He owns three kippot. A black one. Velvety, with thick gold edging. A kippah you could imagine grabbing you by the hands as you waltz the night away in a teak Blue Danube-filled ballroom. An old-fashioned gentleman of a kippah that’ll open doors for you and take you for a spin in his Roles Royce. This kippah is a keeper. One you’ll proudly take home to mom and court until happily after.
This was the kippah his grandfather gave him. A kippah he treats with a type of respect possible only after years waking up next to someone and the smell of their morning breath. But nonetheless, a kippah he does not wear. “It reminds me of my grandfather and I just didn’t feel like I was making a new life in Israel,” said Joshua Feldman who made Aliyah from South Africa six months ago. This was the kippah he wore to his uncle’s funeral. The kippah reserved for those Jewish holidays when Kippah wearing was less of a statement and more a part of the dress code. So when he went to shul or on Pessach, this Kippah would make an appearance.
But Feldman wanted more. He wanted the loyal companion who would walk hand-in-hand with him aimlessly, for hours. Making an appearance was no longer enough for him. And so Feldman went in search of Kippah number two.
Now he’s the kippah that keeps moms up at night. Tossing. Turning. Waiting for the turn of a key or footsteps down the passage. He’s the heartbreaker. An unassuming yet charming blue and white kippah with a Magen David in the centre. Crocheted. Like those worn by the army men. “I chose blue because it’s my favourite colour. White because it’s purity. And the star of David because I’m in Israel now,” said Feldman. This kippah he also no longer wears. It no longer fits him properly. It lost its shape and is now just a floppy ornament and reminder of his first soul-searching mission. His first kippah heartbreak.
Kippah number three was the one he didn’t buy. It came to him. One Friday he was walking to the Old City for a Shabbat dinner. Somewhere between leaving his Ulpan and the Old City the kippah he was wearing flew off his head. He’d almost lost hope. This was before he’d found a job or place to stay. And the Aliyah process was taking its toll on him. “Please God give me a kippah just so I know you are there,” he said as he entered Zion gate.
But then said another prayer: “At least put it in a strange place so that when I find it I know it couldn’t possibly be anything except a miracle”. Otherwise he knew he’d make excuses like oh that just fell off someone’s head. And if God was trying to send him a message he’d ignore it.
He then bumped into the Rabbi whose Shabbat dinner he’d been invited to. He explained that he’d lost his kippah and was planning on getting a paper one from the Kotel. As he turned to say goodbye to Rabbi he saw it. What he calls his miracle kippah. Completely white with a silver edging. It was just lying on the floor under a bench. And it was brand new. The tag hadn’t even been removed. And if he’d taken a few more steps or hadn’t stopped to talk to the Rabbi he would never have seen it.
“I wear it all the time. It reminds me of a small miracle in my mind. Of how God is watching over me and how everything turns out how it should,” said Feldman. Since then he has found a job and a place to stay. He said that everything that has happened since finding the miracle kippah seems so right.
For him this miracle kippah is a reminder that God is always there. “It’s always almost falling off so I always have to reposition it. At least once an hour. Just to make sure it hasn’t flown off” And this makes him stop and think and appreciate. This is his kippah with a silver lining. His miracle kippah.