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    “Bring a Kittel tomorrow” – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do some worshippers wear a white kittel on the High Holydays?

    A. The kittel is a simple white robe reminiscent of tachrichim, shrouds.

    The white colour is a symbol of the purity which we hope to attain through our prayers. Isaiah says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18).

    At a certain university a non-Jewish lecturer in Semitics once asked the students to bring a Kittel to the next day’s lecture. She meant the Rudolph Kittel critical edition of the Hebrew Bible. Never having heard of that work, an orthodox Jewish student turned up with his yom-tov kittel.

    It took hard work for lecturer and student to clear up the misunderstanding!

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