head. עוטר ישראל בתפארה. And פארי המגבעות and תפארה is the same word. We wear hats and yarmulkas to remind ourselves that we are servants of Hashem. We have that glorious job of being כהני ה׳. That’s why the Jewish People started out with this principle of wearing yarmulkas. To remind ourselves that we are the servants of Hashem. You are wearing a hat, a covering, to show that you’re a ירא שמים. You fear Hashem and you’re His servant.

Now, about women. Women must know that they have a completely different role than men. No less of an important role than that of men, but different nonetheless. It’s a great lesson that has to be learned. Men are מצווה in מצוות עשה שהזמן גמרא. All the מצוות. And women are not. Women don’t have all the מצוות. Why is that?! And the answer is that women have important duties to fulfill. A woman must know that she is a בריה של חסד. She is made for the purpose of performing חסד. A wife and a mother have a tremendous function. The tremendous function of חסד – of giving, of kindliness. It takes up all of their efforts to be a successful mother and a successful wife. To bring up children is a tremendous עבודה. It’s a tremendous זכות. The גמרא says that the זכות of women is much greater than the זכות of men. Because many men often do things because of כבוד, to show off. But women don’t have the chance to show off. They’re in the home, doing tremendous things, behind closed doors. They’re doing tremendous things. So the זכות of women is greater than men. Men have to work much harder to be זוכה in the eyes of Hashem.

And therefore, Hashem said to women, “You have plenty to do – raising a family is a full-time job, all day and all night – and therefore you are relieved of some obligations. Although you are also a קדוש – no less than men – you are part of an עם קדוש. Every girl, every woman is קדוש. Every Jew is קדוש. Every single Jew is קדוש, is holy.

But you don’t have the same function as the man. You have to realize, don’t try to be an Orthodox feminist. Your job is to be a כשר Jewish woman and to serve Hashem in the way Hashem wants you to do it. To get married and to have children and raise them up successfully in the דרך of the תורה to be decent frum Jews. That’s her great accomplishment.

And therefore the women will sit in גן עדן on a golden thrones for all of the tremendous things they accomplished. No less than than any man. No less than any man. Only that she will accomplish that in her own way.

Therefore, men wear a yarmulke or a hat because they are the כהנים who go into the בית המקדש to serve Him, while the women don’t go serve Hashem in the בית המקדש. And that’s because they make their homes into a בית המקדש. And there, without anything except for covering up their hair, they accomplish tremendous things. Covering their hair is good enough. You wear a snood. That’s good enough. That’s the ממלכת כהנים for women.

And הקדוש ברוך הוא says to women, “You will have עולם הבא no less than men. As long as you do things to serve me in the way I want you to serve me, you will be perfect in My eyes.” And being perfect in the eyes of Hashem is the only true success in life.
TAPE # E-203