Saying a Beracha without a Kippah

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Dear Rabbi Simon
If one doesn’t have a head covering, should he refrain from saying berakhot (blessings, eg on food or beverage) altogether?

Dear Baruch,
This is a vexing question for any rabbi (or lay person, for that matter). While wearing a kippah per se is a conventional Jewish form of attire, but not mandatory, reciting a berakhah with head uncovered is not allowed. Some men keep a kippah in their pocket for just this purpose. While perhaps impractical in public or the workplace, one can cover his head with a sleeve or anything else (other than one’s own hand) for the seconds it takes to recite the berakhah.
If this is impractical, one should simply avoid eating or drinking at that time. Other berakhot that come your way (such as asher yatzar, or upon hearing a thunderbolt), will have to be abandoned if there is no alternative.
(Yes, women have it easy.)
With Torah blessings
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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